Court rejects challenge to sodomy law: The state Court of Appeals has rejected a challenge to a Kansas law punishing young adults who have sex with underage partners more harshly if those partners are of the same gender. A three-judge panel ruled against Matthew R. Limon, who was seeking to overturn his sentence of 17 years and two months in prison for having sex with an underage boy in February 2000, when Limon was 18. Had either Limon or the other boy been a girl, the maximum sentence would have been one year and three months in prison. [...] In an unsigned opinion issued Friday, Appeals Judges Henry W. Green Jr., David S. Knudson and G. Joseph Pierron Jr. said the U.S. Supreme Court has held that states may treat homosexual acts differently from heterosexual ones. "Neither does this decision deal with the wisdom of the statute involved, as that is left to the Legislature in our governmental system, with its separation of powers," the appeals panel wrote. [...] "The argument that [the statute] is not made at homosexuals cannot be made with a straight face," the appeals panel said in its decision.
In other words, the Kansas Court of Appeals, which certainly has the authority to declare a state statute unconstitutional or a sentence inappropriate, instead declared its cowardice and declined do to what they certainly knew to be fair and reasonable. After all, had they not felt that the result in this case was unreasonable, they would have made no comment whatsoever about the wisdom of the law or the state's argument about the statute. (I'm guessing, given that interesting aside at the end, that the State of Kansas did, in fact, try to say that a massively differential result was not aimed at homosexuals. Why they would say any such thing in a state which criminalizes only homosexual sodomy, I have no idea.)
I do love that the Kansas Court of Appeals cited a US Supreme Court case (the infamous Bowers v Hardwick) upholding a law that Georgia itself has since overruled. Not repealed, you understand; it was overturned by the Georgia Supreme Court and has not been reinstated by the Georgia Legislature. (The particulars of the Georgia case, although not really relevant, are utterly hysterical. The law was overturned because a man performed apparently consensual sodomy on his 17-year-old niece. The Georgia Supreme Court wrote that they "cannot think of any other activity that reasonable persons would rank as more private and more deserving of protection from governmental interference than consensual, private, adult sexual activity." Alas, such a defense would not work in Kansas; it's entirely legal to perform consensual sodomy on your 17-year-old niece, but you damn well better not touch your 17-year-old nephew. But I digress.)
It will be interesting to see what happens with this case. What I honestly don't understand is what his juvenile record has to do with this, since he must have been a juvenile himself at the time. In any event, he's another of those less-than-perfect defendants.
I would honestly expect that the Kansas Supreme Court would uphold both the law and the sentence (that is, they'll refuse to hear the appeal). They've historically been quite hostile to any concept that a sodomy law is perhaps not a good thing (to say nothing of generally unenforceable, except in extraordinary circumstances like these).
And of course, being as Mr Limon is just 18 and developmentally disabled, they're now sentencing him to days and nights of involuntary unconsensual sodomy. That, of course, being as it is taking place in a Kansas adult prison, is entirely legal.Posted by iain at February 05, 2002 12:31 PM