Sharpton, Others Hold Vigil for Genarlow Wilson

Standing on the steps of the Douglas County Courthouse, the Reverend Al Sharpton embraced the mother and sister of Genarlow Wilson Thursday as he joined hundreds of supporters demanding Wilson's immediate release from prison.

Joined by clergy and civil rights activists, Sharpton said Wilson's cause is a national one.

He is serving ten years in prison for a teenage sex act.

State lawmakers also attended the rally at the courthouse, where a bond hearing scheduled for today was canceled earlier this week.

State Representative Alisha Thomas Morgan said that like the prison sentence for Scooter Libby, which was commuted Monday by President Bush, Wilson's punishment was also excessive and should be reduced.

The 21-year-old Wilson is serving a ten-year mandatory sentence for aggravated child molestation stemming from a 2003 New Year's Eve Party where he was captured on videotape receiving oral sex from a 15-year-old girl. The law has since been changed by Georgia lawmakers, but the state's top court said the new law could not be applied retroactively.

Wilson was also charged in 2003 with raping a 17-year-old girl at the party, but a jury acquitted him of the charges. Five other male partygoers accepted plea deals in the case.

Wilson was also offered a plea before his trial but rejected it.

The Georgia Supreme Court is set to hear the latest appeal in October.