Not Saussure

December 22, 2006

17-year-old sentenced to 10 years for consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old girl

Filed under: Bloody Yanks, Foreigners, Law — notsaussure @ 3:33 pm

Via The Magistrate’s Blog and the incomparable Harry Hutton, what Bystander JP rightly describes as

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?

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  1. I know it’s easy to make the comment I’m going to about this court decision but I assure you it’s not just a throwaway line:

    Total insanity!

    Comment by james higham — December 22, 2006 @ 6:55 pm

  2. This is the busy-body state at work. In another honourable culture the age of consent may have been 15, or even flexible depending on the maturity of the young adult and the parents’ assessment.

    At any rate, given the consentual nature of this relationship, it’s hard to imagine any benefit to imprisoning a promising young man.

    My heart goes out to this young man.

    Comment by OnyxStone — December 23, 2006 @ 12:12 am

  3. I get the feeling from your comments that none of you have ever been to America. Injustice is our middle name! Granted that we normally only inflict this type of unfairness on ourselves and in particular the minorities here we have shared this type of grief around the world. Heck, we learned from our European setlers who fleeing suppression in their own lands found they could be masters in the new world. IN the courtroom nextdoor to where this you man was sentenced a female teacher (white and attractive) who had been convicted of sex with one of her teenage students was given 90 days probation. So, is this a racial crime or a legal complication. Follow your own mind.

    Comment by Terry — January 29, 2007 @ 9:15 pm

  4. I think the world has indeed gone mad when we began to nit pick things and not really look at the big picture. Lets try to save those who will soon be lost in the streets before we began to throw the ones with futures to the wolves.

    Comment by Rev canady Matthews — December 18, 2007 @ 4:04 am

  5. I would allow my 15 yr old stepson to sleep with his girlfriend who is the same age. They love each other and for as long as they were careful I would be fine about it. Teenagers have the same right as an adult to have sex, for as long as they are not too young

    Comment by David — March 6, 2010 @ 9:21 pm

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