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HANNA MAN HAS ARRAIGNMENT ON BUILDING CHARGE POSTPONED

SHARE HANNA MAN HAS ARRAIGNMENT ON BUILDING CHARGE POSTPONED

The arraignment for a Duchesne County polygamist charged with a class B misdemeanor of building without a permit has been continued to Thursday, Dec. 17, at his request.

According to 8th District Court records, Fred Collier, 43, of Hanna, wanted more time to research the charge before entering his plea."I requested time to obtain an information and discovery," he said. "The judge didn't think I had right to discovery until after entering my plea, but after reading the Utah Criminal Code he granted my request."

Collier said the judge was "extremely kind" and patient with him.

The right to discovery will give Collier time to call in county officials who filed the charges against him and gather the information he believes he'll need to prove his case.

Duchesne County filed the charge against Collier earlier this month after he allegedly failed to heed an order to obtain a building permit before continuing to remodel his house.

The conflict over the building permit arose when Collier began adding an upper level to a former LDS Church meetinghouse that now serves as his home.

County Commission Chairman Rick Reynolds and former county building inspector Jim Lisonbee went to inform Collier of the county's building requirements.

Reynolds said although Collier wasn't home at the time, women he presumed to be Collier's wives were contacted.

"I explained our building codes and that they are in place for safety and health reasons," Reynolds said. "One of the women told me, `You're not worried about my family. I'll worry about my own children's safety. You're just concerned about your revenue.' "

Reynolds said Collier violated a stop-work order and never got in contact with the building inspector or asked about a building permit.

Some Hanna residents are concerned about Collier, a personal friend of the late John Singer who was killed Jan. 8, 1979, after a standoff with law enforcers.

"Some of them are worried," Reynolds said. "They don't want it to turn into something like that. When I went up there, it was a real tense situation."

Collier, who earns his living as an author, said he wants to see the situation resolved in a peaceful manner and feels confident the law is on his side.

"There's no doubt that others have fought this and won," he said. "We believe in the Utah Constitution and the United States Constitution. We are free and we won't ask anyone for our freedom."

Collier said building codes are for public buildings.

"I can see a store or hospital or building contractors having to get a permit, but the public has no interest in this. It's none of their business," he said.

Collier did, however, hire a licensed contractor to put the roof up and said the building is safe.

"I have no ax to grind with the building inspector, but they have no jurisdiction here," he said. "The county cannot raise itself above the state."

Duchesne County Attorney Herb Gillespie said it is uncommon for someone to hold the position taken by Collier.

Usually the parties involved are able to work out details with the building inspector, Gillespie said. "The matter will be handled through court procedures and the proper remedy will be applied."

Collier, who represented himself in court, describes himself as a preacher, theologian, minister of the gospel and a historian of Mormon history.

He and his family have lived in Hanna for four years.