LJWorld.com : Judge ridicules underage sex law: The state's reasons for doling out harsher punishment for illegal sex involving homosexual acts are "utterly ridiculous," a judge said Tuesday. A three-judge appeals panel heard arguments in the case of Matthew R. Limon, who was sentenced to 17 years in prison for engaging in homosexual sex with a minor. Limon was 18 years old when he was convicted in 2000 of having oral sex with a 14-year-old boy at a private group home for people with developmental disabilities in Paola. Under state law, if Limon had engaged in sex with an underage girl, he would have faced a maximum sentence of one year and three months in prison.
"I'm just trying to come up with a reason, other than you don't like homosexuals," Kansas Court of Appeals Judge Joseph Pierron told Deputy Atty. Gen. Jared Maag, who was representing the state.
Quite frankly, that really does seem to be the entirety of the state's case. It boils down to: We don't like gays, we don't want gays in our state, and we feel that we have the right and the freedom punish them excessively wherever we find them, regardless of what the US Supreme Court says. We don't even care if they're very young at the time, because we feel that sentencing them to an adult prison, where young prisoners are usually abused and raped by older, more powerful adults on a daily basis, is really the appropriate thing to do.
The state argued the reasons for different punishments of similar sex acts was to promote marriage, encourage procreation and prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. But Pierron, the head of the three-judge panel, told Maag two of those reasons were "utterly ridiculous" because the law deals with sexual acts committed by minors, which are illegal regardless of the context.
Indeed. I should think that Kansas would want to discourage any sex by and with minors; that is the traditional position of most states. That is the main purpose of age of consent laws, after all. You don't really want minors marrying, and you certainly don't want them procreating. And no age-of-consent type law anywhere has yet managed to keep sexually-active minors from catching sexually transmitted diseases. (I point out, purely for the sake of argument, that the attorney general's argument on that point reduces to: we wish to encourage our minors to marry, to have children, and to allow the heterosexual minors to transmit diseases back and forth. However, we wish to protect the homosexual minors from all of this by preventing them from having sex at all, and penalizing them when they do. Seriously, logic is not on the state's side in this case.
A decision in the matter is not expected for several months and can be appealed to the Kansas Supreme Court.
Given the attorney general's asinine opinions in this case so far, I should expect that the case most certainly will be appealed. If it weren't for the fact that it would likely moot the case, I should think that his attorneys and parents would appeal to the governor for clemency, if they haven't already. What I wonder is if the Kansas Court of Appeals will issue an order directing Limon's immediate release when they finally do decide, and what the attorney general will do about that. I should think that he will then appeal to the Court of Appeals and to the Kansas Supreme Court for an immediate stay of that order; given his vituperative rhetoric in this case, that's the sort of thing he would do.
With a little luck, if Limon is released, both courts will decline the application for a stay, and the Kansas Supreme Court will then decline to rehear the case. (Unless the Court of Appeals decides to uphold the state's right to differential sentencing, in which case I hope the Kansas Court does decide to rehear the case.)
One way or another, I have a horrible feeling this case may eventually wind up headed back to the US Supreme Court, which will have to deliver an explicit, pointed order directing Limon's release. I just think that the Kansas attorney general is pigheaded enough to keep going with this, because he thinks it will get him votes. And he may not be wrong on that.Posted by iain at December 08, 2003 03:00 PM