almost unbelievably savage sentence for something that would be very unlikely even to be charged in the UK: in Georgia, a seventeen year old boy has been sentenced to ten years imprisonment for the heinous crime of consensual oral sex with a 15 year old girl. There is to be no possibility of parole.
For a full account of the case, and the problems with the Georgia law he transgressed, see Atlantic magazine.
One of the many disturbing aspects of the case is that the prosecution appear to have accepted guilty pleas from other boys at the same party to lesser charges, on the same facts, as part of a plea bargain. This being the case, the District Attorney’s excuse that he had no choice but to use what he agrees is an unneccessarily savage law against the unfortunate lad who didn’t cop a plea is a nonsense. Either there were lesser charges he could have brought against the boy or he accepted pleas to insufficiently serious charges — based on the facts — from the others. Either explanation makes a nonsense of his protestations that he was saddled with a bad law by the state legislature which left him no choice in the matter.
It’s also an object lesson in what happens when legislators decide that they can do better than ‘liberal judges’ who can’t be trusted to sentence properly and saddle them with populist legislation about minimum sentences.
Harry Hutton notes that the state motto of Georgia is “Wisdom, Justice, and Moderation” Who says the Americans don’t do irony?
Technorati: Genarlow Wilson, Georgia, Sentencing