Genarlow Wilson

Finally, Justice for Genarlow Wilson!

Genarlow Wilson and attorney B.J. Bernstein


I can finally rejoice that Genarlow Wilson has been released from prison. I have never met him but he is my son. This young man has endured, survived and triumphed in a situation that would have crippled others. It was uplifting to see him hug his mother and sister as he exited prison today. From a mistake in judgment with friends, his life spiraled out of control and he faced 10 years in prison from allowing a 15 year-old girl perform oral sex on him when he was 17.

Unlike his friends, Genarlow refused to take a plea deal. He refused to allow himself to be labeled a child molester. He was willing to fight for his reputation. I am so proud of him.

The other occurrences around this case and the attempts to keep this young man incarcerated, right down to the scant majority vote by the Georgia Supreme Court is still quite disturbing.

The antiquated Georgia law was overturned but not made retroactive so Genarlow remained locked up. Even after a judge ordered him released, the State's lawyers still insisted he not be released.

Like it or not, Genarlow Wilson and his friends did what a lot of our little darlings are doing. We can be in denial if we'd like, it happened with Genarlow and it's still happening. Let's use this teachable moment to reach out to our young men and young women. There is too much to lose behind acts our children think are no big deal.

Genarlow can now get his life back on track. Justice has been served, somewhat. I have never met Genarlow Wilson but he is my son and I am proud of him.


Related Links:

Genarlow Wilson Freed (Video also)

Georgia Supreme Court Ruling

Now free, Wilson plans return to school and sports

Thurbert Baker must go. Free Genarlow Wilson!

Here's an op-ed piece from the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker his dubious application of the law. I don't know what's up with this guy but Georgians definitely need to make sure he doesn't hold office again.



Posted on Thu, Aug. 09, 2007

Can't have it both ways

An article in Tuesday's Fulton Daily Report about Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker and the Legislature's 2006 amendments to Georgia's sex offender law reminded me of an African proverb: His opinions are like water in the bottom of a canoe, going from side to side.

"The defense of Georgia's sex offender law has placed the state's attorney general in the awkward position of arguing to the state Supreme Court that the law cannot be applied retroactively, while arguing in a separate case in federal court that the law's retroactive provisions are legal," the Daily Report, a publication for lawyers, reported.

In the highly publicized case of Genarlow Wilson, Baker is seeking to uphold a 10-year sentence imposed on Wilson for having unforced oral sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was 17 years old. In June, Baker weighed in after a judge in Monroe County granted Wilson's civil habeas petition, the Daily Report reported:

"Citing a 2006 amendment to the sex offender law that reduces aggravated child molestation in some cases of consensual oral sex from a felony to a misdemeanor, Monroe County Superior Court Judge Thomas H. Wilson (no relation to Genarlow Wilson) reduced the now 21-year-old Wilson's felony sentence to a misdemeanor and ordered his release."

Baker appealed. He argued the judge didn't have the authority to apply the misdemeanor statute retroactively.

"Meanwhile, for the past year, Baker has been defending another of the 2006 amendments to the state sex offender law -- arguing that the Legislature had the authority to enact a new law that retroactively bars anyone on the state's sex offender registry from living, working or loitering within 1,000 feet of a school, bus stop or church," the Daily Report reported.

The fact that Baker offers different arguments about retroactive application of a law is revealing, said B.J. Bernstein, Wilson's lawyer, said in a telephone interview.

"That's the problem with saying, 'I'm just applying the law.' It shouldn't be about mechanical applications of law -- but about justice," she said. "The attorney general said he had to appeal Genarlow's case, yet in fact, he didn't have to appeal Genarlow's case. And he has personally said that he doesn't think what happened is correct. Yet he says he's compelled to do this. This article is revealing a different position."

Bernstein said she doesn't think the public gets upset when lawmakers or law enforcement factor in "doing the right thing." When laws conflict, the true duty is justice.

"I'll trust in the Supreme Court, but the truth is the attorney general could withdraw the appeal now. Still in Genarlow's case, there is no decision," she said.

Inspired by the Wilson case, Bernstein founded the My5th, a non-profit organization named for the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution. Bernstein takes her "Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse" program to high schools -- especially male students. For more information go to

Contact Kaffie Sledge at 706-571-8585 or

Obama calls for justice in teen sex case

Associated Press - August 4, 2007 10:24 PM ET

ATLANTA (AP) - Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said tonight that the jailing of a young man for ten years for having consensual sex with another teenager is an "injustice" when White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was pardoned from his prison sentence.

Speaking at an awards banquet for the Atlanta-based Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Obama said "How is it Scooter Libby isn't behind bars and we've got a young man in jail right now sentenced to ten years for something that isn't even a felony?"

He called for America to "turn the page" on a White House that would pardon Libby after he was convicted to two 1-year prison terms for lying and obstructing the investigation into the leak of a CIA operative's identity.

He also called for justice for young black men, like 21-year-old Genarlow Wilson, who was convicted of aggravated child molestation following a 2003 New Year's Eve Party at a Douglas County hotel room where he was shown on videotape having oral sex with a 15-year-old girl. He was 17 at the time.

Though his sentence was overturned by a judge who called it a "grave miscarriage of justice," Wilson is still in jail waiting for the state Supreme Court to hear the appeal of his case.

The long punishment has prompted angry protests and led the state last year to change the 1995 sentencing law used in his case. The new law makes it a misdemeanor rather than a felony for teens close in age to have oral sex, but the Supreme Court ruled the change could not be applied retroactively.

Sharpton to Join Protest of Genarlow Wilson Case

Douglas County, Georgia officials had better prepare for the Genarlow Wilson Case to go national with the heat brought by The Rev. Al Sharpton and his nationally-syndicated radio show. It's too bad Genarlow is not a friend of President Bush; perhaps he would have commuted his sentence or maybe even pardoned him. We know what the President did for friend, Scooter.

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For Genarlow Wilson, Shaquanda Cotton, Marcus Dixon and others: What Shall I Tell My Children Who Are Black

For the last two days I've had the privilege of participating in a retreat. It was job-related, very enlightening, informative and exhausting. My brain is somewhat fried from information overload and I will share some of the wonderful ideas, thoughts, movements, etc. that I took away from the activity.
The poem below was recited by one of the speakers and I'll definitely introduce you to her very soon. But, in light of all that is happening to Genarlow Wilson and happened to Shaquanda Cotton, Marcus Dixon and many others, this poem is very fitting...
What Shall I Tell My Children Who Are Black What shall I tell my children who are black Of what it means to be a captive in this dark skin? What shall I tell my dear one, fruit of my womb, of how beautiful they are when everywhere they turn they are faced with abhorrence of everything that is black. The night is black and so is the boogyman. Villains are black with black hearts. A black cow gives no milk. A black hen lays no eggs. Storm clouds, black, black is evil and evil is black and devil's food is black...

What shall I tell my dear ones raised in a white world
A place where white has been made to represent
all that is good and pure and fine and decent,
where clouds are white and dolls, and heaven
surely is a white, white place with angels
robed in white, and cotton candy and ice cream
and milk and ruffled Sunday dresses
and dream houses and long sleek cadillacs
and Angel's food is white... all, all... white.

What can I say therefore, when my child
Comes home in tears because a playmate
Has called him black, big lipped, flatnosed and nappy headed?
What will he think when I dry his tears and whisper,
"Yes, that's true. But no less beautiful and dear."
How shall I lift up his head, get him to square
his shoulders, look his adversaries in the eye,
confident in the knowledge of his worth.
Serene under his sable skin and proud of his own beauty?
What can I do to give him strength
That he may come through life's adversities
As a whole human being unwarped and human in a world
Of biased laws and inhuman practices, that he might
Survive. And survive he must! For who knows?
Perhaps this black child here bears the genius
To discover the cure for... cancer
Or to chart the course for exploration of the universe.
So, he must survive for the the good of all humanity.

He must and will survive.
I have drunk deeply of late from the fountain
of my black culture, sat at the knee of and learned
from mother Africa, discovered the truth of my heritage.
The truth, so often obscured and omitted.
And I find I have much to say to my black children.
I will lift up their heads in proud blackness
with the story of their fathers and their father's fathers.
And I shall take them into a way back time
of kings and queens who ruled the Nile,
and measured the stars and discovered the laws of mathematics.
I will tell them of a black people upon whose backs have been built
the wealth of three continents.
I will tell him this and more.
And knowledge of his heritage shall be his weapon and his armor;
It will make him strong enough to win any battle he may face.
And since this story is so often obscured,
I must sacrifice to find it for my children,
even as I sacrifice to feed, clothe and shelter them.
So this I will do for them if I love them.
None will do it for me.

I must find the truth of heritage for myself and pass it on to them.
In years to come, I believe because I have armed them with the truth,
my children and their children's children will venerate me.
For it is the truth that will make us free!

By Dr Margaret Burroughs (, the founder of
the DuSable Museum of African American History and Art in Chicago, IL,
the first Black museum in the United States

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Georgia Judge Declares Genarlow Wilson Ineligible for Bond; Georgia, Stop the Madness!

After businessmen raise $1 million for a bond, a Douglas County (Ga.) judge cancels a bond appeal hearing. It is obvious that the State of Georgia is hell bent on keeping one young man locked up for receiving oral sex from a 15 year-old when he was 17. For the life of me I don’t want to shout racism but what is the damn problem here?

Listen folks, you can be in denial if you want, but teenagers are engaging in oral sex and all sorts of behavior not condoned by parents or the law. That's what they hear in their music and see on televsion or at the movies. Guess what? The incarceration of Genarlow Wilson will not stop teenagers from having sex; they’ll just conceal it from the authorities for fear of being jailed.

Oh yeah, those same teenagers that will keep their sexual behavior a secret for fear of being jailed will likely spread and contract sexually-transmitted diseases because they haven’t gotten proper medical attention, because why? They don’t want to be jailed. Georgia, please turn on a light and come out of the dark ages.

Genarlow Wilson has served 28 months of a 10 year sentence that he does not deserve. He should not be required to register as a sex offender. The fact that his friends accepted a plea deal should not prevent Georgia law from doing the right thing for Genarlow. I don’t blame Genarlow or his attorney for declining those so-called plea deals offered by Douglas County DA David McDade. They are insulting to say the least. Besides, the longer Genarlow is in jail, the more Georgia’s reputation is damaged.

Just a few days away from a July 5 bond appeal hearing, Douglas County Judge David Emerson declared that Genarlow is ineligible for a bond. Give me a break; this situation is just inhumane. It’s time for some folk to put a spotlight on his situation and turn up the heat even more than before.

With serious issues that Georgia has to deal with, it’s incomprehensible that oral sex between two teenagers would result in such a waste of taxpayer resources. This case not only makes Georgia look like a racist, backwater State, it makes the USA look like backwater, knuckle-dragging hypocrites.

If Georgia AG Thurbert Baker, DA David McDade, Judge David Emerson and Gov. Sonny Perdue really want to apply the law equitably, Georgia should just lock up all of its teenagers guilty of engaging in oral sex under the age of consent. If honesty prevailed, there’d be few teenagers in school and most of them behind bars.

When all is said and done, I pray that Genarlow continues to stand on principle and doesn’t allow these men to break his spirit.

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FREE GENARLOW WILSON: $ 1 Million Can't Buy Freedom


Businessman, Whitney Tilson, founder and Managing Partner of T2 Partners LLC and the Tilson Mutual Funds, convinced 9 of his friends to join him in a contribution towards a $1,000,000 bond for the release of Genarlow Wilson. He was successful in his fundraising endeavor but Genarlow Wilson still remains behind bars.

Make no mistake that some Georgians applaud AG Thurbert Baker's handling of this situation while others criticize his staunch effort to keep Genarlow Wilson incarcerated. Baker has been accused of not exercising the same zeal in other situations. Whether that is true or not is beyond me as I did not know of Baker until the Genarlow Wilson case.

With that in mind, the focus on the bond issue should rest squarely with Douglas County DA David McDade, not AG Thurbert Baker. McDade can easily put this situation to rest but he chooses to offer B.J. Bernstein, Wilson's attorney, little consolation to compromise. It is in the State of Georgia's best interest to keep AG Baker in the spotlight to diffuse charges of racism. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see what's going on and it won't diminish the cries of racism either.

It's also important to note that Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue supports Baker's position. Perdue may prefer to watch from the sidelines but the media and Georgia voters should make sure that he does not avoid public scrutiny and/or outrage either.

Maybe it's just me but I still think that this entire situation could have been avoided early on in the case. In spite of the antiquated Georgia law under which Genarlow was convicted, judicial and law enforcement officials could have tried to salvage this young man's collegiate academic and athletic career potential. The mother of the victim has already proclaimed the sentence too harsh --- talk about overkill. Baker, McDade and Perdue also could have avoided another black eye against the State of Georgia; you'd think Georgia law enforcement would have learned after the Marcus Dixon case but I guess old habits die hard.

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Who is Genarlow Wilson and why should we care about him?

By now, you may have heard the story of Genarlow Wilson, a young man incarcerated in a Georgia prison for receiving oral sex from a 15 year-old girl. Genarlow was 17 when the incident occured. There was a video of the sordid shenanigans that took place in a motel room between Genarlow, his friends and several girls.

Although the female victim in this case was not forced to commit the act, she was under Georgia's age of consent which is 16. Genarlow refused the plea bargain that his friends accepted and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He would also be labeled a child molestor. The antiquated Georgia law has been changed but Genarlow and the seven other prisoners convicted as teenagers were not grandfathered in. Genarlow has been incarcerated almost 29 months.

Recently, A Georgia judge voided Genarlow's conviction thus freeing Genarlow from prison. The Georgia Attorney General appealed the judge's decision and Genarlow remains in prision.

The Genarlow Wilson case has received major media coverage recently. Many have expressed outrage at his sentence and the Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue is beginning to feel the heat.

The mother of the victim feels that Generlow's sentence was too severe. She also spoke of Gestapo-like tactics used by Georgia's State Attorney's Office. As this continues to unfold, hopefully the Georgia legislature, ACLU, NAACP and other organizations will make sure that the Douglas County DA and Georgia Sate Attorney's Office are investigated.

Genarlow Wilson and his friends were irresponsible for engaging in sexual activity the way that they did. Filming the acts was reprehensible. The young girl willingly performing a sexual act in the presence of others and allowing it to be filmed was nauseating.

This case is bigger than Genarlow Wilson, it exemplifies the moral decline of American society and our utterly ridiculous show of surprise that such an incident occured in the first place.

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