Genarlow Wilson’s sentence was reduced to one year, already served, yesterday after an appeals court found it to be “cruel and unusual punishment.”
Genarlow, black, was sentenced to 10 years for having consensual oral sex with a white teenage girl while a teen himself (he 17, she 15). He lost his chance at a scholarship to college and has spent the last two years in adult prison as a convicted sex offender. The court’s decision will not change his conviction, the stigma of which will stay with him through his entire adult life.
Genarlow was convicted on the basis of a videotape he made of himself with the girl at a hotel. Clearly, in making the video, he was wrong. However, it has long been thought by most Georgians that this case was a modern day use of the legal system to sanction a black youth for “daring” to have sex with a white one.
The dissenting voters remain convinced that his sentence reflected the statue of the law at the time of conviction and nothing more.
While I do not condone any actual crimes committed against anyone, especially women, I am glad to see Genarlow finally be set free. I hope his case sets a precedent in which those whose sentences clearly reflect unequal treatment under the law are reversed (his, of course, was reduced).
10 years for consensual oral sex between minors is unjust. At least in this case, those who wich to argue the unjustness of justice as if race was not a factor, or only a factor in as much as they see white people are “reverse victims,” have officially been declared wrong.