The list of players is shaping up. As reported in many places in the media, Chief Justice Bauman has denied Winston Blackmore full party status in the Section 293 reference case, and has also declined to order the government to pay Mr. Blackmore’s legal expenses. Mr. Blackmore has been offered the same “interested person” status as the CPAA and other people and organizations involved in the case.
Mr. Blackmore’s participation was the last “question mark” about who would be arguing and presenting evidence in court.
The court has posted the judge’s reasons for this ruling on its Web site.
This ruling may mean that Mr. Blackmore will choose not to participate in the proceeding at all. The court quotes an affidavit by Mr. Blackmore’s (which we do not have on the Web at the moment), as saying:
“While I understand that the Court has appointed a lawyer, an Amicus, to argue that the polygamy law is unconstitutional, I am not willing to allow the Amicus to access myself or my Congregation for the purpose of obtaining the evidence he might need to challenge the law. I have spoken with most of the people in my Congregation and they are of the same view. Given my past experience with the government and the police, which I consider to involve religious persecution and the continued prospect of future criminal proceedings, neither I nor my Congregation are willing to be represented in the proceedings except by a lawyer of our choice. I have an established relationship with Mr. Arvay and trust him to represent my and my Congregation’s best interests in this matter. I will not participate in these proceedings, nor will my Congregation, without an order for funding.”
It’s probably worth mentioning that Mr. Blackmore is not the only person from Bountiful involved in the litigation. James Oler, FLDS Bishop of Bountiful, and the FLDS itself, are participating separately as interested parties. The full list of interested persons, with their position statements, is in our last update.