Civil Liberties

Genarlow Wilson Freed

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A Georgia judge has finally injected some sanity into a clear injustice, and thrown out the 10-year sentence given to Genarlow Wilson. Wilson was convicted of receiving consensual oral sex from a 15-year-old girl while he was 17. The case generated a storm of publicity, including pleas for his clemency from sources ranging from ESPN: The Magazine (Wilson was a high school athlete) to the New York Times editorial board and former president Jimmy Carter.

Under the judge's ruling, Wilson's conviction will be reduced to a misdemeanor, and his sentence reduced to 12 months (he has already served two years). He also won't be required to register as a sex offender.

Now if only there were some accountability for the prosecutors who brought the ridiculous charges in the first place.

Wiki backgrounder here.

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  1. he’s already served two hears

    What?!?

  2. “The case generated a storm of publicity, including pleas for his clemency from sources ranging from ESPN: The Magazine (Wilson was a high school athlete)”

    The lesson here is this:

    If you’re going to get blow jobs in high school, make sure you’ve got a letter on your jacket.

  3. Or better yet be sure that no dumbass has a video camera going.

    This also, at least while the drug war still rages, goes for smokin’ out, especially if there are underage kids around.

    Still, the fact of the matter is that this should not have been a crime, and certainly shouldn’t have been a long-jail-term crime or a sex-offender registry crime.

  4. “Freed” is definitely the wrong word here. The kid is still in jail because the DA filed an immediate appeal.

  5. What possible motivation does the prosecutor have for appealing to keep him in jail?!

    I want to kick that bastard in the balls.
    ——————-

    Click on the link in my name and please contribute. Thanks

  6. mediageek,
    You hit it on the head. Convicting teenagers of felonies, handing down multi-year prison sentences, and labeling them sex-offenders, for their consensual activities, is all fine and dandy. As long as it’s done to someone we don’t care about anyway.

  7. I wonder how many American males would be felonious registered sex-offenders before they had to register for the draft if the prosecution’s interpretation of the law was applied universally.

  8. As incriminating as the video might be, that might also be the only reason he’s not in prison for rape with essentially no hope for appeal.

  9. Thomas: I’m wondering if it’s not just an automatic, procedural thing. Otherwise it seems incomprehensible.

    I assume he’ll be out of jail within a day or two regardless of what the prosecutor does. His attorney is seeking a bond even now.

  10. Thomas,
    The prosecutor is pissed that Wilson refused to plea bargain and admit guilt.

  11. Wikipedia says Georgia’s AG is appealing this action. Why would he do that?

  12. Yep, everyone else plea bargained and the prosecutor went after him with a vengeance. IIRC, the plea still would have require sex offender registry and he would not have been allowed contact with his own sister. Plus you know, the other reason not to plea bargain- not actually being guilty of any just law.

  13. thank god

  14. As far as having a letter on a jacket or not, if anything I suspect that made things worse being black and in Georgia. They can’t have these uppity negroes taking over sports, learning how to read, and going to college,etc. Gotta keep them in their place, at least get a guilty plea. If not, them boys ( I noticed in Virginia law enforcement also refers to adult black athletes as boy) is goin to jail.

  15. Rimfax,

    Damn, you’re right. I’d forgotten that the whole reason the DA had the tape was to prove that the 17-year-old girl whose parents brought the original accusation had done so consensually.

  16. The Attorney General will fight…and even if they loose the appeal…will never appologies for being wrong. This is the neo-conservative way of doing things. This is who what we voted for. This is happening EVERYWHERE to many many people. And, yes, if the video didn’t exists, he would have been convicted of RAPE.

    To the family of Genarlow Wilson, DO NOT ACCEPT any plea. The statement from the DA that the lower charge will leave Genarlow Wilson with NO CRIMINAL RECORD is a LIE. Sex crimes, drug crimes, and DWIs show up on the CRIMIAL DATABASE regardless of the infraction being a misdeminor, Felony, or municipal Violation…Many people r being denied entrance into Canada…thinking that they’ve pleaded guilty to a violation…and NOT A CRIME.

  17. Roz, Thurbert Baker, the Georgia AG is not a neo-con, he is a Democrat. They are going to appeal because the excutive branch does not like it when the judicary takes actions that the legislatur knowingly decided not to act up

  18. Roz: You lose at the internet.

  19. Yet another case where every person involved in the persecution should be immediately fired/impeached.

  20. Believe Me … a neo-con is NOT any SPECIFIC PARTY, any SPECIFIC race or colour. It’s a movement…And a movement that will prevail.

    And that’s why we have three branches. And Not one is in charge.

    Fundamentally, most people agree, this is a mis-carriage of justice.

  21. DM,

    A Democrat can be a neo-Conservative (in theory). I am not saying anything about the Georgia AG when I make this statement though.

  22. I accept my internet LOSS gracefully :>

  23. s/b grazefuly

  24. Aw, MG, you don’t have to rub it in to all of us that aren’t Stevo Darkly.

  25. U know, DM…I don’t Think I agree w/u

    The legislature went on break after amending the notorious ‘blow-up statute’. I think NOT re-troactively applying it the Mr Wilson here was an ommission…and not something that they intended to due. But i may b wrong.

    I Feel that the AG is just being an a-hole. Prosecutor’s rarely, if ever, admint to being wrong about things like this. And he will fight tooth and nail to keep that kid in jail.

    The AG also knows that if this goes to the Supreme Court…The ‘Blow-Job’ will be OUTLAWED all throughout America :>

  26. Thomas: I’m wondering if it’s not just an automatic, procedural thing. Otherwise it seems incomprehensible.

    Does one have to be a resident of Georgia to file a complaint with the Georgia bar?

    This is fucking malicious prosecution if I’ve ever seen it.

  27. The AG also knows that if this goes to the Supreme Court…The ‘Blow-Job’ will be OUTLAWED all throughout America :>

    When blowjobs are outlawed, only outlaws will get blowobs. And, of course, an extraordinarily successful recruiting pitch.

  28. Tom,

    U can file a complaint…but it will fall upon death ears. Just like any other complaint made against judges, prosecutors, police officers, priests, klansman, dmv workers, etc.

  29. There is nothing to complain about on the part of the AG. It is the DUTY of the OFFICE of the Attorney General to insure that the laws of Georgia are enforced as written by the General Assembly. That is what they are doing. Is it an ass backward puriticanical law that punishes a 17 yr old for getting a BJ from a 15 yr old? Yes, but it was the law as it was written then. The General Assembly did change the law later so that in the future it will no longer be a felony, but they did not make it retroactive – either willfully or not. They did that not this past session but the one before, they had the opportunity to fixt the mistake and make it retroactive, a bill to do that was preposed, and it was not acted upon.
    I’m very glad this judge is looking beyound the pure letter of the law to do what is equitable. I’m also glad that the Attorney General is doing his job to insure the laws are properly enforced. This matter now will go to the GA Supreme Court where it can more properly be argued on what the intentions of the General Assembly were.
    If you want to blam some one for missuse of their office it would the the great Gov. Prudue, who has not used his power to pardon this kid, not the AG who is just doing his constitutionaly mandated job

  30. DM-

    In every case, there’s something called prosecutorial discretion — in other words, a prosecutor can decide, despite the letter of the law, that the interests of justice are not served by charging a particular defendant with a particular crime. Looks pretty clear that this prosecutor should be using his discretion and not appeal today’s ruling.

  31. The AG has plenty of discretion in this case, DM. It’s his job to enforce the laws, but he can also make recommendations to the court and he’s clearly under NO obligation, constitutionally or otherwise, to appeal a higher court ruling about a law that’s not even on the books any more. It’s not like there’s a chance of a more violent offender turning this ruling around and weasel out of doing his time.

    The whole damn thing is moot, and he’s wasting taxpayer money extending the court battles over consensual sex that the defendant had while he was a minor.

    BTW, the governor doesn’t have pardon powers in GA, so it’s not the governor’s fault.

  32. DM,

    It was once the law that black people had 2 sit in the back of the bus. A widely accepted law.

    The law is a LIVING THING. not a FOREVER commandment written in stone. Unfortunately, the neo-con movement is taking away everyone’s ability to try to protest and change bad (or no longer applicable) laws by outlawing PROTEST, LIMITING appeals, making people rot in jail until a miracle happens, appointing ne-con judges, and calling people how are against bad laws as ‘not tough on crime’, liberals, terrorist, anarchist, etc…

    At some point, court memebers (including judges and prosecutors) do have the responsiblity to do what is right. And common sense dictates in this case what is right. The AG is purposely doing what is WRONG…and he knows it. Neo-cons…and their supporters r big hypocrats. The AG would not, as u say, be deliquent in his duty by keeping this boy in jail. He is simply moving forward the policy of DON’T FIGHT CITY HALL, DON’T QUESTION GOVERNMENT.

    I hope this kid goes free.

  33. DM:

    Fuck that. We settled this shit at Nuremberg.

  34. As for a racial angle, it appears that the AG, Wilson, and the girl are all black.

    Weird.

  35. I definitely didn’t use the ‘back of the bus’ thing to start a race war. Almost All involved r black. My intention is to use an example in which laws change. And that many many many laws today, are wrong…and common sense dictates that these laws r wrong.

    Most importantly, I was objecting to DM saying that the AG has a duty to support the WRONG THING…simply because of the adversarial nature of prosecution and defense. At some point, the state (prosecutor) should do the write thing.

  36. Roz, Thurbert Baker, the Georgia AG is not a neo-con, he is a Democrat.

    A Democrat in GA can be more conservative than a Republican in Massachusetts. Down here, Democrats are still the party of Jefferson Davis. In fact, until the 60s the Republicans wouldn’t even nominate any Senate candidates in GA, as all votes went for Democrats. And even though we’re a red state now, it’s not because the Democrats changed.

  37. It is up to the courts, and by that i mean the appelat courts to overturn the laws if they are unjust. As I said, I don’t think this kid should be behind bars anymore. But he was convicted by a jury of aggrivated child molestation. This was a lesser included charge, since IIRC he was also charged with both statutory and aggrivated rape. Also the jury decided that while this kid didn’t deserve to go to jail on rape charges, he wasn’t an innocent party, they didn’t just let him go. They saw the video, and they decided that he was still guilty of AGRIVATED child molestation. He was sent to jail not for statuory rape, but because a jury found his actions to be agrivated. The only way to get law that allow such travisties to take place is to get them before appelet courts. The decisions of trial lever judges, as this one was, mean nothing in the long run. While I feel for this kid for having to serve to years in jail, with any hope his case will one highight the dangers of manditory minium sentences and two get some of these sexually represive laws off the book. ANd they are only going to get off the books through the actions of either the legisalture or the appelat courts – not ignoring laws that are in full force, and not having convictions tosed out at the trial level. Some people, Roz, need to look at the bigger picture, instead of just jumping to conclussion based on immediate feelings of disgust

  38. “This is the neo-conservative way of doing things”

    Oh, please.

    OK FOLKS, IT’S OFFICIAL. THE TERM “NEO-CONSERVATIVE” NO LONGER MEANS ANYTHING, SO YOU CAN STOP USING IT TO DESCRIBE LITERALLY EVERYTHING YOU DON’T LIKE. PUT IT RIGHT UP THERE WITH “THESE FRENCH FRIES ARE TOO COLD, FUCKING MCDONLADS FASCISTS”, AND “I GOT TICKETED BY THOSE FASCIST COPS JUST BECAUSE I’D HAD A SHOT OR 8 BEFORE I DROVE HOME”
    Neo-con is over. Sorry, you abused the privillage.

  39. God damnit, my neo-con air conditioning isn’t doing a very good job today.

  40. That girl is of age now. What’s her number? I want to interview her now.

  41. Please feel free to read about neo-conservative movement in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoconservative

    DM, I understand the appeals process. But how would ONE feel, know that ‘everything will be ok once the appeals process is done’…and that ONE person is rotting in jail.

    My big complaint, is that neo-cons, like these BAD laws. They know that these laws are BAD. And there are many of them. And they are doing everything possible to DESTROY the appeals process by creating many many classifications so that one has no due-process.

    With the patriot act…and many laws like it, the concept of the Crimial Procedure, the due-process of law, the burden of proof, a simple hearing…are thrown out the window by these people (neo-cons). And NOW, the Supreme Court will completely nullify the ENTIRE CONSTITUTION. Making it so that no-one can get a hearing…let alone an appeal…That is my big complaint…and that is why I kinda like the fact that Judges should be able to throw out convictions…and that the state should NOT have a right to appeal. It’s the only (and last) chance the ‘little guy’ has.

  42. who were the neo-cons in this piece again? are democrats in the south now neo-cons?

  43. I guess the bigger question is, should one “innocent” man stay in jail, if it leads to the laws being changed to keep 10 more innocent people out in the long run. I may be cold heart, and I sure not like that math if I was the innocent man, but I still think that this one sort of guilty guy staying in jail during the appeals process is worth it to get more discussion on such issues before the bodies that need to address them

  44. DM,

    I disagree with ur statement that this guy is ‘kinda guilty’.

    The Bodies (Supreme Court) that address these issues will always side on the state…and against the little guy (defendant). Scalia/Thomas/Alito/Roberts team will ALWAYs vote for the STATE and against the defendant…their record shows this. As long as the STATE has the right to appeal. THE State will WIN.

    Bush has two years 2 go. And he will appoint another JUSTICE.

    I know things may change when another President comes in…but during the BIG part of my lifetime. I’m gonna have to deal with this crap. Just like the IRAQ war. I know a new President is probably coming.

    But the IRAQ war, draconian laws, and the policies of denying us a trial, an appeal, and simply the opportunity to say “I didn’t do it”…will last my entire LIFETIME. that makes me sad.

  45. well luckly for this guy, he won’t be going to the US Supreme Court, but the GA Supreme Court, which is more liberal than both the current majority of the SCOTUS and the Georgia Gov. and General Assembly. And your right, he is totally guilty of the charge he was convicted of – whether or not he should have originally been prosecuted is why I said he was kind of guilty

  46. Well, I read the Wiki article and I still do not get Roz’s assertions. Dippy prosecuters railroading people seems to me to have damn-all to do with neoconservatism, however it is defined.

  47. This is just stupid.

    Many of us would NEVER get out of jail had our full teenage sexual experimentation been known and prosecuted thusly.


  48. The Bodies (Supreme Court) that address these issues will always side on the state…and against the little guy (defendant). Scalia/Thomas/Alito/Roberts team will ALWAYs vote for the STATE and against the defendant…their record shows this. As long as the STATE has the right to appeal. THE State will WIN.”

    I don’t know, Thomas/Alito et al didn’t take the side of the state in Kelo.

  49. FWIW, dippy prosecutors railroading people is done by DA’s no matter what their party affiliation. Witness the Duke case (A liberal Dem prosecutor, hardly a neocon!).

  50. This case SCREAMS for jury nullification.

  51. I guess the bigger question is, should one “innocent” man stay in jail, if it leads to the laws being changed to keep 10 more innocent people out in the long run.

    The law was changed shortly after this guy’s conviction. There is no need for him to rot away- even for the “greater good.”

  52. Juries need to be more concerned about doing justice and less concerned about the Judge’s instructions.
    The AG is interested in convictions. The Judge may (or may not) be concerned about justice, but is more concerned with the law.
    I could probably be arrested in Gilpin County just for thinking this.

  53. Anyone named Genarlow who exists outside of a page of a book should lose an appeal. Change that name to protect the innocent, please!

  54. Yet another case where every person involved in the persecution should be immediately fired/impeached.

    I did hear this morning that Mike Nifong is facing charges.

  55. Wikipedia says Georgia’s AG is appealing this action. Why would he do that?

    Probably because he is a pathetic dickwad who is still bent that he never got a blowjob in high school.

    And no the “just doing his job” cop-out does not exempt him from responsibility for choosing to fuck up a person’s life when it is so patently unjust to do so. Jesus, humans shouldn’t be thoughtless automatons merely following their programs like a fucking computer. You don’t get a free pass from considering the morality of your actions just because you were “following orders.”

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