Kody Brown's major family move to Flagstaff, Arizona may just backfire on the reality star. According to a report from RadarOnline, the Sister Wives star and his wives could allegedly face jail time for polygamy, with footage from the show acting as potential evidence.
The Brown clan initially moved from Utah to Nevada to avoid similar charges, but now the outlet is indicating that a pair of Arizona-based attorneys have revealed that the footage from the show could lead to a case in their new home in Arizona.
“If Arizona wanted to arrest and ultimately prosecute those on the show, the footage is strong evidence," Monica Lindstrom, a legal expert according to RadarOnline, noted to the outlet. "The prosecutor would likely want to use the raw footage in order to combat any defenses of editing by the producers.”
Dwane Cates, the managing partner at the Dwane Cates Law Group, also spoke to the outlet and noted how the reality series is actually priceless in terms of evidence for such a case.
"[It's] like someone having body cam footage," Cates said. "They are watching someone potentially commit a crime."
Lindstrom also added that "a picture is worth a thousand words and video is priceless," adding depth to the claims that the family could face legal issues.
RadarOnline also notes that Kody Brown and his family left Utah shortly after Sister Wives initially premiered on TLC. This was due to a potential investigation by the Lehi, Utah police which could have led to prosecution against Brown and his wives.
The legal experts go on to say that even though Brown is only legally married to his one wife, Robyn, the family could still face similar scrutiny in Arizona that they faced in Utah.
"Polygamy is unlawful in Arizona," Lindstrom revealed to the outlet. "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.
Lindstrom continued, adding that the state doesn't need for the marriage to have a license for it to be unlawful.
"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,'" the lawyer said. "These definitions arguably include 'spiritual' marriages which make what Kody Brown is doing unlawful under Arizona law."
According to Cates, Kody Brown could end up charged with class 5 Bigamy (one person married to two people at the same time) and end up behind bars.
"He could get half a year to two-and-a-half years," Cates tells the publication. "He could get probation up to three years and a $150,000 in fines."
Each wife could faces charges themselves if some sort of prosecution were to take place.
The outlet adds that it does indicate it is unlikely that Arizona will look to prosecute the Browns, noting that authorities will typically go after child bigamy and child marriages over the type allegedly practiced by Kody Brown and his wives.
“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," Lindstrom tells the outlet. "I believe it would depend on the extent of the polygamy and if there is any evidence of abuse.”0comments
Brown has heralded his arrival in Flagstaff, Arizona in recent weeks as a great new start, despite reports that the family was "living in hell" at the moment.