Polygamist Out of Jail Before Appeal Heard

Polygamist Out of Jail Before Appeal Heard

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ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) -- Polygamist and former police officer Rodney Holm has completed his jail sentence for bigamy and sex with a minor.

Soon now, the Utah Supreme Court will begin considering whether his conviction was just.

Holm was convicted last August and was sentenced to a year in the Purgatory Correctional Facility.

He had been a policeman in the polygamist communities of Colorado City, Ariz., and Hildale, Utah, but was decertified following his conviction. He is a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which preaches polygamy as a central tenet.

Holm, 37, has two wives and 22 children. His conviction stems from his union with a third wife, Ruth Stubbs, who was 16 when they were married in a church ceremony.

Holm was released from jail Wednesday, receiving credit for good time.

His attorney, Rod Parker, asked the Utah Supreme Court last year to stay the jail sentence pending appeal, but his motion was turned down.

"It's a little frustrating. This is why (we) filed a motion for a stay -- there was no way the appeal would be decided before (Holm) served his time," Parker said.

Holm and Parker still hope to get the conviction reversed.

It is not unusual for a defendant to complete or be well into a jail sentence before an appeal is complete, said Assistant Attorney General Laura Dupaix. The system provides for stays of sentences where there is a substantial likelihood of a conviction reversal, but such stays are rare, Dupaix said.

Parker is to file a brief this month, after which Dupaix will file an opposing brief and then Parker will file a reply. Oral arguments are then scheduled, and Parker and Dupaix expect that will not be until fall or winter.

Holm's appeal argues that Utah's bigamy law used against Holm is unconstitutional under reasoning by the U.S. Supreme Court in its decision a year striking down a Texas sodomy law.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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