Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Federal Jury Says FLDS Twin Towns Discriminated

Yesterday an Arizona federal district court jury agreed that the towns of Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale, Utah, and their joint water company systematically discriminated, in violation of the Fair Housing Act, against individuals who are not members of the FLDS Church in providing housing, utilities and police services. As reported by Deseret News, even though the jury awarded damages of $2.2 million to six residents, prior to the jury verdict the parties had negotiated a $1.6 million settlement under the Fair Housing Act.  According to a Justice Department press release, the suit was also filed by the government under 42 USC 14141.  The Sec. 14141 civil action does not include the right to a jury trial, so the jury's findings on that portion of the government's suit are advisory:
In its advisory verdict, the jury found that the Colorado City Marshal’s Office, the cities’ joint police department, operated as an arm of the FLDS church in violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment; engaged in discriminatory policing in violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment and the establishment clause; and subjected individuals to unlawful stops, seizures and arrests in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
(See prior related posting.)