Dazzling Knowledge

Friday, October 26, 2007

Justice for Genarlow?

He is not white, nor rich, nor a lacrosse player, but Genarlow Wilson may still catch a break from the Southern U.S. legal system. Because he was caught on videotape in 2003 receiving consensual oral sex from a 15-year-old girl -- while 17 years old himself at the time --, Wilson was found guilty of violating the state of Georgia's child molestation laws. He has served four years of a 10-year sentence.

Today in a majority decision, the Georgia Supreme Court ordered Wilson's release. The law regarding criminal penalties for the 1995 statute Wilson had violated was changed in 2006, rendering the act of sexual contact between teens close in age to be treated as a misdemeanor instead of a felony.

The appeal heard by the Supreme Court called for reducing Wilson's sentence from 10 years -- which the judge filing the appeal called a "grave miscarriage of justice" -- to 12 months, which would mean Wilson's time had long since been served, and he could leave prison immediately. The dissenting opinion in today's decision stated that the change in penalty could not be applied retroactively in Wilson's case.

Nonetheless, the court has rendered its decision, and Wilson should be freed soon, pending an appeal by prosecuting attorneys -- which at this point would seem like a petty, vindictive and ultimately pointless move.

Ga court: Release man jailed in sex case [Yahoo! News]
Wilson v. State of Georgia [Wikipedia]
Outrageous Injustice [ESPN]

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