Kody Brown and his family have been sharing their unconventional story on reality TV for 13 seasons – but could the hit series land them behind bars?
Two Arizona-based attorneys reveal exclusively to RadarOnline.com that the show could be “evidence” for potential prosecutors.
The criminal attorney added, “A picture is worth a thousand words and video is priceless!”
Managing Partner of Dwane Cates Law Group, Dwane Cates, added the show is “like someone having body cam footage.” “They are watching someone potentially commit the crime,” he said.
Shortly after Sister Wives premiered on TLC, the family was under investigation by Lehi police in Utah. That’s when they fled to Nevada to avoid prosecution.
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Although Kody is only legally married to fourth wife Robyn, the Arizona-based experts previously told RadarOnline.com the family could have the similar fate in their new home state of Arizona.
“Polygamy is unlawful in Arizona," Lindstrom told RadarOnline.com. “Arizona’s Constitution specifically addresses polygamy and states in Article 20, section 2, ‘Polygamous or plural marriages, or polygamous co-habitation, are forever prohibited within this state.’ Under Arizona’s Constitution, living with one wife and a spiritual wife, or two or three etc., could meet the definition of ‘polygamous co-habitation,’ which is prohibited.”
She added, “Arizona defines marriage as ‘the state of joining together as husband and wife through an agreement, promise or ceremony regardless of whether a marriage license has been issued by the appropriate authority.’ Spouses’ is defined as two persons living together as husband and wife, including the assumption of those marital rights, duties and obligations that are usually manifested by married people, including but not necessarily dependent on sexual relations. These definitions arguably include 'spiritual' marriages which make what Kody Brown doing unlawful under Arizona law.”
Cates explained how Kody could be charged with class 5 felony Bigamy, which is one person married to two people at the same time. “He could get half a year to two-and-a-half years,” Cates said. “He could get probation up to three years and $150,000 in fines.” Meri, Janelle, Christine and Robyn could be charged as well.
Fortunately for the family, it is unlikely the state will choose to prosecute them. "They typically go after if it’s child bigamy the most,” Cates said. “Prosecutors can decide to charge them or to not.”
Lindstrom added, “There is the question of whether Arizona would want to spend its precious resources prosecuting this crime in light of the demands on law enforcement and the court system. I believe it would depend on the extent of the polygamy and if there is any evidence of abuse.”