Judge Hears Case of Eviction by Polygamist Church

Judge Hears Case of Eviction by Polygamist Church

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KINGMAN, Ariz. (AP) -- An Arizona judge has taken under advisement arguments in the case of a Colorado City family ordered evicted from their 5,000-square-foot home by the polygamist Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Mohave County Superior Court Judge James E. Chavez heard arguments Thursday in the case of Milton and Lenore Holm, who said they were told to vacate their home and not return to church after they refused to allow Lenore's 16-year-old daughter to become the plural wife of a 39-year-old man.

Through its financial arm, the United Effort Plan, the FLDS church holds most of the land in the twin communities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City.

Milton Holm said he was told in 1976 that he could build a home on the land and stay there forever.

Church attorney Rodney R. Parker argued that Milton Holm understood from the beginning that he had to obey the rules of the church to live on the land.

Parker said the story about the 16-year-old was irrelevant, and, "They can be evicted for any reason."

George McKay, a Community Legal Services attorney representing the Holms, said the court should follow the ruling of the Utah Supreme Court in Jeffs v. Stubbs, which allowed tenants to remain on the land or be compensated for their home improvements.

"The legal issue of the case has already being solved," McKay said. "It's the same people, the same church, the same land, the same area."

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

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