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Georgia’s Supreme Court frees Genarlow Wilson

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Bill of Rights (From public domain.)

Congratulations to Genarlow Wilson for having finally been released from prison for good after originally having received a ten-year mandatory minimum sentence for having had conensual oral sex with a fifteen-year-old when he was seventeen-years-old.

The Georgia Supreme Court’s 4-3 majority opinion is based on a finding that Mr. Wilson’s ten-year sentence is unconstitutionally cruel and unusual, including when considering that the state legislature subsequently decided to remove such a mandatory minimum sentence, even though the amended statute provided that it would not be retroactive.

Mr. Wilson’s ultimate sentencing victory clearly was not a shoe-in, in part considering that the victory was achieved only by a four to three majority. Thanks to the state supreme court judges who voted in the majority.

Jon Katz.