Friday, October 26, 2007

Finally, Genarlow Wilson Freed

Finally, the Georgia Supreme Court has corrected a grave miscarriage of justice and freed Genarlow Wilson. Wilson spent two years in jail and was sentenced to ten for having consensual oral sex with a fifteen-year-old girl when he was 17. Wilson, an honour student and football standout, was sentenced to ten years in jail despite the fact the girl repeatedly insisted the oral sex was consensual, because she was below the legal age of consent. In a bizarre pecularity, if Wilson and the girl had engaged in sexual intercourse, it would have been treated as a misdemeanor and not a felony, but oral sex was left out of the statute. Instead, Wilson was sentenced under a felony law after he refused a plea bargain offer that would have sentenced him to five years in jail with the possibility of parole, because Wilson believed he was right and because a plea bargain would have required him to register as a sex offender and would have prohibited him from living at home again, as he had an eight-year-old sister.

The Georgia Legislature changed the law after publicity began to generate around Wilson's case, but they refused to apply it retroactively and specified that fact in the bill. Finally, Georgia has corrected this miscarriage of justice and hopefully Wilson will be able to resume a relatively normal life. There have been several good summaries of the case in the media, but here are two brief NY Times editorials on the case, both demanding Wilson's freedom. Here is the Times on the Georgia Supreme Court freeing Wilson.


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