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Offline zuluwarrior

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INJUSTICE IN GEORGIA
« on: September 22, 2007, 10:34:55 PM »
Injustice In Georgia: The Case of Genarlow Wilson, Part 2
About Poll
Should Teenage Oral Sex Be Illegal?
 Yes, a felony. Period.
 Yes, a misdemeanor. Period.
 A felony if it's forced (not consensual).
 A misdemeanor if it's forced (not consensual).
 No, it's a matter for parents.
 No opinion.

 
Current Results
In January, I wrote about Genarlow Wilson, a Georgia teenager and honor student who was sentenced to 10 years hard time for consensual oral sex with another teenager .... because Georgia law at that time defined his "crime" as a felony, aggravated child molestation.
Fast forward to June. Georgia, my home, remains an unjust state.

Last year, the state legislature tried to wipe the mud off of the state's collective face by changing the law that penalized Wilson. Today, if two teens have consenual oral sex, it's a misdemeanor, not a felony -- just like consensual intercourse. (Yes, it Georgia it was a bigger crime against society to engage in oral sex than in intercourse.) Maximum jail time: 1 year.

However, some of the mud remained. The law was not retroactive. There was no clause to provide relief for Wilson.

This year, a Republican demagogue -- Senate President pro tem Eric Johnson -- blocked a bill (SB 37, pdf) that would have given judges in the state the authority to revisit last year's law and apply it to Wilson. Adding insult to injury, the "leader" lied about Wilson in his floor speech.

This week, a Monroe County Superior Court Judge, Thomas Wilson (no relation), called Genarlow's punishment "a grave miscarriage of justice." He changed Genarlow's sentence to a 12-month misdemeanor with credit for time served (2+ years).

Judge Wilson wrote, "Genarlow Wilson has spent two years in prison for what is now classified as a misdemeanor, and without assistance from this Court, will spend eight more years in prison."

The Georgia attorney general immediately (90 minutes later) announced an appeal, which keeps Wilson locked away, saying that Wilson had "absolutely no authority to reduce or modify the judgment of the trial court."

Probably Right
I am not a lawyer, but the AG's office is probably right. Without the change in law that the Georgia legislature left hanging this session, the Monroe County judge probably did not have the legal authority to do what he did.

However, I applaud his action -- because it finally appears that someone with a modicum of power is acting on moral -- just -- grounds. Certainly, the district attorney who chose to prosecute the case two years ago didn't.

The Republican sponsor of the original legislation doesn't think this is "just", either: "The law was designed to protect kids against really, really bad people doing very bad things... It was never intended to put kids in jail for oral sex."

However, the Judge's action highlights another potential injustice: "Georgia prisons currently hold 189 inmates who were sentenced for aggravated child molestation when they were 21 or younger." How many of them, like Genarlow, are in prison because the legal definition for their crime didn't match the crime? The public doesn't know -- but perhaps the AG's office does, and doesn't want to deal with additional appeals for justice.

A Demagogue Knows All
The Judge's action cannot erase the damage done by Sen. Johnson, who lied about Genarlow on the floor of the state senate. From a CNN Transcript:

ERIC JOHNSON, GEORGIA STATE SENATOR: Mr. Wilson participated in multiple sexual acts with a minor while she was unconscious.

CNN CORRESPONDENT RICK SANCHEZ: Wrong. The girl was not unconscious. The senator also said she was raped. Thatís not even what the prosecutor thought.

So we called the senator and asked for an interview.

(on camera) Do you feel bad about the fact that you characterized this as a rape when you were talking yesterday in the Senate?

JOHNSON: No.

SANCHEZ: You donít have any problem with that?

JOHNSON: No.

SANCHEZ: Because it wasnít a rape.

JOHNSON: Itís a rape in my mind.

SANCHEZ (voice-over): Hereís what it was in the minds of the jurors. We know; we talked to them.

MARIE MANIGAULT, JURY FOREPERSON: When we viewed the tape, there was absolutely nothing in there that showed us that he in any way encouraged this person, even invited the person to come. Johnson sounds like several of my readers: he (and they) believes that his worldview/belief trumps the decision of the jury. See Thoughts On Justice and Punishment.

Unanswered questions:
If these minors were smoking marijuana, as news reports say, why were these "crimes" ignored in favor of a victimless one? Could it be because possession of less than one ounce of marijuana is only a misdemeanor and can be punished by a maximum of one year in jail and a fine?

If these minors were drinking alcohol, why didn't the law try punish the business or person that sold the alcohol to a minor? We can guess why the teens weren't charged: underage possession of alcohol only a misdemeanor and this DA seemed intent on pursuing felonies. But reportedly, "Alcohol sales to underage or intoxicated persons is a lucrative business and a serious problem in Atlanta." (Genarlow lived in an Atlanta suburb.) However, investigation of alcohol sales to minors seems to be a Department of Revenue function.

Please if anyone of you can find part one of this article please post it .
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good things happening to good people: a good thing
good things happening to bad people: a bad thing
bad things happening to good people: a bad thing
bad things happening to bad people: a good thing

Offline asylumseeker

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Re: INJUSTICE IN GEORGIA
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2007, 12:25:06 PM »

Offline zuluwarrior

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Re: INJUSTICE IN GEORGIA
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2007, 02:28:35 PM »
Ah wonderin what these racist  people going to  do next this is what they hate :afro: :afro: 
.
good things happening to good people: a good thing
good things happening to bad people: a bad thing
bad things happening to good people: a bad thing
bad things happening to bad people: a good thing

 

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