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Judge opts for downward departure on rape sentence

FARGO -- A 20-year-old North Dakota man facing a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison for rape has been sentenced to five years.

A Fargo jury in February convicted Jermaine Jones of Class AA felony gross sexual imposition, which carries a sentence between 20 years and life in prison.

But East Central District Court Judge Wickham Corwin said in court Monday that a 20-year sentence for Jones would be the "equivalent of another of this young man's lifetimes."

In order for the downward departure in sentencing, the judge was required to show that the 20-year term would represent a "manifest injustice."

Jones and his half-brother were charged with raping two 13-year-old girls at a Fargo party.