Federal Judge Faults Nev. Jail, Gives Man 5 Years

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A federal judge gave a convicted sex offender a
break at sentencing after the man's lawyer compared treatment he got in federal custody at a municipal lockup to harsh treatment of suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay.

U.S. District Judge Kent Dawson sentenced 44-year-old Kevin Curtin to five years in federal prison on Wednesday after Curtin's lawyer criticized his treatment at the North Las Vegas jail.

"He didn't even get to see the sun," attorney Cal Potter III said. "This is worse than Guantanamo Bay in some cases."

Potter said Curtin was separated from other inmates, denied reading material, and was allowed outside his cell for about 30 minutes at midnight.

Federal prosecutor Nancy Koppe told the judge that as a convicted sex offender, Curtin was segregated from other inmates for his safety. She sought a sentence of 71 months, or almost six years for Curtin.

Dawson said he understood conditions at the jail were not ideal, and noted that one reason Curtin was segregated was because several
suspected white supremacist gang members were housed at the facility awaiting trial.

Most federal prisoners in southern Nevada are housed in the custody of U.S. marshals under contract at the North Las Vegas Detention Center.

Curtin was arrested in 2004 at a Las Vegas hotel-casino bowling alley where authorities say he went to meet a Las Vegas police officer who posed as a 14-year-old girl on the Internet. Curtin initially was convicted of coercion and traveling with the intent to engage in a sexual act with a minor.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned his conviction in 2006 after Potter argued that prosecutors should not have read aloud lewd stories Curtin had when he was arrested. They described sexual acts between children and adults.

A jury convicted Curtin of the same charges earlier this year.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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