Sister Wives Recap: The Browns Return to Utah… and Risk Arrest!

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The Sister Wives returned to the scene of their former crimes on Sunday night’s new episode of this TLC reality show.


We’re not being dramatic, either.


Kody Brown and his quartet of spouses feared for their legal lives this week.


Allow us to explain, okay?


Christine, Janelle, Meri and Robyn and their awful husband took a trip to Utah on the installment to visit another plural family, the Dargers.


Back in 2011, the Browns went public with their plural marriage while residing in Utah.


From there?


“Within just days of it really being announced, the police in Utah started to investigate us because plural marriage is a felony in Utah,” Janelle said on air.


“It was punishable by up to five years per count.”


At the time, the family was “very afraid that they were going to come and arrest us,” so they left the state “in the dark of night,” Janelle added.


“We felt like we’d been exiled.”


Eventually, the group settled in Las Vegas.


They actually “sued the state of Utah, basically saying, ‘Look, this law is unfair,'” Janelle recounted.


“We won, so for a year … we were decriminalized. We’re no longer felons.”


This sense of security didn’t last long, though.


Said Kody on the episode:


“The state of Utah appealed our lawsuit that we had won. They overturned it and then they doubled-down with a new law, HB 99,” which “made it a worse felony for polygamists in Utah.”


Fast forward to last year and :


“There was a bill introduced into the Utah senate, S.B. 102. What it was going to do was kind of revise that law that was passed a few years ago,” Janelle said in a confessional.


“It basically makes it so that people like our family, who live a law-abiding life but just choose for religious purposes to cohabitate, we’re no longer felons.”


We covered this law about a year ago, asking whether the Browns would return to Utah in response to the development.


For Kody, “What I do in my bedroom with another consenting adult is nobody’s else’s business,” he said to cameras.


“And so why do they think that they can legislate it? It’s naive.”


Robyn the delved into how women in an unhappy plural marriage have been afraid to come forward due to the law that had been in place.


“I think the lawmakers think that by decriminalizing this law it will make it so that it’s a free for all and there will be more abuse that will happen,” she said.


“And what they’re not realizing is that current law is so strict that it’s making them so afraid to come out — and like, a mom, she’s got a daughter that’s getting abused and she is so afraid of going to the police because she’s afraid they’re going to tear apart her family and take her child away.


“So her daughter continues to be abused her whole life, which is like, insane and horrific.”


The women, as you can understand, were afraid of this return to Utah.


No one more so than Janelle.


“I think for me, the biggest fear about going back into Utah, if we’re pulled over for a traffic violation, are they going to use it as an opportunity to tack on the felony polygamy charge?” she wondered.


“Because that’s usually how it works — they get you for something else and then they add it on.


“I’m always like, ‘Don’t speak, Kody, don’t speak.’ It’s dumb, but it is a real fear.”


Robyn was also scared of the possible ramifications:


“If you can imagine, it’s like you’re going to a place where your family is illegal. It just feels oppressive. It always makes me worry.”


After catching up over a meal with the Dargers, however, the Browns felt a little bit better.


They learned how S.B. 102 would bigamy laws to turn a felony into a mere infraction.


That’s quite the change from where thing stood at the time of their dinner with these friends.


“Polygamy right now in Utah is a felony,” Christine said. “We’re sitting with fellow felons. We’re felons just like them. They could come in and arrest us all.”


Theoretically, “Kody, because he has one legal wife and three plural wives, could go to jail from anywhere from nine to 15 years,” Janelle added.


“Then your probation involves not seeing your children, not recommitting the felony, so basically if you saw your children again, then you were violating probation.


“That took you into the federal system. It’s just a big mess.”


In May 2020, months after this episode was filmed, the Browns and Dargers celebrated jointly when a law decriminalizing bigamy in Utah finally took effect.


“The Dargers were successful in decriminalizing polygamy in Utah, which was huge,” Janelle previously told People Magazine, concluding in an earlier interview:


“That was one of the biggest reasons that we went public in the first place, was to try to make it not so scary to be open about your family.


“That’s the whole point of why we went public, so this is wonderful to have had this happen. It’s a big deal to us.



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