Ga. to Free Defendant in Teen-Sex Case

State supreme court rules 10-year sentence 'cruel and unusual'
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 26, 2007 11:50 AM CDT

(Newser) – The Georgia Supreme Court today tossed out a controversial 10-year prison sentence handed down to a 17-year-old who had consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old, calling it cruel and unusual. Citing a "seismic change" in how oral sex between consenting teens is viewed, the court ordered Genarlow Wilson released, CNN reports; he has spent 2 years in prison.

"Wilson's crime does not rise to the level of adults who prey on children," the majority in the 4-3 decision said in their opinion. The law mandating the sentence was later changed, making the felony a misdemeanor with a maximum term of 1 year, but it wasn't retroactive. The Georgia AG will not appeal the ruling, effectively ending the case.