FLDS towns ask 9th Circuit Court to intervene in testimony dispute
SALT LAKE CITY — Lawyers for the polygamous border town of Hildale, Utah, have filed notice they wants San Francisco’s 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to jump into a dispute over compelling depositions from FLDS members about the inner workings of the polygamous church.
The notice, filed last week in a federal courthouse in Phoenix, said Hildale and Twin City Water Authority sought to quash a motion from the U.S. Justice Department to compel testimony.
Read the notice of appeal here:
That deposition testimony deals with knowledge about the Fundamentalist LDS Church, how it is structured and who leads it, according to court motions filed in the case. A federal judge in Arizona granted the Justice Department’s request to compel answers.
The U.S. Justice Department is suing Hildale and Colorado City, accusing it of violating civil rights by discriminating against those who are not members of Warren Jeffs’ polygamous church.
The decision by that judge appears to conflict with a recent ruling by a federal judge here in Utah, who ruled that an FLDS member did not have to offer testimony about the church in a case involving child labor. In that case, the judge cited the U.S. Supreme Court’s “Hobby Lobby” decision and religious protections.
In that case, the U.S. Labor Department is taking company tied to the FLDS Church to court after an incident where hundreds of children were seen at a Hurricane farm picking pecans. In court filings, the Labor Department has suggested the children were removed from school to work in the fields under orders from FLDS leaders.
Jeffs, the leader of the FLDS Church, is serving a life-plus 20 year sentence in Texas for child sex assault related to underage “marriages.”