Marion Brothers

Marion Brothers

Friday, October 26, 2007

FREE AT LAST: Genarlow Wilson

Praise the Lord and Hallelujah! Genarlow Wilson is free. And the scoop has not yet been posted on Genarlow’s blogsite.

Remember the 17-year old black kid in Georgia who was sentenced to 10 years for having consensual sex with a 15-year old girl? Just as some people were backing off supporting the Wilson’s case, asserting that the videotaping of the sex act may constitute “child pornography”, the Georgia’s Supreme Court saw it differently. In a 4-3 split decision, the Court ruled that Wilson’s 10-year prison sentence was “cruel and unusual punishment”. The Court ordered him released.

According to ABC News report: Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears wrote in the majority opinion that the changes in the law "represent a seismic shift in the legislature's view of the gravity of oral sex between two willing teenage participants…” that Wilson's crime did not rise to the “level of adults who prey on children.”

Wilson, who is now 21, was convicted of “aggravated child molestation” following a 2003 New Year's Eve party at a Douglas County hotel room where he was videotaped having oral sex with a 15-year-old girl. The 1995 Georgia law under which he was convicted was changed in 2006 making oral sex between teens close in age a misdemeanor. At that point, Genarlow Wilson should have been set free. But the new law could not be applied retroactively.

Even when, on July 13, 2007, Monroe County Superior Court Judge Thomas Wilson ordered Wilson’s release, calling the sentence a “miscarriage of justice”, Attorney General Thurbert E. Baker, an African-American, blocked the release by appealing to the higher court. Incensed by Genarlow’s original sentence, Judge Wilson had declared: “If this court, or any court, cannot recognize the injustice of what has occurred here, then our court system has lost sight of the goal our judicial system has always strived to accomplish… justice being served in a fair and equal manner.”

The case was brought to national attention when Jeremy Redmon of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported a prayer vigil trying to win the black youth’s freedom, led by Rev. Joseph Lowery, former president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. (June 28).

In September, presidential candidate Barack Obama said: "Going forward, we have to fix our criminal justice system. Whether it’s Jena 6 or Genarlow Wilson, it’s long past time for us to admit that we have more work to do to ensure that our criminal justice system is fair…”

In an article dated June 29 entitled “Can We Save a Black Boy”, Eddie Griffin wrote: The only way to save a black boy is one child at a time. Today, it is Genarlow Wilson, The Jena Six, and Memory of Ron Pettiway.

Lord, help us. See how much time and energy it takes to try and save one black boy at a time. There must be a more expedient way.


  1. Eddie, Great work! I;m so glad you and other Afrospear members worked on this case, Let's not forget about our little sister in WV - Megan Williams.

    Thanks Eddie


  2. Job well done, our work still far from over....

  3. I could only wish they'd somehow compensate this young man. His youth was literally stolen from him because of consensual sex. However, in his adulthood, I hope he realizes the importance of respecting a woman. As a young woman should also respect herself.

    As our young men and women are taken from the system designed to entrap them, I can't help but yearn that there are strong African American mentors out there to assist these young people and help them walk through the narrow gate so that they in return will be able to be role models for others around them.

    Our black community whether low or middle income needs to return to the state we were before they stole our souls. We need to support one another and become a voice for those who cannot speak for themselves.

    I am so proud of the Afrospear movement, and through it, I see new movements taking up to fight the cause. It reminds me of prophesy being fulfilled.

  4. I realize the work ahead of us. But something very important came out of this case: The fact that exaggerated charges and excessive sentences constitute "cruel and unusual punishment". This is the starting point for the next level of the fight.

    aka lynn, we started almost 3 years ago looking at Re-entry strategies to help ex-offenders reintegrate into society. There are some psychological barriers also to be addressed, such as "arrested development" (where the mind stops the clock at the point of incarceration and tries to pick back up once released... like stepping out into the future... Future Shock)