Archive for Thursday, November 24, 2005

Court eases house arrest for holiday

Man involved in sodomy case can celebrate with family

November 24, 2005

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— A man the Kansas Supreme Court determined was given an unfair sentence for a sex crime because it involved a homosexual act will get to spend Thanksgiving with his entire family under eased release rules ordered Wednesday.

Matthew Limon was released from prison earlier this month after serving 5 1/2 years of a roughly 17-year sentence for performing a sex act on a 14-year-old boy when Limon was 18. Had Limon's partner been a girl, he would have faced a maximum 15 months in jail, a disparity that moved the state's high court to rule he be resentenced.

He has since been charged in Miami County with unlawful voluntary sexual relations, a count on which Limon made his first appearance Wednesday.

Limon's release to family members in western Kansas includes mandated counseling and no interaction with minors. Defense attorney Byron Cerrillo argued those rules would have interfered with his client's holiday observances and church attendance, claims that District Judge Richard Smith accepted despite Miami County Atty. David Miller's challenge that the defendant had two prior sexual offense convictions and could be a danger to the community.

Smith ordered that Limon be released from his house arrest on Thanksgiving and Christmas and be allowed to be in the company of minors while he is under family supervision. The judge also said the defendant could attend weekly religious services, but he cautioned that he must be supervised at all times.

"That means not even stopping at a filling station and going to the rest room unsupervised," Smith said.

Limon was living at a home for the developmentally disabled when he was charged with criminal sodomy. Prosecutors called him a predator because of his prior offenses, but Limon's attorneys, gay rights groups and civil libertarians said he was being unfairly treated as a criminal for a consensual act simply because it was a homosexual act.

The Kansas Supreme Court ruled last month that Limon should be resentenced as if the law treated illegal gay sex and illegal straight sex the same. It also struck the language from the law that created the different treatment.

Miller isn't seeking more jail time for Limon, only a continuation of supervised release, though Cerrillo said his client had already served more time than he should have.

"Enough is enough," he said. "Matthew spent 5 1/2 years in prison. I think he got enough supervision on a daily basis."

The next proceeding in the case is scheduled for Jan. 19.

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