Friday, April 18, 2008

Mormon polygamy

I haven’t been making any effort to follow the case involving the polygamous Mormon compound that was recently raided by the authorities. But from what I’ve overheard, I’m puzzled or bothered by one aspect of the coverage.

The local authorities have been criticized for jumping the gun. Did they have probable cause? Was their informant legit? Were the kids sexually abused?

What this overlooks is that polygamy is, itself, a crime in this country. It seems to me that that alone would be sufficient reason for the local authorities to intervene. You shouldn’t need anything over and above that foundational fact to justify the intervention.


  1. I haven't been following it that closely either, but I think what might have happened is that they claim marriage within the FLDS but not in a civil court. Therefore, they're polygymists in the FLDS "church" but not legally so, and therefore violated no law on that point.

  2. 1. It seems a woman in Colorado has been arrested now in connection with this. I gather they think she may be the mysterious caller that they have not yet found. She was charged with posing as a 13 year old locked in a closet awhile back.

    So, if that's the case, the attorneys will likely argue that the raid was "fruit of the poison tree."

    2. And the problem here seems to be that the FLDS defines these marriages in "spiritual" and not "civil" terms. It's civil polygamy that's illegal.

    Granted,I think that's just an excuse, but that's the way they see it.

    3. So this attaches the question of religion to the whole issue.

    4. And as I pointed out before, in the state of TX, the courts are, at present, allowing laws restraining non-Christian religious practices within Dallas-Tarrant County, but the same judge is allowing Paige Patterson to fire Sherri Klouda on ecclesiastical grounds even though the civil law prohibits gender discrimination. This makes it look, to me at least, like some religious pratices are okay within TX and some are not - which is blatant transgression of the First Amendment.

    5. And the authorities are trying, as I understand it, to argue that the beliefs of the FLDS people are the issue - that they create men who act this way and women who give in on pain of eternal damnation if they don't. So, they are defining the issues in terms of religion, not civil marriage.

    6. And it's not enough to arrest them for suspicion. They have to have specific articulable facts, and they have, thus far, only five such cases, all of which they found as a result of Number 1, so, if the report is false,the attorneys will likely argue something like this:

    a. The cases should be thrown out as "fruit of the poison tree."

    b. And the authorities have admitted that they had an "inside man" there for a very long time - yet they made no move on the place. Why? Is it because they had no specific evidence, and if that's the case, did they only obtain these five cases by means of a false report?

  3. They had an "inside man"? Uhhh... How was he not involved if he was on the inside? If they require women to marry, how about men?

    And as for the law, adultery used to be illegal in some places, no? If it still is, they certainly don't enforce it. If you can't enforce a ban on adultery, how can you enforce a ban on polygamy? And which one is worse?