A former high school football star given 10 years in prison for having consensual oral sex with another teen was freed Friday by Georgia's highest court, which ruled his sentence amounted to cruel and unusual punishment.
Genarlow Wilson's case led to widespread protests of racism and heavy handed justice. Wilson and the girl -- both black -- were only two years apart.
''I was in total disbelief,'' Wilson told reporters outside the prison. ''I'm finally happy to see we've got justice now.''
Wilson, 21, offered advice to other teens: ''They should be very hesitant before they join certain crowds and make certain decisions.''
In its 4-3 decision, the Georgia Supreme Court noted that state lawmakers later scrapped the law that required a minimum 10-year prison term.
That change, the court said, represented ''a seismic shift in the legislature's view of the gravity of oral sex between two willing teenage participants.''
The justices also said Wilson's sentence made ''no measurable contribution to acceptable goals of punishment,'' and his crime did not rise to the ''level of adults who prey on children.''
Wilson, a former honor student and homecoming king, was convicted of aggravated child molestation after a 2003 New Year's Eve party in a hotel room where he was videotaped having oral sex with a 15-year-old girl.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
High court frees man in consensual sex case
From the Sun-Times. I wonder if Georgia is really uptight or the prosecution can just be overzealous...