10-year chronology in the Holms case
  • In 1996, Holm legally marries Suzie Stubbs.

  • Later, Holm, a member of the Fundamentalist LDS Church, participates in a religious ceremony with Wendy Holm.

  • In 1998, Holm participates in a religious ceremony with 16-year-old Ruth Stubbs, the sister of Holm's first wife.

  • Holm, a police officer in Hildale, is arrested and charged with felony counts of unlawful sexual conduct and bigamy.

  • In 2002, Holm is convicted by a jury and sentenced to one year in jail, a $3,000 fine and 200 hours community service. Holms request to call fellow FLDS members as expert witnesses on their culture is rejected by the court.

  • Holm later appeals his conviction on all charges and the case is sent to the Utah Supreme Court.
The issues:
  • Did Holm "purport" to be married to Stubbs?

  • Is the definition of "marry" confined to legal marriage or other non-legal marriages under the bigamy statute?

  • Is it constitutional to prosecute polygamist relationships under the bigamy statute?

  • Were Holm's rights violated when the trial judge did not allow fellow FLDS Church members to testify about the role polygamy plays in FLDS culture?
The ruling:
    The Utah Supreme Court upheld Holm's conviction, finding that Holm did "purport" to be married in a ceremony where vows were traded. The high court in a four-to-one opinion found that the definition of marriage under bigamy recognizes marriages that are not state-sanctioned.
Originally published Wednesday, May 17, 2006