Judge Considers Stay for Polygamist Former Policeman

Judge Considers Stay for Polygamist Former Policeman

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ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) -- A judge has taken under advisement arguments over whether polygamist ex-policeman Rodney Holm's sentence for bigamy and illegal sex should be stayed pending an appeal to a higher court.

Judge G. Rand Beacham indicated he will issue a written decision sometime next week.

Holm began serving a one-year sentence in the Washington County jail with work release privileges three days after his Oct. 10 sentencing. A jury convicted him of bigamy and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor 16 or 17 years old due to his union with his third wife, Ruth Stubbs, who was 16 when they married.

"In this country, people are entitled to liberty until the court can hear their case," defense attorney Rodney Parker argued Thursday, contending that the constitutional issues have not yet been considered.

Utah law bans sexual relations involving 16- and 17-year-olds when their partner is 10 or more years older, unless the couple is legally married. Parker's appeal cites the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Texas' sodomy law. He contends that throws the constitutionality of Utah's bigamy law into question.

Kristine Knowlton, assistant attorney general, contends that ruling does not apply to this case as it dealt with consenting adults, not with sex with a minor.

Beacham said he would issue a written statement for several reasons, including what he said were incomplete and misunderstood media accounts.

'This case has to do with the alleged conduct of Rodney Holm. Those who want it to be about religion or Holm's neighbors or (other people), not only are in the wrong courtroom, but in the wrong country," Beacham said. "All we conclude (on) is Holm's conduct."

Holm was a police officer in the polygamous border towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz. Following his conviction Utah authorities revoked his certification as a peace officer.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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