There’s Still Hope for Kansas

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The Kansas Supreme Court has decided that illegal underage sex must be punished in the same manner, be it homosexual or heterosexual sex.

The case behind this ruling:

The case involved an 18-year-old man, Matthew R. Limon, who was found guilty in 2000 of performing a sex act on a 14-year-old boy and was sentenced to 17 years in prison. Had one of them been a girl, state law would have dictated a maximum sentence of 15 months.

Limon has already served more than five years.

James Esseks of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Lesbian and Gay Rights Project, Limon’s lawyer:

“We are very happy that Matthew will soon be getting out of prison. We are sorry there is no way to make up for the extra four years he spent in prison simply because he is gay.”

I don’t want to see Limon serve more time because his crime involved homosexual sex, but I’d like to see longer sentences for sex crimes for everyone, not shorter ones. I’m seeing this opinion elsewhere in the blogosphere too.

On Kansas law:

Kansas law prohibits any sexual activity involving a person under 16.

However, the state’s 1999 “Romeo and Juliet” law specifies short prison sentences or probation for sexual activity when an offender is under 19 and the age difference between participants is less than four years—but only for opposite-sex encounters.

Not surprisingly, many believe the court does not have the right to rewrite the “Romeo and Juliet” statute. Mathew Staver, attorney for the conservative Orlando, Fla.-based Liberty Counsel commented “This is clearly a sign of an activist court system.”

The Legal Reader blogged about this case back in 2003 here and here.

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