When consensual sexual activity between teenagers is treated as a serious felony, punishable by 10 years in prison without parole and a lifetime designation as a sexual offender, you know that hysteria and cruelty have supplanted common sense and justice.
From the New York Times:
Genarlow Wilson, 20, is serving a prison sentence that shocked his jury, elicited charges of racism from critics of the justice system and that even prosecutors and the State Legislature acknowledge is unjust.
He was sentenced to 10 years in prison without parole for having consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old girl at a New Yearâ€™s Eve party, an offense that constituted aggravated child molesting, even though Mr. Wilson himself was only 17.
With Mr. Wilson â€” a football player, honor student and the first homecoming king at Douglas County High School â€” nearing two years in prison, the Georgia Supreme Court declined last Friday to hear his appeal.
Mr. Wilson, who is black, is trapped in a legal vise intended to ensure severe penalties for child molesters and other sex offenders, navigating a maze of legal technicalities that for him seems to hold nothing but dead ends. Some critics of the sentence also say Mr. Wilson is caught in a system that metes out disproportionately harsh sentences to black defendants. [full text]