GENARLOW WILSON IS FREE: WAS HIS SENTENCE TOO HARSH?
On Friday afternoon, just hours after the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that his sentence amounted to cruel and unusual punishment, Genarlow Wilson was released from prison.
In 2005, Genarlow Wilson, a 17-year-old star athlete and top student, was convicted of aggravated child molestation for having consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old classmate. The NAACP has been involved in the Wilson case since 2003, when the youth was initially charged with rape, working with both the Georgia legislature and the judicial system to free Genarlow.
He had been incarcerated for almost three years of a ten-year sentence, even though only months after his conviction, a “Romeo and Juliet” law was passed that would have had a maximum allowable sentence of 12 months. Genarlow remained incarcerated until Friday in spite of June decision by a Monroe County Superior Court judge to void the original sentence on constitutional grounds and reduce it to one year.
Cases like Genarlow Wilson, Marcus Dixon, and the Jena 6 highlight the rampant discrimination against African-American youth that exists in our criminal justice system. The NAACP is committed to doing whatever is necessary to see justice served in these cases and the hundreds of others, as well as working to reform the judicial system so that our youth are afforded the dignity, respect and equal treatment they deserve under the law.
Interim President & CEO