I came acrross this story the other day, basically if you don’t feel like clicking on the link it’s the story of a young man named Genarlow Wilson who was convicted of aggravated child molestation and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Now normally anyone who harms kids I am personally for taking them “Out in the backyard and shooting em” as a friend of mine used to say but this case in praticular requires a closer look.
For one Genarlow was 17 at the time of the incident and the “child’ in this case was 15. Not only did she testify that she consented to the oral copulation but that she had in fact initiated the sexual encounter. The second thing in this case that astounds me is that Genarlow was originally accused of rape by another young lady who on the night in question was with Genarlow and other teens partying, smoking weed and drinking booze. The rape charge was thrown out due to the existance of a video tape showing the second young lady willingly engaging in sex, but the oral copulation with the 15 year old was also caught on the tape. Because the oral copulation was caught on tape Genarlow ran into a weird arcane Georgia law where oral sex with a minor brings a harsher penalty then actual sexual penetration with a minor. Because of this law Genarlow at the age of 17 was given an 11 year sentence (10 in jail and 1 year probation) he also will be required to register as a sex offfender for the rest of his life. A little background on Genarlow, he was a track star and carried a 3.2 GPA in school, had never been in trouble with the law and respected his elders. Are these mitgating circumstances? Should Genarlow get the same punishement as a career sex offender who perpetrates his crime on say a 2 or 3 year old? Obviously someone in Georgia decided that this law was outdated as evidenced by the new bill put forth by some Senators.
Was Genarlow in the right? no obviously not but taking into account the age of the participants 10 years is outrageous to me. This is the inequality of law, the very fact that the law is unequal for whites, blacks, men,women, rich & poor is a problem I have begun to see more and more. A reasonable person would believe that Genarlow should have some repurcussions for his actions but taking a 17 year old teen who other then this transgression has been a model kid and throwing him in jail for 10 years not to mention the “Child molestor” tag is just not… well justice! And isn’t that what we all want in our judicial system, for it to be just and fair. If you are familiar with mandatory minimums you know that everyday across this great nation people are convicted and sentenced to prison regardless of their own praticular circumstances. Read some of the stories here on Families Against Mandatory Minimums, then once you have read up on some of their stories take a look at the Robert Durst story. A millionaire who was arrested and tried for a murder while suspected of another and walked, why you say maybe the fact that he was a millionaire and could afford lawyers had someting to do with it. Or the O.J. Simpson trial, or even the Robert Blake trial, all millionaires all aquited. I wont even begin to go into the death penalty debate, once I was a staunch supporter of the death penalty but the oppurtunity to look at many many cases and see that on the whole many people are sentenced to death who wholeheartedly deserve the ultimate punishment. But there are cases where innocent people are convicted, spend decades on death row just to be aquitted. How many innocent people have been executed? Is one innocent persons execution “just the price of doing business”?, Or is the execution of one innocent to much of a price to pay?, why are blacks and other people of color 10 times more likely to be given the death penalty then whites? I dont want to digress into an argument on race in the justice system. I just simply wanted to point out the “inequality of law” in our justice system something I think as citizens of this great nation we should be concerned about, and involved in asking the questions and finding the answers, for how can you have justice if justice is inequal?