Civil Liberties

Genarlow Wilson Update


My piece in the Chicago Tribune posted below ran on Sunday.

Since then, a new judge has ruled that because Wilson's sentence is greater than five years, he isn't permitted bond, and must remain in prison while Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker appeals the other judge's commutation of Wilson's sentence. A group of private donors had previously raised $1 million to free Wilson pending the appeal.

Wilson will now remain in prison at least until October, when the Georgia Supreme Court will consider the state's appeal. That court has already denied Wilson once.

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  1. motherfuckers

  2. It doesn’t make any sense to have the system set up this way. If Wilson were free and AG Baker’s appeal won, Wilson would serve the remainder of his sentence and the state loses nothing. With Wilson in prison, if Baker’s appeal loses, he lost another 4 months of his life that he can’t get back, and the state loses the cost keeping him there.

    If they don’t believe that he’s a flight risk or likely to commit a crime, keeping him in prison makes absolutely no sense.

  3. I’m sure Thurbert Baker sleeps soundly at night, although his conscience may catch up to him on his deathbed.

  4. Well, fuck Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker.

  5. I don’t believe in Hell, but I wish such a place did exist just for assholes like Thurbert Baker.

  6. That court has already denied Wilson once.

    But that was an appeal by Wilson, correct? They’re hearing Baker’s appeal this time. Hopefully they’ll just keep on denyin’.

  7. so is this one of those “i can’t admit i made a mistake” things or is it “i am a fucking fuckface who fucks felines for frappachinos” things?

  8. The sentence would only be appropriate if it was MY daughter. Otherwise, it’s ludicrous. Worse, it is difficult for me to comprehend why jailing this kid is so all fired important to Mr Baker (using the term Mr loosely).

    Good piece.

  9. “… it is difficult for me to comprehend why jailing this kid is so all fired important to Mr Baker….”

    Perhaps Baker dreams of one day being President.

  10. Wilson got a hummer from a teenage girl. Why isn’t he getting an award? This prison business is really pushing it.

    /R Kelly mode off

  11. Baker’s “logic” is that freeing Wilson would lead to the freeing of a bunch of the pedophile scumbags the law at issue was actually intended to punish. Not saying I agree with him…

  12. Johnson: The untold truth about Genarlow Wilson
    By Eric Johnson | Columnist | Story updated at 7:36 PM on Saturday, June 23, 2007

    The mainstream media is portraying Genarlow Wilson as a victim and Georgia as a backwater state by oversimplifying this case. There is more to this story than a young student getting 10 years in prison for consensual oral sex. A lot more.

    Genarlow Wilson was charged with rape, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, aggravated sodomy and aggravated child molestation. He and five buddies videotaped their “party” on New Year’s Eve with two young girls – one of whom was 17 and “semi-conscious” (according to the Georgia Court of Appeals) and another who was 15 and a minor.

    This was not two star-crossed lovers on a date. Wilson engaged in intercourse with the 17-year-old after she was passed out drunk and high on drugs and encouraged the others to join him. She accused the young men of rape and has never recanted. Sex with a semi-conscious female who cannot grant consent is rape – even if she earlier granted it consensually. She also was locked in the bathroom in between the sex acts and this resulted in a “false imprisonment” conviction for one of the men. Later, all but one of them received oral sex from the minor. This is against the law in Georgia because a minor is not deemed capable of consenting to such an act.

    There were six men with 40 prior arrests among them in a hotel room with a semi-conscious girl and a minor. They were consuming illegal drugs and alcohol underage. They weren’t choirboys. One of the men impregnated a 12-year-old while awaiting trial and has since been convicted of statutory rape. Five of the six men pled guilty to the lesser charge of child molestation instead of aggravated child molestation. All are serving time.

    Wilson refused the plea bargain and was unanimously convicted by a jury of his peers. The sentence for his crimes is a harsh, but mandatory, 10 years in prison. He continues to turn down offers that would release him from jail and keep him off the sexual offender registry. But he and his new lawyer appear to prefer martyrdom to freedom. There is a Web site, a publicist and a limo for his attorney.

    People are judging this case based on 60-second news clips instead of watching the video, reading the court transcripts, and trusting the jury system. Georgia’s laws are designed to protect minors from sexual predators. Genarlow and his buddies violated the law. A young girl charged them with rape. The police arrested them. A district attorney chose to prosecute them. A grand jury decided to indict them. And a jury convicted them.

    Now, an entirely new judge enjoying his 15 minutes of fame ignored the law, the trial, the appeals, and the facts of the case. He reduced Wilson’s sentence and ordered him released from prison. His decision was a shock and clear violation of Georgia law. The attorney general has filed an expedited appeal with Georgia’s Supreme Court, which just last year unanimously upheld the constitutionality of an identical case. This has put the prisoner, his family, and the victims on an incredibly cruel and unnecessary emotional roller coaster.

    Wilson is not the victim. A semi-conscious female and a minor girl were the victims. Society shouldn’t wonder why females hesitate to charge “rape.” They are portrayed as “trash,” and the men are just doing what men do. Women should be outraged.

    Life comes with accountability for our decisions. Genarlow Wilson could have selected different friends to hang with. He could have joined millions of law-abiding teens all over the country enjoying New Years’ Eve without alcohol, drugs and sex. He could have left the hotel when the fun started. He didn’t. He made a choice. Now his life has changed forever. That is sad. I hope other young men and girls will learn from this tragedy and avoid his errors.

    ? Johnson, R-Savannah, is president pro tempore of the Georgia Senate. He represents Bryan County and parts of Chatham and Liberty counties.

    Published in the Athens Banner-Herald on 062407

  13. Wilson was acquitted of the rape charge. The girl who performed oral sex on him has never denied she did so consensually. He was convicted only because she was 15.

    I find it hard to believe Rep. Johnson is worried about the emotional well-being of Wilson and his family, given that he wants him to remain in prison for 10 years.

  14. Aside from the stupidty of the original law, the real issues people should be looking at is the danager that mandatory min. sentences creat. If the original trial judge had the discretion to set a reasonble punishment after looking at all the facts we wouldn’t be here today.

  15. EF,

    The article you presented from Johnson, suggest exactly what this BLOG started with. The prosecutor is being an ASS. He’s not following one … He is an ASS. This case will be overturned in October. This boy should NOT accept a plea. He DID NOT RAPE that GIRL. Women should be OUTRAGED…over the fact that this is CALLED RAPE

  16. If he was acquitted of rape, then this:

    A young girl charged them with rape. The police arrested them. A district attorney chose to prosecute them. A grand jury decided to indict them. And a jury convicted them.

    … is dishonest at best.

  17. as i read it, there were two girls, one 17 yr that was the one the charged rape took place against, then there was the 15 yr old who gave the oral sex – still since he was acquited of the rape he shouldn’t have that issues taken aginst him when sentence for the other “crime”

  18. “People are judging this case based on 60-second news clips instead of watching the video, reading the court transcripts, and trusting the jury system. Georgia’s laws are designed to protect minors from sexual predators. Genarlow and his buddies violated the law. A young girl charged them with rape. The police arrested them. A district attorney chose to prosecute them. A grand jury decided to indict them. And a jury convicted them.”

    Uh, could this be any more dishonest? Yes, Genarlow was charged with rape – and acquitted. The DA decided he knew better and got him ten years on a technicality using a law designed to stop child molesters.

    Genarlow may well have been guilty of rape, but a jury of his peers (who, it doesn’t hurt to point out, have actually seen the tape in question) didn’t think so, and it’s not the DA’s place to punish him for it anyway.

  19. “There were six men with 40 prior arrests among them….”

    Is it just my imagination, or is this utterly irrelevant?

  20. also, if the jury saw the video of Genarlow and the girl, aren’t they all guilty of viewing child pornography?

  21. EF: Mr. Johnson’s argument underscores why liberty is under a very great threat in this country. Essentially, it comes down to this: “Well, the Constitution and that whole ‘guilt beyond a reasonable doubt’ standard are keeping us from putting criminals behind bars, so let’s create a bunch of foot fault laws with draconian punishments that allow the prosecutors the freedom to go after the bad guys.” There are countless “gotcha” laws on the books, for which many, many people could be convicted, but aren’t because no prosecutor has identified them as a “bad guy”. At least, not yet…

  22. It’s best that the discretion GOES away. If JUSTICE is truly BLIND, then MAKE ALL CRIMES PUNISHABLE…not to the discretion of the DA. MAKE ALL CRIMES with MINIMUM SENTENCES.

    Draconian law is a GOOD THING. Perhaps if PRISON was Modeled after Auswitz…and not a college DORM … people woould stay in line.

  23. Roz, you look really hot in that leather trenchcoat. What a cool little swirly symbol on teh arm!

  24. Guess this case is a little more complex than a couple of teenagers fooling around. Maybe I came late to the party and missed something but it seems like I may have missed the gist of the entire story. That may well be my fault. Then again it may not be.

  25. Draconian law is a GOOD THING

    Paradoxically, in a way it was, though at great human expense. Draco made all infractions capital offenses, prompting reasonable juries to acquit all defendants. IIRC.

  26. If everyone who commits this crime is so evil, how come the Georgia legislature just changed the law to make it a lesser offense? After all, if he had had vaginal sex with her it would only have been a misdemeanor. Until recently in Georgia it was illegal for a husband and wife to have oral sex.

  27. This article by Johnson is pure crap. The outcry about this case is about the punishment, not the fact that these kids (all of them) engadged in less than admirable behavior. The punishment was clearly disporportionate (if I spelled that right) to the crime. Nobody is saying he is a choir boy, but he doesn’t deserve ten years.

  28. I dont blame the DA for having a vendetta against this particular kid. Most 17 year old boys would never have participated in this kind of activity.

    This is a very long sentence for acting his age.

  29. This is absurd. They amended the original law he was convicted under, but can’t make his sentence retro active. He should be released immediately. I understand they want to be careful about precident, but this is nonsense. He should be ashamed of himself. Yes, the young man didn’t behave in a manor that is PG, but certainly was acting as many teens do today. Is it appropriate? I don’t think it is, but not anything he should have gotten prison time over. If it was my daughter, I would be upset she put herself in that sort of environment; but again, not worth a jail sentence.

    The legal system in the US is out of control. No one has faith it in anymore. Too many overly harsh sentences for some and too lax for others. Money overcomes all to boot. How long can we continue?


  31. Okay, now this Wilson dude rape charge was dismissed. So, what does that mean?

    It means that he is in jail for just having consensual sex with another teenager.

    We are a society of barbaric people if we keep this guy in jail any longer.

    Shame on anyone who thinks otherwise. Whatever the case was, how the story went, the bottom line was: He was convicted of having sex with another teenager.

    He didn’t rape anyone. He didn’t kill anyone. Give the guy his freedom back. He has been punished too harshly.

  32. judy meltzer, what world do you live in?? “Most 17 year old boys would never have participated in this kind of activity.”???
    i’m 40 years old and 17 year old boys have been participating in this kind of activity long before i was 17!

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