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Reynolds was sentenced to two years hard labor and fined $500. He entered jail in 1856, while the case was on appeal before the US Supreme Court.

The Court affirmed Reynolds' conviction, but belatedly realized the sentence included harsher penalties than allowed under the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act of 1862. Reynolds' sentence was subsequently extended to five years in prison, but the part requiring hard labor was revoked.

Reynolds was released from a Utah Prison on January 20, 1881, five months early due to good behavior. He married his third wife, Mary Goold, on April 25, 1885, but was not charged with further violations of the law.

For a time, the LDS Church continued defying the anti-bigamy law, leading to several Church Elders' conviction under the Morrill Act.

The federal government increased pressure on the LDS Church, eventually passing the Edmunds-Tucker Act of 1887 that:

  • increased the fine for polygamy from $500 to $800, but retained the five-year prison sentence;
  • dissolved the LDS Church and their Perpetual Emigrating Fund, seized the assets, and used them to support public schools in Utah Territory;
  • prohibited Mormons from voting, holding public office, and serving on juries;
  • required potential voters and jurors to take an anti-bigamy oath;
  • prohibited children born outside legally sanctioned marriages from inheriting;
  • required civil marriage licenses and disallowed spousal privilege for common law wives (forcing them to testify against their husbands);
  • revoked women's suffrage for all women (granted in 1870);
  • replaced local judges with federal judges;
  • removed curriculum and textbook selection rights from local schools.

Mormons challenged the Edmund-Tucker Act in the Supreme Court case The Late Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints v. United States, 136 US 1 (1890), where the US Supreme Court upheld the Edmund-Tucker Act as constitutional.

Later in 1890, Church President Wilford Woodruff officially announced an end to church-sanctioned polygamy in the Manifesto of 1890, and urged LDS members to obey Federal Laws.

The Edmund-Tucker Act wasn't repealed until 1978; however, the federal government quickly ceased action against the Church and returned confiscated property.

Case Citation:

Reynolds v. United States, 98 US 145 (1878)

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Q: In the US Supreme Court case Reynolds v. US what happened after Reynolds was found guilty?
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