‘Conviction’ aside, Utah Supreme Court says sex offender must register

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Supreme Court has ruled a man must register as a sex offender, despite his conviction ultimately being set aside in another state.

Matthew Jay Holste sued the state after he was ordered to register as a sex offender, even though an entry of judgment on a lewdness charge had been set aside by an Idaho court. Holste pleaded guilty to a sex offense in lieu of probation.

“Upon successful completion of his probation, the court set aside his plea. His rights were restored, but he is still required to register as a sex offender under Idaho law,” Utah Supreme Court Chief Justice Matthew Durrant wrote. “Sometime later, Mr. Holste moved to Utah and was informed by the Department of Corrections that he needed to register as a sex offender in Utah. He did so and has remained in compliance with the sex offender registry statute. He later filed a lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgment that he was not required to register in Utah. He argued that he was never actually convicted in Idaho, and therefore he did not fall into any of the registration categories…”

The Utah Department of Corrections opposed Holste’s lawsuit, arguing that he would be required to register here, if they were similarly required to register in another jurisdiction.

In its ruling, the Court rejected arguments advanced by Holste’s attorneys that because his original plea was set aside by an Idaho court, it wasn’t technically a “conviction.”

“Mr. Holste argues that he was not ‘convicted’ in another jurisdiction, because his conviction was set aside in Idaho after he completed probation. The sex offender registry statute does not explicitly define ‘convicted’ or ‘conviction.’ But based on Idaho law, we conclude that Mr. Holste was ‘convicted’ for purposes of the sex offender registry,” Chief Justice Durrant wrote.

Read the Utah Supreme Court ruling here:

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