Genarlow Wilson, the Georgia man sentenced to 10 years in prison for receiving consensual oral sex in 2003 from a 15-year-old girl when he was 17, remains behind bars as the state fights to keep him locked up despite a judge’s order that he be freed, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Wilson, 21, won a favorable ruling yesterday from Monroe County Superior Court Judge Thomas Wilson. State Attorney General Thurbert Baker appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court, arguing the judge had overstepped his authority.
B. J. Bernstein, an attorney for Wilson, had argued that his 10-year prison sentence and inclusion on the state’s sex offender registry is grossly disproportionate and violates the Constitution. The state legislature changed the law last year to make similar acts a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of one year in prison. Matt Towery, a state House member from 1993 to 1997, said it was never his intent to lock up teenagers involved in consensual sex acts when he authored the 1995 Child Protection Act under which Wilson was convicted. “One issue that attorneys general have to worry about is the so-called floodgate problem,” said University of Georgia law Prof. Ron Carlson. “Since dozens and dozens have been sentenced under the law as it previously existed,” Carlson said, “the attorney general may well be worried about hundreds of prisoners banging on their cell doors and demanding the same treatment as Genarlow Wilson. That is a valid concern.”