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‘Sister Wives’ Polygamy Ruling Struck Down on Appeal

Federal appeals court tosses judgment decriminalizing the lifestyle championed by Kodi Brown and family in Utah

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided on Monday to overturn a decision in favor of “Sister Wives” star Kodi Brown and his family, which decriminalized polygamy in Utah.

In 2013, U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups ruled that the Brown family’s rights to privacy and religious freedom were violated by the state when they came under investigation for violating Utah’s anti-polygamy statute. The state’s position was that no charges would be brought against the family unless the investigation turned up evidence of other crimes.

Monday’s appeal overturned the decision, dismissing the case because the family”[does] not face a credible threat of prosecution.”

The Brown family’s attorney, Jonathan Turley,  released a statement regarding the ruling on his website, stating that they may seek a rehearing or possibly pursue a filing with the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The Brown family is obviously disappointed in the ruling but remains committed to this fight for the protections of religion, speech, and privacy in Utah,” Turley wrote. “They respect the panel’s consideration of the appeal and the review process afforded their case.”

The statement continued: “While we respect the panel and its lengthy analysis, we believe that the opinion rests on a flawed understanding of both the facts and governing law in this case, including controlling Supreme Court cases.”

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.