Saturday, October 27, 2007

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Genarlow Wilson, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for getting a consensual blowjob from a 15 year old girl when he was 17, and would have been listed on a sex offender registry for life, was released from prison on Friday. He had already served two years of the original 10 year sentence.

The Georgia Supreme Court ordered that he be released, ruling 4-3 that his sentence was cruel and unusual punishment. The court noted that this kind of decision is unusual: "The majority opinion points out that this court rarely overturns a sentence on cruel and unusual grounds. But twice before, it did so following a legislative change."

The judge reduced the sentence to one year and said Wilson should not be put on Georgia's sex offender registry, as the old law required. Genarlow had earlier rejected a plea offer that would have left this requirement in place in exchange for his release. "I'm glad I stayed down for my cause," Wilson said. "I accepted the situation that I got myself into, but I never accepted that label."

After spending some time with his friends and family, Wilson intends to enroll in college to study sociology. "You will not be disappointed," he said after his release. "I plan on succeeding in life."

For once, the justice system gets it right and corrects an earlier injustice.

I wish him every success in life as he gets on with his life as a free man.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

People seem to forget the Genarlow Wilson case involved six males and two girls. One of the two girls, a 17-year-old, claimed she was raped. The evidence included an amateur videotape showing Wilson engaging in sex with the 17-year-old and then being offered and receiving consensual oral sex from the 15-year-old girl. According to press reports, the 17-year-old looks sleepy or intoxicated in the video, but never asks Wilson to stop. Waking up naked and disoriented the next morning, the 17-year-old claimed to have been raped.

Five of the six males involved accepted plea bargains and pled guilty to raping the 17-year-old and to consensual oral sex with the 15-year-old. Wilson was the only one who decided to take his chances in court. A jury acquitted Wilson of raping the older girl, but convicted him of aggravated child molestation against the 15-year-old. They had no other choice, since the 15-year-old girl was under the age of consent.

Wilson is scheduled to go on CNN to tell about his quest for justice. Wonder if they will show the video? Making videotape of 15-year-old girls engaged in sex violates child pornography laws, but these laws, it seems, are based on outdated moral values. CNN could just edit out the raped 17-year-old, but would have to get permission from the 15-year-old parents. This shouldn't be a problem. What modern-tinking parentswould object to a group of males getting their daughter drunk and viedotaping her performing oral sex?

Lindsay Nicole said...

seems like portions of the video had been aired here in atlanta on various newstations. possibly even a year ago. i just tried to find it online so i could post a link, but was unsuccessful. all images blurred...