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Date posted:08/02/2007

Should Genarlow Wilson be freed?

by Daryal Bond


Genarlow Wilson, a 17 year old boy was put in jail for having consensual sex with a 15 year old girl. He was convicted of aggravated child molestion in 2005 according to Georgia law and could face the possiblity of eight more years. The 15 year old girl moved on since the incident and her mother has even joined other campaign forces supporting Wilson freedom. The 1995 Child Protection Act also wants Genarlow Wilson freed. Just when it seemed that the justice would win in his case the lower courts and the prosecutor have thrown in as many delays as the could to keep him in custody. The Georgia Supreme Court mentioned that it would consider his case in October, months after a judge decided to reduce his chage to a misdemeanor and free Genarlow. For a little while it seemed that things would go in his favor but the attorney general Thurbert E. Baker, filed an appeal and the court refused to free Wilson on bond which then sent him back to prison.

The thing that shocked people the most was the law for this kind of situation was changed last year and the most anyone could get for this type of crime is a year in prison but the Georgia Legislature refused to make the change in Genarlow Wilson’s case. The attorney general has an open letter case on his website. (http://www.state.ga.us/ago/pdfs/TEB_Letter_for_Website.pdf) and he even qoted that the 10 year sentence “is harsh” but that his is stumped because of the old law. The National Action Network lead by the Rev. Al Sharpton has put pressure on the court system as well as the NAACP’s ministers and civil rights leaders who also includes the Rev. Joseph Lowery of the SCLC and the Rev. Raphael Warnock of the Ebenezer Baptist Church. The Georgia Supreme Court has made the decision to hold a hearing on Genarlow’s case on July 20 unfortunatley 3 months earlier than it was supposed to be held. Warnock says “I think it is naive to assume judges operate in a social and political vacuum.”

He is called upon the governor to present to the legislature that they must craft a bill that would eventually end in Geanrlow being released however the governor shows no remoarse or interest in setting him free.
A court house rally was led by Rev. Sharpton and may others on July 5, and another was held that Saturday by the NAACP. The rally will start at Douglas County High School in Douglasville, Ga and end outside the courthouse where Genarlow had his conviction. Sharpton’s strategy for gaining the victory of freeing Wilson quotes “continued pressure works.” He also says that without sustained public outrage, Wilson could languish in jail for years to come.


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