Source: CVDaily Feed
BRIGHAM CITY, Utah (AP) — A family in northern Utah is facing more than 200 counts of fence violations for escaped livestock, but their attorney says the charges stem from prejudice over the family’s well-publicized polygamous beliefs.
Box Elder County officials said they are frustrated with cattle and buffalo escaping from the Kingston family’s huge NWR Partnership Ranch in a remote area just south of the Idaho border, the Standard-Examiner newspaper in Ogden reports (http://bit.ly/1DQgICb ).
The county attorney’s office has filed fence violation charges against the Kingstons in nine separate incidents, including 76 from a single day in March at one count per escaped animal.
“We absolutely have concerns that someone is going to get injured,” said Deputy County Attorney Blair Wardle. “It’s one of my biggest worries.”
But the Kingstons’ attorney, Laura Fuller, said John Daniel Kingston has pleaded not guilty and “will be proven innocent.”
Fuller said livestock from the Kingstons’ neighbors has also gotten loose but only the Kingstons face fencing violation charges.
The Kingstons have been treated unfairly by their neighbors because of the notoriety of the family’s past court cases, she said.
“Absolutely it has to do with polygamy,” said Fuller.
The Kingstons’ polygamous lifestyle was publicized about 20 years ago, when cases involving runaway teens fleeing arranged marriages — sometimes to uncles or nephews — hit the news.
Fuller pointed to a December 2013 ruling by a Utah federal judge that called Utah’s bigamy statute unconstitutional and essentially decriminalized polygamy unless it involves multiple marriage licenses that are fraudulently obtained.