A judge denied bail Wednesday for a Georgia man who was sentenced to 10 years in jail for having consensual oral sex at 17 with a 15-year-old girl — even though another judge tossed out the sentence a week earlier.
Douglas County Superior Court Judge David Emerson ruled that Genarlow Wilson — who is now 21 and has been behind bars for 27 months — will have to stay in jail at least until October.
That's when the Georgia Supreme Court is scheduled to hear an appeal by the state's attorney general, who is challenging the earlier court decision to void Wilson's 10-year sentence.
Attorney General Thurbert Baker had asked that the appeal be heard sooner, but the court rejected his request.
The former honour student was convicted in 2005 of aggravated child molestation, after receiving oral sex at a New Year's Eve party in 2003. In Georgia, the age of consent is 16 and under state law at the time, a minimum 10-year sentence was mandatory for the crime.
Wilson's original sentence was widely criticized on the grounds it was grossly disproportionate to the crime. State legislators later changed the law to make the crime a misdemeanour punishable by up to a year in jail.
On June 13, 2007, a superior court judge ordered Wilson's release, calling the original sentence a "grave miscarriage of justice."
Baker immediately appealed the ruling, arguing that the judge overstepped his authority. Baker said the decision could result in the release of some 1,300 child molesters from Georgia's jails.
When Emerson ruled out bail for Wilson on Wednesday, he said state law prohibits bail for people convicted on that charge and those who have been sentenced to five years or more.
He also cancelled a bail hearing that had been scheduled for July 5.
Earlier this week, prominent New York City investment manager Whitney Tilson and 10 others volunteered to provide $1 million US in bail money for Wilson.