A teenager’s 10-year prison sentence for having sex with a younger schoolmate was overturned today by the Georgia Supreme Court, reports the Associated Press. The court, voting 4 to 3, said 18-year-old Marcus Dixon should have been prosecuted on a misdemeanor charge of statutory rape rather than aggravated child molestation for having sex with a 15-year-old in February 2003. Dixon has charged that he was targeted because he is black and had sex with a white girl. The ruling lets a statutory rape conviction stand, with its maximum one-year prison term.
The court didn’t say whether the 10-year sentence was cruel and unusual. “It would be entirely incongruous with the intent of the Legislature… if the state retained the discretion to prosecute the exact same conduct as either misdemeanor statutory rape or felony child molestation,” wrote Chief Justice Norman Fletcher.