Holm stay-of-sentence motion denied
Former Hildale police officer's conviction appealed
Rodney Holm


ST. GEORGE -- According to the Utah Attorney General's office, the Utah Supreme Court has ruled Rodney Holm will serve his sentence during the appeal of his conviction.

Holm's attorney, Rod Parker, appealed the 5th District Court's Nov. 15, 2003, denial of a motion to stay Holm's sentence, but was again denied Tuesday by the state's highest court.

Laura Dupaix, assistant attorney general in the appellate division, said denials of appeal on such motions are not unusual.

On Oct. 11, 2003, 5th District Court Judge G. Rand Beacham sentenced Holm to no more than five years in Utah State Prison on each of his three charges to be served concurrently. However, Beacham stayed the sentence, ordering Holm to instead serve 36 months probation and one year in the Washington County Jail on work release.

Holm, a former Hildale-area police officer and a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which teaches polygamy as a central tenet, was found guilty Aug. 14, 2003, of all three charges levied against him -- two counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a 16- or 17-year-old and one count of bigamy.

The case against Holm originated from a custody battle between Holm and Ruth Stubbs, Holm's third "wife" and the victim in the case.

Skipping a stop at the Court of Appeals, the appeal to stay Holm's sentence was decided by the Utah Supreme Court because the appeal of his conviction had already been sent to it.

This happened due to its similarity to the appeal of Tom Green's conviction, which has already been ruled on by the Court of Appeals and now stands before the Utah Supreme Court, Dupaix said. Green is a Utah polygamist serving time on similar charges.

For a motion to be granted on a release from serving time pending the appeal of a conviction, Dupaix said a defense attorney needs to show three things. The attorney general's office did not dispute the first two requirements, which are that the subject is not a flight risk and is not a danger to the community.

However, Dupaix did oppose the third requirement and countered the idea of Holm having substantial likelihood of succeeding upon appeal.

Part of Parker's argument during the appeal includes reference to the Lawrence v. Texas case, where the U.S. Supreme Court overturned sodomy laws in Texas, which Parker said impacted the meaning of the word "marriage."

Dupaix said she does not believe this argument is valid.

"No one has a constitutional right to have sex with a minor," she said. "(In Utah,) there is a statutory right, but (Holm) didn't legally marry (Stubbs.)"

Dupaix added that the denial to the appeal on the stay-of-sentence motion does not give any signal as to how the Utah Supreme Court will later rule on Holm's appeal of the conviction.

Parker could not be reached Saturday for comment.
Originally published Sunday, January 25, 2004