Friday, September 26, 2003

Condon returned to jail by judge

Photographer's appeal rejected

By Dan Horn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

The Cincinnati man convicted of photographing bodies at the Hamilton County morgue without permission was sent back to prison Thursday.

Thomas Condon was led away in handcuffs after Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Norbert Nadel refused to allow the photographer to remain free on bond pending his appeals.

Condon's most recent appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court was rejected, clearing the way for him to resume serving his 18-month sentence.

He already has served four months of the sentence he received last year following his conviction on multiple charges of gross abuse of a corpse. Prosecutors said Condon took photos of at least nine bodies posed with seashells, fruit, toys and other objects.

Condon, 31, has said he believed he had permission to take the photos for an art project, but officials at the Hamilton County morgue claim they gave Condon access to the morgue only so he could help produce a training video. They have said they knew nothing about his photos of posed bodies.

In May, an appeals court reduced Condon's sentence from 30 months to 18 after concluding that prosecutors had made inappropriate comments during the trial.

Condon's lawyers appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court in hopes his conviction would be thrown out.

At a hearing Thursday before Nadel, Condon's lawyer, H. Louis Sirkin, asked the judge to allow his client to remain free pending another appeal, this time to the U.S. Supreme Court. He also asked the judge to consider reducing Condon's sentence.

Sirkin said Condon is married, has a steady job and has stayed out of trouble while free on bond. But the judge denied the request.

Condon may still turn to the state appeals court for bond, but Prosecutor Mike Allen said he would fight any attempt to keep Condon from serving his sentence.

"This case has been litigated as much as it can be litigated," Allen said. "It just needs to get on with the sentence."


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