Court: Teen's Sentence "Cruel and Unusual"
The Georgia Supreme Court has ruled that a 10-year prison sentence given to a teenager for a consensual sex act amounted to "cruel and unusual punishment" under the Georgia and U.S. Constitutions. In 2005, Genarlow Wilson, then 17 years old, was convicted of aggravated child molestation for having consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old girl. In today's decision, the court stated that, especially in light of the fact that the conduct for which Wilson was convicted is now considered a misdemeanor under Georgia law, "the extraordinarily harsh punishment of ten years in prison without the possibility of probation or parole, appears to be grossly disproportionate to [Wilson's] crime." The court ordered that Wilson, now 21, be released from prison. The New York Times reports that Wilson could be released as early as today.
- Read the Georgia Supreme Court Decision [PDF file]
- NY Times: Georgia Court Orders Man Freed in Sex Case
- What is Cruel and Unusual Punishment? (FindLaw)
- The 8th Amendment and Cruel and Unusual Punishment (FindLaw)
- Criminal Law Center (FindLaw)
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