Friday, October 26, 2007

A (GA) Dream Deferred has learned from AP reports of the suspension of Genarlow Wilson's prison sentence by the Georgia Supreme Court. The 4-3 decision ruled that Wilson, now 21, received a "cruel and unusual" sentence following his guilty conviction of aggravated child molestation. The charge stems from a New Year's Eve party in Douglas County, GA, where Wilson, then 17, had oral sex with a 15-year old girl in a hotel room. He was found innocent of rape charges from the same night, but upon a 17-year old girl instead. For his conviction, Wilson received ten years in prison.

No wonder why Black Americans are so cynical towards the criminal justice system. I challenge anyone to go out and find a case as egregious, that occurred in an, at least, upper middle-class neighborhood. And be sure that the defendant is white, so that I know there is at least some attempt at parody regarding dumb laws.

It's the whole crack-powder thing, not that any one should be tolerated. But charging people with crack cocaine as though they committed a more wantonly offense as compared to distributors of powder cocaine is asinine. How many FARC guerrillas earn payments from those crack deals? Hell, you need cocaine just to make crack, and this would be oblivious to anyone reviewing the federal sentencing guidelines regarding the two substances.

This isn't about drugs or the age threshold for oral sex. It's about justice, or the lack thereof. At the time of his conviction, Genarlow Wilson was the homecoming king of his high school and a star football and track athlete, no doubt on his way to college. What he did is every parent's nightmare, but we all know how these circumstances can arise. Too much alcohol, too much weed. Maybe just finding an excuse to be irresponsible, say, New Year's Eve, for instance. Reckless, sure. But nowhere near the ten year sentence he received. What of his lost time, the two years he did with murderers, rapists, and the like? Will the GA Supreme Court give that back to him? What of his record? Will he have to explain this story all over again to a hiring manager? All questions young, Black men are too familiar, as they deal with life in a country that seemingly still prefers not to want them.

No comments: