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Sister Wives’ Brown family fears returning to Utah because of state laws prohibiting polygamy

They lead an unconventional life as a hugely polygamistic family.

And Kody Brown recently returned to his home state of Utah with his four wives, years after the group fled the state over strict laws that made the practice of polygamy a crime.

On a recent episode of Sister Wives, Kody, Christine, Janelle, Meri and Robyn were back in town for the first time, contemplating the scary situation of having to flee into the night after police began investigating the family.

One Big Family: Kody Brown recently returned to his home state of Utah with his four wives, years after the group fled the state over strict laws that made the practice of polygamy a crime

One Big Family: Kody Brown recently returned to his home state of Utah with his four wives, years after the group fled the state over strict laws that made the practice of polygamy a crime

Janelle, his second wife, recalled how the family had to practically resume and leave their life in Lehi, Utah, USA, after first revealing their unique family life.

“Within days of it actually being announced, Utah police began investigating us because plural marriage is a crime in Utah,” Janelle said. “It was punishable with a maximum of five years per count.”

Kody first married Meri nearly 30 years ago and added a spiritual bond with Janelle soon after their marriage, followed by Christine. Robyn was the fourth woman to join the family in 2010 and the first woman in nearly 16 years.

She admitted that everyone was “very afraid that they would come and arrest us,” so they left the state “in the dark of the night. We felt like we had been banned. ‘

Lucky in love: Kody first married Meri almost 30 years ago, and shortly after their marriage, she added a spiritual union with Janelle, followed by Christine. Robyn was the fourth woman to join the family in 2010 and the first woman in nearly 16 years; seen in 2010

Lucky in love: Kody first married Meri almost 30 years ago, and shortly after their marriage, she added a spiritual union with Janelle, followed by Christine. Robyn was the fourth woman to join the family in 2010 and the first woman in nearly 16 years; seen in 2010

Lucky in love: Kody first married Meri almost 30 years ago, and shortly after their marriage, she added a spiritual union with Janelle, followed by Christine. Robyn was the fourth woman to join the family in 2010 and the first woman in nearly 16 years; seen in 2010

Wow! Over the years (and 14 seasons of the show) the family has grown with 18 children and two grandchildren with another on the way; seen in 2018

Wow! Over the years (and 14 seasons of the show) the family has grown with 18 children and two grandchildren with another on the way; seen in 2018

Wow! Over the years (and 14 seasons of the show) the family has grown with 18 children and two grandchildren with another on the way; seen in 2018

After moving their family to Las Vegas, “they sued the state of Utah, basically saying,” Look, this law is unfair, “Janelle recalls. “We won, so for a year … we were decriminalized. We are no longer criminals. ‘

Over the years (and 14 seasons of the show) the family has grown with 18 children and two grandchildren with another on the way.

“The state of Utah appealed our lawsuit we won. They destroyed it, then doubled down with a new law, HB 99, “making it a worse offense for polygamists in Utah,” Kody said.

“A bill had been submitted to the Utah Senate, SB 102. What it was going to do was sort of revise that bill passed a few years ago,” Janelle said in a confessional. “It basically means that people like our family, who lead law-abiding lives but choose to live together for religious purposes, are no longer criminals.”

Kody added, “What I do in my bedroom with another consenting adult is no one else’s business. And then why do they think they can make it legislative? It’s naive. ‘

“The state of Utah appealed our lawsuit we won. They destroyed it and then doubled down with a new law, HB 99, “making it a worse offense for polygamists in Utah,” said Kody; seen in 2017

After moving their family to Las Vegas, “they sued the state of Utah, basically saying,” Look, this law is unfair, “Janelle recalls. ‘We won, so for a year … we were decriminalized. We are no longer criminals. ‘

Robyn noted, ‘I think lawmakers think that by decriminalizing this law they will ensure that it is free for everyone and that more abuse will occur. And what they don’t realize is that the current law is so strict they are so scared to come out – and like, a mother, she has a daughter who is being abused and she is so scared to go to the police because she is afraid they are going to tear up her family and take her child. So her daughter continues to be abused all her life, which is insane and horrifying. ‘

Before leaving for their trip back to Utah, the group discussed whether they should all ride together because they are rarely in the same place, but they ultimately decided to use one vehicle.

“I think the biggest fear for me is going back to Utah, if we get stopped for a traffic violation, will they use it as an opportunity to tackle the polygamy charge?” Janelle said. ‘Because that’s usually how it works – they get you for something else and then they add it. I’m always like, “Don’t speak, Kody, don’t speak.” It’s stupid, but it’s a real fear. ‘

‘If you can imagine it, it’s like going to a place where your family is illegal. It just feels oppressive. I’m always worried, ”said Robyn.

“Polygamy right now in Utah is a felony,” Christine said after reaching Utah and catching up with the Dargers family. ‘We have fellow criminals. We are criminals, just like them. They could come in and arrest us all. ‘

“Kody, because he has one lawful wife and three multiple wives, can go to prison from nine to fifteen years,” Janelle said. “ Then your probation means not seeing your children, not committing the crime again, so if you saw your children again, you would violate the probation period. That took you to the federal system. It’s just a big mess. ‘

“Kody, because he has one lawful wife and three multiple wives, can go to prison from nine to fifteen years,” Janelle said. “ Then your probation means not seeing your children, not committing the crime again, so if you saw your children again, you would violate the probation period. That took you to the federal system. It’s just a big mess’ (seen in 2010)