Teen sex crime inmate gets July bond hearing

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


Douglas County Superior Court Judge David Emerson on Tuesday set the bond hearing for 1:30 p.m. July 5.

Mr. Wilson's attorney, B.J. Bernstein, had been seeking a quick hearing in Douglas County court, even though the district attorney there has said he opposes the move.

On Monday, a judge said Mr. Wilson should be freed from prison and not be listed on Georgia's sex offender registry. Monroe County Superior Court Judge Thomas Wilson called the 10-year mandatory sentence he received "a grave miscarriage of justice" that violated the constitution.

But state Attorney General Thurbert Baker immediately announced his intention to appeal the decision, saying the sentence was valid. That move kept Mr. Wilson behind bars for now.

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

Ms. Bernstein said Mr. Wilson had not yet heard news Tuesday afternoon of the court date. She said the time delay is not unusual for a typical pretrial hearing, but Mr. Wilson's is an atypical case.

"That happens in a lot of places, but this is really an unusual circumstance," she said.

"It's not like we're waiting to see if we're guilty or not guilty of something."

Prosecutors questioned why Mr. Wilson had not accepted a plea deal on the table that would allow him to serve a maximum of five years in prison and also 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," Mr. Baker said in a statement.

Mr. Wilson has served more than 28 months in prison.

At the time of his crime, Mr. Wilson would have faced just one year in prison if he had sexual intercourse with the girl.

The "Romeo and Juliet" exception in Georgia law also would have allowed him to avoid the sex offender registry.

Lawmakers last year voted to close that loophole. But the state's top court said the new law could not be applied retroactively to Mr. Wilson, now 21.