Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Genarlow Wilson goes back to court

Posted By on Wed, Jun 6, 2007 at 3:58 PM

A Douglas County teen who was convicted of aggravated child molestation -- for having consensual oral sex when he was 17 with a 15-year-old girl -- goes to court today to try to get his conviction dismissed.

Genarlow Wilson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that his 10-year prison sentence without parole is too harsh for a poor decision he made as a teen. "Just being a teenager, you know, you got to make a lot of mistakes but you have to learn from them," he said. "I don't feel like one mistake should cost me ten years in prison and a lifetime on the sex offender registry. I want to be able to go to school and have kids."

Wilson's case has nabbed national headlines and caught the attention of state lawmakers. In 2005 the General Assembly changed the "Romeo and Juliet" law to make consensual sex between two teens close in age a misdemeanor. And former President Jimmy Carter wrote a letter to Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker and called Wilson's punishment of "disproportionate nature."

It's even caught the attention of hundreds of college students. On Facebook, a popular social-networking website, 3,791 individuals have joined a group called "Why is Genarlow Wilson in prison?" Here are a couple of posts from people in the group:

This is ridiculous. I am from North Carolina and the Duke lacross case just ended. Wow the Georgia judicial system needs to take a look at that case. There are so many parallels this guy is abviously inocent. Georgia needs to learn the phrase "spirit of the law".

The D.A. is in between a rock and a hard place. Had he not sought a conviction he would've been accussed of not prosecuting black on black allegations of sexual abuse as severely. With that being said, let's not cast aspersions upon Genarlow. These young women were just as culpable in this case as were the young men. They whole episode smacks of idioticy and bad judgement. The kid made a mistake, one that many people older than he was at the time make, which is mixing alcohol, sex, young women, and liquor. Nothing good ever comes out of those scenarios.

The Genarlow Wilson case demonstrates just how bad a situation can get when judicial discretion is removed and bad laws which fail to account for the situation take its place. Sonny Perdue should have this on his conscience for the rest of his life if he fails to issue a full pardon.

It'll be interesting to see how Wilson's request plays out.

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