By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Daily Star
A federal appeals court has upheld the conclusion of a judge and jury that officials of Colorado City unconstitutionally used their power to discriminate against those who were not members of a certain religious sect.
In a unanimous ruling Monday, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said there was “overwhelming evidence” the community along the Arizona-Utah border deprived residents who were not members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints of their constitutional rights. This ranged from the passive, like refusing to grant them the same legal protections and even water services, to the overt like the use of the police department to harass non-church members.
Monday’s ruling, unless overturned, upholds the decision of a trial judge to require supervision of top police officials and new training for police officers.
There also was a separate $1.6 million settlement between Colorado City and neighboring Hildale, Utah. The Utah community chose not to appeal the trial court decision, leaving only Colorado City.
Calls to the attorney representing the town were not immediately returned.