ATLANTA (AP) - All but one of the young men serving time in jail for a case that led to a change in state sex offense laws are free.
Ryan D. Barnwell and Cortez Robinson -- both 22 -- were released from prison yesterday morning after 3 1/2 years behind bars. The two pleaded guilty to child molestation after attending a party with Genarlow Wilson, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for having consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old girl.
Wilson was freed October 26th after the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that that his sentence was -- quote -- "cruel and unusual punishment." State law at the time of his trial required a minimum of a decade in prison.
After he was imprisoned, Wilson became the subject of prominent editorials and national news broadcasts. His sentence was denounced even by members of the jury that convicted him and the author of the 1995 law that put him in prison.
The case prompted lawmakers to change state law to make such cases a misdemeanor when they involve teenagers close in age.