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Juannessa Bennett, Genarlow Wilson's mother, reacts to the news that her son would be released from prison on Monday.
AP photo by Jason Bronis
Juannessa Bennett, Genarlow Wilson's mother, reacts to the news that her son would be released from prison on Monday.

Teen sex prisoner to serve at least 3 more weeks

By Shannon McCaffrey
Associated Press Writer

ATLANTA — A man in prison for having consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was 17 will stay there for at least three more weeks despite a judge's ruling Monday that he should be released, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Genarlow Wilson's attorney, B.J. Bernstein, had been seeking a quick hearing in Douglas County Superior Court, even though the district attorney there has said he opposes such a move. But Judge David Emerson ruled Tuesday that the hearing would be held July 5.

"It's a long ways away, especially when we just had a judge say he could be released," Bernstein said. "I just don't understand why; all it would take is the consent from the district attorney to do that."

On Monday, a judge ordered Genarlow Wilson released from prison, saying the young man's 10-year sentence for consensual sex between teens was a "grave miscarriage of justice." Ninety minutes later, Georgia's attorney general said Wilson wasn't going anywhere — the state had appealed.

Attorney General Thurbert Baker said Georgia law does not give a judge authority to reduce or modify the sentence imposed by the trial court. The appeal kept Wilson behind bars.

Baker is seeking an expedited appeal before the Georgia Supreme Court, which has already ruled against Wilson once.

Prosecutors questioned why Wilson had not accepted a plea deal that would allow him to serve a maximum of five years in prison and avoid being listed on the state's sex offender registry when he's released from prison.

"Wilson, through his attorneys, rejected all of those offers," Baker said in a news release.

Wilson, now 21, has served more than 28 months in prison.

A jury found Wilson guilty in 2005 of aggravated child molestation for having oral sex with a 15-year-old girl during a 2003 New Year's Eve party involving alcohol and marijuana. Although the sex was consensual, it was illegal under Georgia law.

Wilson also was charged with rape for being one of several male partygoers at the Douglas County hotel to have sex with a 17-year-old girl, but was acquitted. The party was captured on a videotape.

The five other male partygoers took plea deals.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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