Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Georgia State Senator Blocks Bill That Would Free Genarlow Wilson

For extra credit, readers, guess the race of GOP Senate President Pro Tempore Eric Johnson (R-District 1). He is the politician who blocked consideration of the bill which would free Genarlow Wilson and hundreds of others convicted of statutory rape and given mandatory 10-year sentences for consensual sex. Answer (& picture) below.

Karen Russell, HuffPo: GOP Rep. Blocks Bill To Free Genarlow Wilson

Yesterday GOP lawmaker Eric Johnson wrote an op-ed criticizing the bill after he originally supported the bill:

Usually, society complains about sentences that are perceived as too soft. Granted, this sentence was harsh. But it was MANDATORY under the law. Life comes with accountability for our decisions. Genarlow Wilson could have selected different friends to hang with. He could have joined millions of law-abiding teens all over the country enjoying New Years' Eve without alcohol, drugs and sex. He could have left the hotel when "the fun" started. He didn't. He made a choice. Now his life has changed forever. That is sad. I hope other young men and girls will learn from this tragedy and avoid his errors.

Johnson admits the sentence his harsh and tragic, yet he remains willing to throw this young man's life away. As Johnson himself says, "life comes with accountability for our decisions". I say we hold Johnson accountable for his decision to continue this injustice. The Georgia legislature and its flip-flopping leader Johnson must be held accountable for this tragedy. The bill should be placed back on the agenda and Georgians should have the chance to correct this gross miscarriage of justice.

NYTimes: Bill to Aid Georgian Convicted of Sex Crime Stalls in Assembly

ATLANTA, Feb. 19 — The second piece of legislation introduced with the intent of helping Genarlow Wilson, a former honor student and star athlete who is serving a 10-year prison sentence for having oral sex with a 15-year-old classmate, may be in trouble in the Georgia General Assembly.

Senator Emanuel D. Jones, a Democrat, sponsored the legislation, which would make it possible for judges to reconsider the cases of hundreds of young adults, including Mr. Wilson, who are serving long mandatory minimum sentences in prison for having consensual sex with teenage minors. Mr. Jones said the bill was mysteriously left off the agenda of the Senate Judiciary Committee last week.

And on Monday, the Senate’s leader, Eric Johnson, publicly denounced the bill and said that although Mr. Wilson, now 20, was serving a harsh sentence, he deserved no leniency.

Genarlow Wilson Online Petition

Question Answer: Georgia State Senate Leadership

Unsurprisingly, he's white.

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