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Reynolds v. United States

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Suzana Vartanyan

on 19 September 2013

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Transcript of Reynolds v. United States

Reynolds v. United States
Reynolds v. United States
Facts of the Case
Reynold v. United States was a supreme court of the U.S case that held that religious duty was not a defence to a criminal inditement
Facts of the Case
Reynold was a english immigrant who was invited by elders in his church to live in Utah in May, 1865. He was sent there to spread his beliefs.
On July 22, 1865 he got married to a women named Mary Ann Tuddenham. Then on August 3, 1874 he married another woman named Amelia Jane Schofield while still being married to Tuddenham.
By: Suzana Vartanyan
Christine Mkrtchyan
George Reynolds was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints which in that religion, required him to marry multiple women.
In October 1874, George Reynolds was arrested for polygamy(marriage with two or more spouses) in the federal districts courts of the territory of Utah.
Reynolds case was reevaluated because of the improperly selected jury in October 1875. Then in December 10, 1875 he was found guilty.
Reynolds was sentenced to jail for 2 years.
On June 13, 1876, the Utah Supreme Court backed the conviction and was set for the case to be claimed to the Supreme Court of the United States.
Facts of the Case
Rule and Law
The court ruled that a law banning polygamy was constitutional.
Claimed that the first amendment could not be used to cover criminal behavior.
His religious duty to marry multiple times and the First Amendment protected his practice of his religion.
That his grand jury was unconstitutional.
The federal law stated that " Every person having a husband or wife living, who marries another, whether married or single, in a territory, or other place over which the U.S have exclusive jurisdiction, is guilty of bigamy, and shall be punished by fine of not more than $500, and by imprisonment for a term of not more than 5 years.
Courts Analysis
According to the ruling of the court there can be no legal restrictions on what a person believes. But society has the right to regulate religious practices when they violate the law of the land.
In 1877 Reynold was prosecuted for bigamy in the Utah territory.
Reynolds was the first Supreme court case opinion to address the Impartial Jury and the Confrontation Clauses of the Sixth Amendment.
Arguments were heard in Reynolds case before the Supreme court on November 1878.
On January 6, 1879 the court issued its decision for Reynolds v. United States.
Courts Conclusion
the court conducted that people cannnot excuse themselves from their religion.
6-3 in favor of upholding Reynolds conviction .
Chief Justice Waite said " free exercise of religion means freedom to hold an opinion or belief, but not to take action in violation of social duties or subversive to good order.
There is a difference between "freedom of conscience" and "freedom of religious action". Polygamy was considered to be utterly unacceptable for a civilized society.
Reynolds was the first test of the first amendment free exercise clauses that guaranties of religion.
i agree with the supreme court decision to ban polygamy. A marriage is suppose to be committed and faithful to one person, not multiple people.
The court decided anonymously that polygamy was against the law so there was no arguing the opinion.
Opposite ruling would cause every other religious related case to be circumstantial.
If you could use your religion to get out of a crime, the world wouldn't be how it is today.
Case #
98 U.S. 145 (1878-1879)
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