Monday, April 30, 2007

Free Genarlow Wilson Now!!!

April 30, 2007

Editorial
Georgia’s Shame

Every day that young Genarlow Wilson remains in prison for consensual sexual activity is a further indictment against the prosecutors, lawmakers and judges of the Georgia legal system. Lawyers for Mr. Wilson have applied for a writ of habeas corpus to challenge his cruel and unusual 10-year sentence. The Superior Court should grant it.

When he was 17, Mr. Wilson received oral sex from a 15-year-old girl. For that, he has served over two years of a strict minimum decade-long prison term. He was convicted of aggravated child molestation, a charge intended for adult sexual predators. If Mr. Wilson had engaged in sexual intercourse with the same girl, it would have been a misdemeanor under an exemption for contact between minors. Oral sex was left out. Legislators have since corrected the unintended trap. If Mr. Wilson engaged in the same action today, it would be a misdemeanor.

The Board of Pardons and Paroles is legally prohibited from granting clemency for this offense. And the State Senate adjourned for the year without taking up a bill that would have allowed judges to review sentences in cases like Mr. Wilson’s.

The behavior of the district attorney, David McDade, requires particular scrutiny. He charged Mr. Wilson with raping a different girl at the same party, and a jury acquitted him in 2005. Mr. McDade has distributed a graphic videotape of the events in that case to legislators as part of a lobbying effort at the State Senate against Mr. Wilson’s release. And Mr. McDade went on television last month and said, referring to Mr. Wilson and others involved, “Six young men basically gang-raped a 17-year-old.”

At best, this is irresponsible considering that Mr. Wilson was acquitted of the charge. It demonstrates poor judgment not by a minor, but by an adult who should know better.


Could This Happen To Your Child? Your Brother? Your Friend?

Genarlow Wilson sits in prison despite being a good son, a good athlete and high school student with a 3.2 GPA. He never had any criminal trouble. On the day he was to sit for the SAT, at seventeen years old, his life changed forever. He was arrested. In Douglas County he was accused of inappropriate sexual acts at a News Year’s Eve party. A jury acquitted him of the allegation of Rape but convicted him of Aggravated Child Molestation for a voluntary act of oral sex with another teenager. He was 17, and she was 15.

Along with the label “child molester” which will require him throughout his life to be on a sexual offender registry, Genarlow received a sentence of eleven years — a mandatory 10 years in prison and 1 year on probation.

On July 1st, the new Romeo and Juliet law went into effect in Georgia for any other teen that engages in consensual sexual acts. That change in the law means that no teen prosecuted for consensual oral sex could receive more than a 12 months sentence or be required to register as a sex offender.

Had this law been in effect when Genarlow Wilson was arrested, or had been done after the Marcus Dixon case, Genarlow would not now be in jail.

Genarlow and his mother are overjoyed that no one else in Georgia will have to know their pain. In the meantime, however, the legal fight goes on for Genarlow Wilson.

Genarlow has been incarcerated since February 25, 2005.

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1 comment:

ZMan! said...

Yes, Georgia is insane, and locking someone like this up who had everything going for him, he's now ruined...

http://sexoffenderissues.blogspot.com/search/label/Genarlow%20Wilson