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   NATIONAL NEWS
 Wilson
Jim Crow Injustice: Activists Pressuring Georgia to Free Genarlow Wilson
By: Saeed Shabazz
Special to the NNPA from the Final Call
Originally posted 8/1/2007


DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ga. (NNPA) - The Georgia Supreme Court has heard the appeal case against the release of Genarlow Wilson. A decision is expected by September.

“This is because of the community’s pressure,” said activist Al Sharpton.
Edward Dubose, the Georgia state president of the NAACP, agreed, that the grassroots pressure in the streets is making a difference in forcing officials to review the Genarlow Wilson case. “We see what the pressure is doing, and we don’t plan to let up,” Mr. Dubose told The Final Call.

A prayer vigil and protest were held last month in Douglas County where Mr. Wilson was convicted of aggravated child molestation.

There is something very wrong going on in Douglas County, Mr. Dubose stressed. “We see that at least five Black men are being held on similar charges, while Whites committing the same crimes are let go,” Mr. Dubose said.

The NAACP is also calling for the ouster of the Douglas County District Attorney, David McDade. Genarlow Wilson’s case is steadily gaining national attention, as Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama, in his address at a NAACP convention held in Detroit last month made mention of the disparity between Mr. Wilson’s case and the commuting of former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s prison term.

“We know we have more work to do when Scooter Libby gets no prison time and a 21-year-old honor student, who hadn’t even committed a felony, gets 10 years in prison,” Sen. Obama said to loud cheers.

Rev. Sharpton, veteran civil rights leader Joseph Lowery and the Rev. Raphael G. Warnock, pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, joined with demonstrators on July 5 in front of the Douglas County Courthouse to protest the delay in a bond hearing for the 21-year-old.

They were also protesting the delay by the Georgia Supreme Court in hearing the state attorney general’s appeal against the lower court’s decision that Mr. Wilson should be set free.

A Monroe County Superior Court judge had ruled in June that Wilson’s sentence was too harsh, since the crime is a misdemeanor, and should be given time served and released. The state legislature has changed the law to eliminate the mandatory 10-year sentence for aggravated child molestation, but lawmakers did not make the change retroactive.

Attorney General Thubert Baker, a Black man, disagrees with the lower court ruling, and is fighting to keep young Wilson in prison.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the attorney general says the judge overstepped his authority when he granted Wilson’s habeas corpus.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is also reporting that State Sen. Emanuel Jones (D-Decatur) protested the release of a videotape of the sexual incident that was the cause of Wilson’s brush with the law. “It is an absolute, utter disgrace,” the lawmaker said, calling the tape “child pornography.” According to the newspaper, the videotape has been shown to legislators and reporters.


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