Monday, December 18, 2006

I hope her milkshake brings all the boys: I need a special category, on this site — if I had categories — for “news that is simply not believable.” (Although we here at Particle and Parcel believe that all our news is surprising, or riveting, it need not be unbelievable.)

As a high school student, I sometimes worried about prosecution under statutory rape laws, but it certainly was a low-level fear. But not so, for a 17-year-old Georgian boy who is going to spend the next 10 years of his life in prison for getting what I sincerely hope was the best hummer of his short life, from a 15-year-old. He was convicted of aggravated child molestation for, I kid you not, oral sodomy. (?!) The case was just upheld by the Georgia Supreme Court, after he appealed. The great irony is that at the time underage genital sex would have been a misdemeanor, but underage oral sex was a felony; and the Legislature changed the law, after the sexcapade, but neglected to make the law apply retroactively. Via the Volokh Conspiracy, the Georgia Court’s opinion:

[Genarlow] Wilson was convicted of aggravated child molestation based upon an act of oral sodomy performed on him by victim T.C., which was documented on videotape and seems to show that the victim’s participation in the act was voluntary. Wilson was 17 years old at the time of the act; the victim was 15 years old. Pursuant to the version of the aggravated child molestation statute then in effect, Wilson was sentenced to ten years imprisonment without possibility of parole…

In 2006, the Legislature amended [the relevant Georgia law] to provide, inter alia, that aggravated child molestation involving an act of sodomy is only a misdemeanor when the victim is between 13 and 16 years of age and the convicted person is 18 years of age or younger and is no more than four years older than the victim. … [T]he Legislature expressly chose not to allow the provisions of the new amendments to affect persons convicted under the previous version of the statute… Accordingly, while I am very sympathetic to Wilson’s argument regarding the injustice of sentencing this promising young man with good grades and no criminal history to ten years in prison without parole and a lifetime registration as a sexual offender because he engaged in consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old victim only two years his junior, this Court is bound by the Legislature’s determination that young persons in Wilson’s situation are not entitled to the misdemeanor treatment now accorded to identical behavior under [the relevant Georgia law]. (Emph. mine.)

P.S.: Read the comments on Volokh’s blog entry. Some are well worth reading, if you ask me.

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