Mom and Genarlow Wilson – Free Again!
He’s free! Genarlow Wilson was just 17 years old when committed the “crime” that obliterated what had been a promising future. Until then he was one of the good ones. Not perfect, mind you, but with a 3.2 GPA, solid credentials in high-school football and the admiration of his peers (he was homecoming king), well, Wilson was one black boy who was supposed to get through, despite the odds against him.
But then he committed the “crime,” the “crime” of being a young boy with raging hormones.: He had oral sex with a 15-year-old girl. Consensual oral sex. For that “crime,” Wilson was convicted of “child molestation” (by law wasn’t he a child, too?) and sent to a Georgia prison for 10 years without the prospect of parole, the mandatory sentence under state law.(FYI: The jury was not informed of the mandatory sentence until after it rendered its verdict.)
Now, what homie did was dumb. If I’d been the girls daddy, well, never mind. Dumb. But ten years?!
The conviction prompted outcries from many sources, including the sports media – which did so even though Wilson was not a superstar. A solid defensive back, he was getting interest from some schools but not college powerhouses. ESPN.COM wrote a particularly compelling piece called “Outrageous Injustice.”
In 2006, the law was changed to a misdemeanor with a maximum one-year sentence. Yet the law was also specifically designed NOT to be retroactive – thank you, Georgia – and Wilson continued to live being the barbed-wire fence of state custody.
Today, the injustice was finally undone. The George Supreme court ruled Wilson’s sentence was grossly disproportionate” to the “crime” committed, and ordered him released. He was freed this afternoon. Hallelujah. Although Wilson is now 21, perhaps he can regain the track that was ripped from beneath him by an unjust court. maybe he’ll go to college. Maybe he’ll even play ball. But more than anything, now he has a chance again. A chance that should have never been taken away.
But here’s something scary. The Supreme Court vote was 4-to-3. That three members of the George Supreme Court would have kept Genarlow Wilson behind bars – even after the law that sent him away was changed – is truly frightening. Thank you, Georgia.