Utah Supreme Court Upholds Polygamy Ban

Associated Press/May 16, 2006

Salt Lake City — The Utah Supreme Court upheld the 2003 bigamy conviction of a former police officer, ruling that the state law banning polygamy is not unconstitutional.

The court — with the chief justice dissenting — said Tuesday that religious protections of the U.S. and Utah constitutions "do not shield (Rodney) Holm's polygamous practices from state prosecution."

Holm was convicted of felony bigamy and two counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, and had argued that the state's bigamy statute violated his right to practice his religion.

County prosecutors began an investigation after one of Holm's "spiritual" wives left the faith and sued him over the custody of their two children. The woman said she married Holm in a 1988 religious ceremony when he was 32 and she was 16. At the time, Holm already was legally married to the woman's sister and claimed another "spiritual wife."

The former Hildale police officer was sentenced to a year in jail and is now on court-supervised probation.

Chief Justice Christine Durham issued a dissenting opinion saying Holm's bigamy conviction should not be upheld.

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