Monday, June 11, 2007

Genarlow Wilson Freed - Justice Served?

A judge has ordered that Genarlow Wilson be freed from prison, where he has spent more than two years for receiving consensual oral sex from a 15-year-old girl when he was 17.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Monroe County Superior Court Judge Thomas Wilson also amended Wilson's felony conviction this morning to a misdemeanor without the requirement that he register as a sex offender.

Read the entire article here.

If you are not up on Georgia state politics, the 17-year-old Genarlow Wilson starred in a profanity-laced and sexually charged video with a number of other boys; the video in question showed him having sexual intercourse with a 17-year-old girl and receiving oral sex from a 15-year-old girl. Apparently, he was not the only boy present at the New Years Eve Party in an Atlanta area motel who was caught on tape: four other boys at the party pleaded guilty to child molestation of the 15-year-old and sexual battery of the 17-year-old, and a fifth boy pleaded guilty to false imprisonment. Genarlow was the only one of the six who did not take a plea agreement.

He was found "not guilty" of the rape allegation that was brought forward by the 17-year-old girl. And even though it was determined that the oral sex with the 15-year-old girl was consensual, he was found guilty of a felony under the Child Protection Act of 1995 (because of the backwardness of the law, if he had regular sex with the girl, he could've been convicted of a crime that carried a much shorter sentence). He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and would be registered as a sex offender by the state upon his release.

Genarlow was the homecoming king and an honor roll student at his high school in suburban Atlanta; he was entertaining a number of offers to play college football. All of that went down the drain when he donned that prison uniform.

Story Update (June 12, 2007): Georgia State Attorney General Thurbert Baker has appealed the judges decision to release Genarlow Wilson. As a result of the appeal, the young man will remain in jail until the appeal is adjudicated.

Read the entire letter from the Attorney General to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution here.

plez sez: I do take issue with the law; it was a miscarriage of justice to charge this boy with such a heinous crime. The punishment far exceeded the crime and this poor boy has lost over 2 years of his life for nothing. But then again, the State of Georgia does tend to enact laws that are archaic and crazy... your best bet is to steer clear of the judicial system in this state!

Which brings me to my next point: boys will be boys, right?!? Obviously, these boys' judgement was clouded by alcohol, and an easy lay with 2 willing (and albeit drunk) participants... right?!?

Hmmmm... not so fast! I used to be 17 years old. I used to have fun with my friends when I was in high school. I was a red-blooded American boy who would've taken the opportunity to have consensual sex with my girlfriend. But even with hindsight of over 35 years, I think I would've found this "scene" to be repugnant. I just tend to think that I raised to treat women and girls alittle better than that... for Christ sakes, doesn't he have a mother? A sister? Female cousins?

I happen to have a 5 year old daughter, and I shudder to think that in a short 10 years, my daughter would find herself in such a sleazy situation. I hope that my wife and I are providing a model by which she will tend to shun those elements of society who would gravitate to such sleazy and disrespectful behavior. I would hope the her male friends would have a lot more respect for women than to plan, implement, and videotape a gangbang!

I was tempted to blog about this episode a few months ago after reading the article in the New York Times and seeing the CNN Reports story (see the accompanying video) about the Genarlow Wilson case; I was outraged that this young man was behind bars for "consensual sexual relations with a minor." But after the onion was peeled and more of the truth was revealed, I'm afraid that I'm just not as outraged as I once was. And I can't say that I would be very upset if he (and his crew) had to spend alittle more time in jail.

Unfortunately, this is a criminal thing wrapped up in a moral thing: criminally, Genarlow was wrongly imprisoned for the past 2 years; morally, he wasn't in prison long enough!


Andrew The Asshole said...

everyone has a story on this on their blog but I'm wondering what happen to the female? Her trifflin ass got old boy locked up

CapCity said...

technically, the boy will be morally imprisoned for years if he doesn't wake up & realize there's more to life than a blow job...i shudder often when i listen to many of the lyrics today (rap & rock)...most of us were curious & experimented, but DANGGGGG - don't people have a line in their OWN heads that say: Do NOT go BEYOND...I'm glad I was a nerd/late bloomer!

the saddest thing is kids today are being TREATED like adult CRIMINALS when their PARENTS need to be pulling the time for LACK of parenting!!!

Bygbaby said...

I just read that the prosecutor has filed an appeal to have the judge's verdict overturned. In the meantime, homeboy will have to stay locked up until the appeal is settled & who knows how long that could take.

I think the sentence was way to harsh n if ands or buts.


Lori said...

Hmm... "a criminal thing wrapped up in a moral thing..." Lots of food for thought wrappped up in that statement. Thanks for daring to go there.

LLR said...

But after the onion was peeled and more of the truth was revealed, I'm afraid that I'm just not as outraged as I once was. And I can't say that I would be very upset if he (and his crew) had to spend alittle more time in jail.
Weren’t there drugs involved? I read an article that said that they were drinking Bourbon and smoking marijuana. Didn’t they videotape the incident?

I have a year old daughter and the safest place for this guy would be in jail in my book.

But I am also speaking from emotion rather than logic. The guy broke several laws that night. I am sure that he may not have been aware of the law, but don’t videotape any stuff like that.

Mizrepresent said...

Well he haven't learned anything in these 2 years, i hope he has learned to be smarter and not participate in such activities...but this is the way our young boys and girls mind right now....girls are giving guys blowjobs on school buses, Middle School....banging teams, basketball, football, High School...taking naked pics of themselves and shooting them off friends via a cellphone....these are not made up stories, all true...where are the parents, right there in the house. I'm sure this boy has good parents, the problem is good parents need to be attentive parents, communicating parents, and not just think my boy, my girl won't do this, but talk to them about it now. Tell them, YOU WILL NOT DO THIS, or yo azz is going to jail. But in the end, i do hope his sentence is overturned.

David Sullivan said...

In Massachusetts we have a law that you have to be 21 before you can participate in a gangbang. I think in California you can be in a gangbang if your 18(16 if you have a note from a parent).

All kidding aside, its a sad state of affairs for everyone involved.

Eddie G. Griffin said...

Consensual sex between minors is a sin, not a crime. We have a growing number of sex offenders who must register for the rest of their lives because they had underage girlfriends. I know of no other country that criminalizes consensual sexual behavior between youth.

Under Jim Crow law, it was a crime for a black man to look into a white man's eyes (Insolent Stares) and a crime to look at a white woman in a "desirous way" (Reckless Eyeballing). Just because the law is the law doesn't necessarily mean that the law is just.

Some people cannot see the disparity in the prosecution of the law. Wherein, someone pointed out, white kids engaged in the same behavior are never prosecuted.

Sure, if it were my daughter video taped in a gangbang affair, I would want to throw the culprit under the jail. In fact, the first boy who brought my daughter home after the midnight curfew- I took his car keys and threatened to lock him in the trunk and call his parents to come get him out. Would that have been justice?

We must not get blindsided by the repulsiveness of the act, but stay focused on the law and what is the just consequence for certain "illegal" action. The punishment here far exceeds the crime... but when it comes to African-Americans and justice, there is no punishment that exceeds the crime... which is why we see cases of young black men being shot down in the streets by the cops... or the Jena Six facing up to 100 years for a "second degree attempted murder" for simple assault... or Shaquanda Cotton receiving up to 7 years for pushing a hall monitor... or an unarmed Ron Pettaway being shot in the back of the head by cops. When it comes to blacks, does the extent of punishment really matter, or is it as arbitrary as it appears?

Jay said...

I think it's really fascinating that teenagers in the country can commit so many different crimes and felonies and do such terrible acts and have their records cleared the day they turn 18 or 21. Except have sex!

The ten years was an outrage. He was acquitted of the rape, but he was still sentenced for it.

Anali said...

I think you summarized the situation very well with "this is a criminal thing wrapped up in a moral thing." I hope that all these kids involved will think seriously about their behavior now.

Rachel's Tavern said...

I think it's time we stop saying boys will be boys. That has really become an excuse to allow our young men to do poorly in school and to entangle themselves with the criminal justice system.

That said, the punishment in this case didn't fit the crime he was convicted of. However, I'm now hearing some people saying he was lucky to get off on the rape charge because the girl appeared to be unconcious (which is rape in my book, but apparently not rape in the jury's book). I have not seen the video, but I am having a hard time defending this young man because that whole video situation is really sleezy and sad.