The Kansas Supreme Court has agreed to consider the American Civil Liberties Union's appeal on behalf of a gay teenager who was sentenced to 17 years in prison for consensual oral sex, the ACLU said today. Matthew Limon has already been in prison for four years and three months - three and a half times longer than the maximum sentence he would have received if he were heterosexual.
"The only reason Matthew Limon is still in prison today is because he's gay," said Tamara Lange, a staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian and Gay Rights Project, which represents Limon. She added, "The Kansas Supreme Court has an opportunity to correct the grave injustice that has been done to this young man and the mockery that his sentence makes of the equal protection guarantees in the Constitution." [...] This is the second time that his case has been sent to the Kansas Supreme Court for review. The first time, in July of 2002, the court refused to consider Limonís case and the ACLU asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear it. The High Court sent the case back to a Kansas appeals court, ordering it to reconsider in light of its decision last summer in Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down same-sex-only sodomy laws. In January, the appeals court again upheld Limonís conviction.
The earliest that the Kansas Supreme Court is likely to hear arguments in the case will be in August.
Well, it's something, I suppose.
Mind, I don't have any hopes that this case will be resolved at the Kansas Supreme Court. Kline, Kansas' attorney general, has demonstrated surpassing bloody mindedness and determination to persecute Limon; if Kansas loses at the state supreme court level, he will certainly appeal it back to the US Supreme Court. Again.
That said, I don't happen to believe that the state of Kansas will lose this particular case in its supreme court. The state of Kansas' court system has sent itself into conniption fits justifying the retention of a law and a jail sentence that the US Supreme court all but ordered them to overturn. The key words, of course, being "all but". Why the US Supreme Court didn't reverse and vacate the sentence, rather than reverse and remand the case, I really don't understand. The state would almost certainly have gone after Limon again -- because they're so very broad minded, you see -- but the guidance from the US Supreme Court would have been explicit and unmistakeable. As it is, in a year or two, assuming the sentence is upheld at the Kansas Supreme Court level, this is going to proceed one more time to the US Supreme Court, which will likely issue yet another reversal, this time hopefully with absolute and explicit directions and an explicit overrule of the law in question.
But that will be more than a year from now, of course. Limon's case will be heard by the end of this year in the Kansas Supreme Court. Decision likely to be announced either late this year or early next year. Appeal launched immediately by whichever side loses. Three to six months for the US Supreme Court to decide whether or not to take the case. If they receive the case after January or February 2005, it will likely be heard in the 2005/2006 term, with a decision announced sometime in 2006.Posted by iain at June 02, 2004 12:41 AM