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Holste v. State

Supreme Court of Utah

August 23, 2019

Matthew Jay Holste, Petitioner,
v.
State of Utah, Gary R. Herbert, Sean D. Reyes, Department of Corrections, and Rollin Cook, Respondents.

         On Certiorari to the Utah Court of Appeals

          Third District, Salt Lake The Honorable Paul G. Maughan No. 160904796

          Emily Adams, Bountiful, Cherise M. Bacalski, Orem, Sara Pfrommer, North Salt Lake, for petitioner

          Sean D. Reyes, Att'y Gen., Erin T. Middleton, Asst. Solic. Gen., Amanda N. Montague, Justin Anderson, Asst. Att'ys Gen., Salt Lake City, for respondents

          Chief Justice Durrant authored the opinion of the Court, in which Associate Chief Justice Lee, Justice Himonas, Justice Pearce, and Justice Petersen joined.

          OPINION

          CHIEF JUSTICE DURRANT, JUDGE.

         Introduction

         ¶1 Matthew Jay Holste pled guilty in Idaho to a sex offense that required him to register as a sex offender. The entry of judgment was withheld, and Mr. Holste was placed on probation for eight years, after which the court set aside his plea. He moved to Utah and now argues that he should not be required to register as a sex offender here. The district court dismissed his motion for declaratory judgment, and the court of appeals affirmed. Mr. Holste petitioned this court for a writ of certiorari, which we granted.

         Background

         ¶2 While living in Idaho, Matthew Holste pled guilty to one count of lewd conduct with a minor child under sixteen. The Idaho court withheld entry of judgment and placed Mr. Holste on probation for eight years. During this time, he was required to register as a sex offender in Idaho. 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.

         ¶3 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 under Utah Code section 77-41-105.

         ¶4 The Department of Corrections moved to dismiss, and the district court granted its motion. It held that Utah law requires all individuals to register in Utah if they must register in another jurisdiction. Mr. Holste appealed to the court of appeals, which affirmed the district court, holding that Utah Code section 77-41-105(3)(a) required Mr. Holste to register, regardless of whether he was convicted because he met the definition of an "offender." He then petitioned this court for certiorari, which we granted. We have jurisdiction pursuant to Utah Code section 78A-3-102(3)(a).

         Standard of Review

         ¶5 The central issue in this appeal is whether Utah Code section 77-41-105 requires individuals to register in Utah even though their conviction in another jurisdiction has been set aside. On certiorari, we review "the court of appeals' decision for correctness, without according any deference to its analysis."[1]

         Analysis

         ¶6 The court of appeals concluded that Mr. Holste is required to register as a sex offender in Utah because he meets the definition of an "offender" under the Utah sex offender registry statute. Mr. Holste concedes that he qualifies as an offender under the statute, because he is required to register in another state, but he argues that being an "offender" is not enough. He asserts that unless he is an offender who has been "convicted" in another jurisdiction, he is not required to register. After analyzing the language of Utah's sex offender registry statute, [2] we affirm the decision of the court of appeals on the ground that anyone who meets the statutory definition of the term "offender" is required to register. Additionally, we hold that even were we to assume that a "conviction" in another ...


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