Saturday, September 14, 2002

Photographer can leave prison

By Marie McCain,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Thomas Condon will soon be home with his family.

        The Ohio 1st District Court of Appeals on Friday ordered the 30-year-old Mount Auburn commercial photographer released from prison on his own recognizance while he appeals his conviction in the case of unauthorized photographs taken of bodies inside the Hamilton County morgue.

        “We're very excited about it. We think this is the right thing,” said H. Louis Sirkin, one of Mr. Condon's attorneys.

        The prosecutor's office declined comment Friday.

        Mr. Condon is serving a 2 1/2-year sentence at Noble Correctional Institution in Caldwell, more than four hours from Cincinnati.

        He was convicted last year of eight counts of gross abuse of a corpse for taking photos inside the morgue of autopsied bodies posed with inanimate objects from August 2000 to January 2001.

        He told officials he took the pictures — with the permission of the coroner's office — as part of a photo project on the cycle of life.

        Mr. Condon's attorneys have tried a number of times to get him released since his imprisonment May 1.

        “I am elated with the Court of Appeals decision today,” Mr. Sirkin said. “It's haunted me that this young man has been sitting in (prison). He didn't make a mistake that deserved a 2 1/2 -year prison sentence.”

        Earlier this summer, Mr. Condon unsuccessfully petitioned Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Norbert Nadel for early release.

        Judge Nadel also declined comment Friday.

        Appeal arguments are expected by the end of the year.


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