For those of you logging on to see the normal Sunday blog post, I know the feeling of going through Football withdrawal. Try the NFL channel on cable. I thought the least we could do is leave the Wilson post up all weekend so as many people as possible can see this injustice.
A thoughtful reader left this comment:
2 white seton hall college students get 5 years prison for the death of 3 students from smoke inhalation due to a fire they set. A black honor student gets tens years in prison for [consensual oral sex] . what a country.
There will be a new post up tomorrow to start the week.
SHAME ON GEORGIA.
SHAME ON AMERICAN JUSTICE.
When he was 17 years old, Genarlow Wilson, a 17 year old African American teenager in Douglasvile Georgia, was receiving post cards from Colombia and Brown, wishing him luck on his SAT’s and hoping to recruit the football star to their University.
Now that he is 20 years old, Genarlow Wilson sits in a cell at a Georgia State Penitentiary, two years into a ten year minimum mandatory sentence for having oral sex with a 15 year old girl when he was 17.
During the criminal case, everyone, including the young woman and the prosecution agreed that the sex was consensual and requested and initiated by the young woman. At the time, in Georgia, it was a misdemeanor for teenagers less than three years apart to have intercourse, but a felony for the same teenagers to have oral sex.
Based on the publicity of the case, the Georgia legislature has sinced changed the law, but the legislature did not make it retroactive to Wilson’s case.
According to the 2000 US Census, there are about 18 million teenagers in the US.
One of every 3 girls has had sex by age 16 and 2 out of 3 by age 18. Two of 3 boys have had sex by age 18. [Source: National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy]
By our crude calculations, 7-10 million teenagers should be in that jail cell serving time with Wilson.
From the ESPN article about Wilson:
Two days later, in February 2005, Genarlow Wilson walked into a courtroom. Two charges already had been dropped, and it was clear from the first witness that the rape charge wouldn't stick either. The aggravated child molestation, though, was on tape.
Genarlow tried to defend himself against the assigned prosecutor, Eddie Barker.
"Sir," Wilson told him, "you don't even know me. I understand you're just doing your job, sure, but I mean, how would you feel if you were my age and you were put on the stand with these serious charges at this young age? I have a little sister. Why would I molest anyone, sir?"
I'm not on trial here, Mr. Wilson," Barker said. "You're the one who did these acts, not me."
The day before the trial was expected to end, in the last night he'd ever spend at his home, Wilson went to a church down the street and asked the preacher to pray with him. He awoke early the next morning. He knotted his tie carefully and went to the courthouse. The trial finished that afternoon, and the jury came back with "not guilty" on the rape but "guilty" on the aggravated child molestation.
He looked at the forewoman.
She was crying, seeming to understand they'd just undone a promising future. Indeed, when the jurors found out there was a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence, several were incensed.
The prosecution told them to write a letter, then moved on to the next case.
Wilson is a young man who was a local high school sports hero. He was going to college. He was going to play collegiate sports and get an education.
We don’t often quote the bible, but it seems apropos here:
“Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”
Prosecutors are supposed to wear the white hat in courts. Judges are supposed to stop injustices from occurring. Go read the ESPN article. Read the NY Times editorial. And then tell us whether this young man should be in prison until 2015?
When we read stories like this, we can’t help but cringe when some windbag politician or Judge waxes eloquent about the great American criminal justice system. So long as Prosecutors and Judges standby and let Genarlow Wilson serve his prison sentence, there is nothing so great about our justice system. What kind of society produces Neanderthals who would write such laws, and then see them enforced on the Genarlow Wilsons of the world?
For shame. For shame.
See You In Court.