Tom Joyner sends Genarlow Wilson to Morehouse College

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NPR’s News and Notes and the Atlanta Journal Constitution is reporting that “the Fly Jock, ” Tom Joyner, is sending Georgia student Genarlow Wilson, the young brotha sentenced to 10 years in prison for consensual oral sex, to Morehouse College next week.  God is good. Say what you wanna say about Tom, but Tom Joyner is my hero today.

Justice Harold Melton, Sonny Perdue’s Colored Confederate

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Harold Melton and Clarence Thomas

“The past is not dead.  In fact, it’s not even past.”-William Faulkner 

The news broke late Friday that the Georgia Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision, overturned Genarlow Wilson’s conviction for aggravated child molestation, and the 10-year mandatory sentence that he received as a result of engaging in consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was 17 and both were in High School.  

In reading the dissenting opinion, I discovered that Georgia’s newest State Supreme Court Justice, Harold Melton, a 41 year old African American and appointee of Republican Governor Sonny Perdue, is an undercover confederate with a disturbing penchant for distorting the rule of law.  Justice Melton signed on to a dissent in the Wilson case that only Federalist Society fascists like Clarence Thomas could love.  

The gross overcharging of Genarlow Wilson by Douglas County District Attorney David McDade, a racist if their ever was one, was a perversion of the law not intended by the legislature that echoes Douglas County’s only recorded lynching. 

“In Lynching in the New South: Georgia and Virginia 1880-1930,”  “The lynching of Peter Stamps on July 24, 1885, in Douglas County, Georgia, is another example of the severe consequences of defying the color line in sexual relationships.  For almost a year, Stamps, a black tenant farmer, had been the lover of his employer’s sixteen-year-old daughter without arousing suspicions.  But when the girl became pregnant, the romance could no longer be kept secret.” 

“Stamps was promptly arrested for rape even though the girl adamantly refused to accuse him.  While he was being transported to the county jail, a mob seized him and hanged him. The tragic affair ended when the young girl committed suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills.” 

In Douglas County, Georgia, Genarlow Wilson isn’t the first young person destroyed because of an unhealthy adult preoccupation with consensual, pre-marital sex among teens.   While all of the participants in the titillating sex party that was recorded on videotape were black, the unfettered white power to destroy their lives for a horrible youthful mistake remains the same.  All of the boys were branded as sex offenders for life.  None of them, however, served the time Genarlow Wilson did because he fought the charges, especially the rape charge for which he was acquitted. 

Because of that fact, I do not believe the District Attorney’s feigned concern for the girl who claimed that she was raped because after his fairness was challenged in the media, he distributed 35 copies of the videotape, which meets the statutory definition of child pornography, to the public.   Those are not the actions of man who believes he’s trying to protect a girl from unscrupulous teenage predators, but rather, they are the actions of a racist trying to cover his ass by clouding the issues and smearing Genarlow Wilson as some kinda teenage R. Kelly.

A real black man or woman would know and understand that and conduct themselves accordingly.  His two black colleagues on the court certainly did. Unfortunately, Harold Melton is not a real black man. He’s nothing more than a Clarence Thomas clone and a colored confederate faking the funk and fighting on the wrong side.   

Black Judges like Clarence Thomas and Harold Melton are fully aware of the historical context of the racial struggles of the African American community and are capable of meting out justice in cases like Genarlow’s,  but they are too blinded and ashamed to acknowledge the tawdry sex scandal that gave birth to their own nefarious power.  

Their power is the result of illicit fornication between Machiavellian southern rednecks and northern patricians in the Republican Party who unapologetically manipulate the inflammatory symbols of segregation, white supremacy and the irrational fear of black crime, to enrage and corral a provincial white electorate into voting GOP slates of pinstripe troglodytes like Douglas County DA David McDade into office.  Their mission: reverse the gains of the civil rights movement and keep colored folk like us in a designated place of impotent subordination.

Georgia State Flag, c. 1956-2001

In the same manner that George Herbert Walker Bush used Willie Horton to exploit the irrational and racist white fear of black crime, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue used the issue of changing Georgia’s confederate emblazoned Flag, demanded by African Americans and their white democratic allies, to inflame a bigoted rural electorate against his democratic opponent, former Governor Roy Barnes.    

Sean Wilentz, writing for Salon.com, breaks down the implicit racism employed by the maniacal right, “Republican politicians then exploited the issue, with all its blatant racial overtones. The Georgia GOP gubernatorial candidate Sonny Perdue, backed by Georgia Republican state chairman and former Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed, upheld the honor of those who died defending slavery, and pledged that, if elected, he would push for a statewide referendum to restore the old flag, nearly two-thirds of it taken up by the Confederate emblem.” 

“The tactic worked like a charm, especially in Georgia where the Democrat Barnes had been expected to win reelection handily. The election returns clearly show that rural white voters switched in droves to vote Republican, and that the flag controversy was one important reason why.” 

“… a victorious Sonny Perdue, appearing against a backdrop of Confederate emblems, jubilantly exclaimed, with dubious taste, a line from an old black spiritual made famous by another Georgian, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, free at last!  Since then, Gov.-elect Perdue has backed off from his pledge to restore the old flag, and said with a straight face that the issue was only a “small” reason for his victory. And so his campaign appeals seem to have been just a cynical ploy, in a long tradition of Southern racial demagogy.” 

Once elected Governor, Perdue plucked Harold Melton out of the obscurity of the Attorney General’s Office and made him his chief counsel.   A black Republican of long standing, Melton graduated from Auburn University and interned for Alabama Republican Governor Guy Hunt, a right-wing crook indicted and removed from office for diverting $2oo, 000 dollars from his inaugural ball fund to personal use.  

Upon Melton’s graduation from law school at the University of Georgia, he spent 11 years in the Georgia Attorney General’s office, most of it under Mike Bowers, a sanctimonious, homophobic party switcher with gubernatorial ambitions who zealously persecuted gay people using Georgia’s antediluvian sodomy laws while simultaneously carrying on a decade long extramarital affair with his secretary.   

Melton absorbed his patron’s homophobia and facilitated Sonny Perdue’s demagogic crusade to “preserve marriage” as the Governor’s Chief Counsel.   After Perdue had solidified his credentials as a southern redneck, and he couldn’t fulfill his promise to restore the flag because of a hostile legislature, he moved on to exploit homophobia to distract the same fools fixated on preserving their southern heritage of hate. Perdue shrewdly gave them the gays to demonize and focus their hatred on.   Georgia’s passage of a so-called “marriage amendment” solidified the GOP stranglehold on state government and assured Perdue’s re-election.    

As a reward, Melton was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2005, pissing off a lot of white conservatives who believed that the first GOP appointment should have gone to one of their white wingnut fellow travelers.   His vote against Genarlow Wilson and in a death penalty case I will subsequently discuss, should have quieted all the talk about Melton not being sufficiently conservative.   

Melton, the Death Penalty, and Georgia’s history of lynching 

I have never been amused by the Republican habit of dismissing and ignoring the history and persistence of racially motivated murder in this country.  Between 1882 and 1968, 492 lynchings of black men and women took place in Georgia, 479 of them murdered at the hands of white mobs, a number that ranks Georgia second only to Mississippi in the savage sweepstakes of white supremacist killing.    

This next vignette of hate should have some significance to the Governor because it happened six months before he was born, and directly implicated a gubernatorial predecessor. In July, the Associated Press wrote about how they uncovered evidence, through the use of the Freedom of Information Act, that implicated former Georgia Governor Eugene Talmadge, a virulent racist, in the lynching of two black couples after his 1946 re-election.

Talmadge, who died just months after his 1946 election to a fourth term, dominated Georgia politics in the 1930s and 1940s with a mix of racism and pocketbook populism.He came under FBI scrutiny because of a visit he made to the north Georgia town of Monroe two days before the Democratic gubernatorial primary and a day after a highly charged racial incident there, a fight in which a black sharecropper stabbed and severely wounded a white farmer.”

“The sharecropper was one of the four people who would later be lynched.In a report sent to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, the agent in charge of the investigation said Talmadge met with George Hester, the brother of the stabbed farmer. Citing an unconfirmed witness statement, the agent said Talmadge offered immunity to anyone “taking care of negro.”

“…The lynchings of Roger and Dorothy Malcom, and George and Mae Murray Dorsey on July 25, 1946, came eight days after the election and followed weeks of simmering tensions. There were rumors that George Dorsey, an Army veteran, had secretly been dating a white woman — a taboo in the segregated South. And the town’s white establishment was enraged with Roger Malcom, who was imprisoned after stabbing white farmer Barney Hester.”

“Malcom was waiting in jail when white farmer Loy Harrison paid $600 to bail him out. Harrison said he was driving Malcom, his wife and the other couple home, when he was ambushed by a white mob that surrounded his car near the Moore’s Ford Bridge. As many as 30 people converged on the vehicle and pulled out the two couples, dragged them down a nearby trail and tied them to trees.”

“Then the mob fired three volleys of bullets at the couples, leaving their dead bodies slumped behind in the dirt. One of the victims, Dorothy Malcom, was seven months’ pregnant. An outraged President Truman dispatched FBI agents to Monroe, about 45 miles east of Atlanta. But the local community — both white and black — clammed up.”

…Black families, who often sharecropped on white farms, were “frightened and even terrified” when approached by FBI agents. One farmer fled into a cotton field and had to be chased down, eventually telling an investigator he had been warned not to talk.” 

Baby Boomers like Sonny Perdue turn a blind eye to the cruelty and malevolence of their parents’ generation and the six lynchings,  which occurred in his home county in the twentieth century.  His guilt is submerged into the “good works” he performs like opening his home to a black foster child or his close personal and professional relationships with a few people of color. However, when Perdue’s back was against the wall, like Eugene Talmage’s was in the election of 1946,  he resorted to the same bag of tricks and he drew from the well white supremacy and division because of a desperation to seize power.  His desire to paper over the racial divisions he created with appointments like Harold Melton only makes the problem of racial discrimination worse.  

The spirit of fear inculcated and bred into black people by enduring generations of racist terror like the aforementioned lynching, is all over the next case.   The manner in which Georgia carries out the death penalty more closely resembles a lynching than a carefully designed legal process, which respects the constitutional rights of the accused.  Just weeks before the prevaricator from Pin Point, Georgia, Clarence Thomas, was disingenuously accusing his inquisitors of subjecting him to “a high-tech lynching” a real one was taking place in a Savannah, Georgia courtroom, in a town he claims to know well.   

The case of Troy Anthony Davis, a death row inmate, is one that shocks the conscience.  Convicted of the murder of a white police officer and the shooting of a black teenager, his conviction was obtained as a result of the perjured testimony of African American witnesses coerced to appear by a racist and incompetent Savannah police force.   The state had no physical evidence in this case tying Davis to the crime and all but three of the “witnesses” recanted their testimony.     Don’t believe me?   Read for yourself.  

Affidavit of Darrell Collins: 

When I got to the barracks, the police put me in a small room and some detectives came in and started yelling at me, telling me that I knew that Troy Davis…killed that officer by the Burger King. I told them that… I didn’t see Troy do nothing. They got real mad when I said this and started getting in my face. They were telling me that I was an accessory to murder and that I would pay like Troy was gonna pay if I didn’t tell them what they wanted to hear. They told me that I would go to jail for a long time and I would be lucky if I ever got out, especially because a police officer got killed.” 

“… I didn’t want to go to jail because I didn’t do nothing wrong. I was only sixteen and was so scared of going to jail. They kept saying that…[Troy] had messed with that man up at Burger King and killed that officer. I told them that it was Red and not Troy who was messing with that man, but they didn’t want to hear that…After a couple of hours of the detectives yelling at me and threatening me, I finally broke down and told them what they wanted to hear. They would tell me things that they said had happened and I would repeat whatever they said.”  

From the Affidavit of Antoine Williams:

 I couldn’t really tell what was going on because I had the darkest shades of tint you could possibly have on my windows of my car. As soon as I heard the shot and saw the officer go down, I ducked down under the dash of my car. I was scared for my life and I didn’t want to get shot myself.” 

“…Later that night, some cops asked me what had happened. I told them what is written here [in the affidavit]. They asked me to describe the shooter and what he looked like and what he was wearing. I kept telling them that I didn’t know. It was dark, my windows were tinted, and I was scared. It all happened so fast. Even today, I know that I could not honestly identify with any certainty who shot the officer that night. I couldn’t then either. After the officers talked to me, they gave me a statement and told me to sign it. I signed it. I did not read it because I cannot read.”  

From the Affidavit of Benjamin Gordon: 

Later that night, police officers came and dragged me from my house in Yamacraw. There were police officers everywhere after the police officer was killed and it seemed like they were taking everyone in Yamacraw to the police barracks for questioning. I was handcuffed and they put a nightstick under my neck. I had just turned sixteen and was scared as hell.” 

“The police officers took me to the barracks and put me in a small room. Over the next couple of hours, three or so officers questioned me – at first, they called me a motherfuc*er and told me that I had shot the officer. They told me that I was going to the electric chair. They got in my face and yelled at me a lot. The cops then told me that I did the shooting over in Cloverdale.”

“I just kept telling them that I didn’t do anything, but they weren’t hearing that. After four or five hours, they told me to sign some papers. I just wanted to get the hell out of there. I didn’t read what they told me to sign and they didn’t ask me to.” 

In their zeal to avenge the killing of a white police officer, police misconduct mimicked an angry lynch mob hell bent in defending white supremacy by pinning any nigger with the crime.  This case has bounced between state and federal courts for 16 years and they have continued to reject any claim of innocence and refused to consider affidavits recanting perjured testimony. 

A law signed by Bill Clinton makes it all but impossible to considered new evidence of innocence  in the federal courts, and a ruling in Herrera v. Collins, a U.S. Supreme Court Case in which Clarence Thomas was in the majority, allows states to execute people they know for certain are innocent of the crimes for which they have been sentenced to death.   You read that right.  Clarence Thomas ruled that there is no constitutional problem with executing innocent people.   

In the last eight years, six brothas-Willie Williams, Calvin Johnson, Robert Clark, Douglas Echols, Samuel Scott and Clarence Harrison, have been exonerated by the state of Georgia after being convicted on the basis of false eyewitness testimony.   

Apparently, Harold Melton is ignorant of these cases and is following in Clarence Thomas’s corrupt footsteps because when Troy Davis reached the end of the line, and his execution date was set,  he voted against the Georgia Supreme Court hearing this case to consider evidence of witness recantation and claims of actual innocence, something appellate courts rarely do after they’ve already heard the case.   Melton, in effect, voted to kill this brotha and proved that he is possessed by the same spirit of evil that has Clarence Thomas in its grip. 

Melton faces the electorate for the first time next year. So let the word go forth, from this time and place, that its open season on Sonny Perdue’s colored confederate, in solidarity with Genarlow and Troy, because Melton’s anti-black jurisprudence is the historical fruit of the poisonous tree of white supremacy and further proof that “The past is not dead.  In fact, its not even past.” 

 

Angry black activists march on Douglas County Courthouse for Genarlow Wilson

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Hat Tip: nal Constitution

With thunder overhead and rain threatening, about 2,000 marchers took to the streets in Douglas County today in support of Genarlow Wilson’s release from state prison.

The group, led by the NAACP, marched from Douglasville High School to the county courthouse, chanting “Free Genarlow Wilson” and singing civil rights songs.he case of Wilson, serving a 10-year sentence for receiving oral sex from a 15-year-old girl when he was 17, will be heard by the Georgia Supreme Court July 20.

Attorney General Thurbert Baker is appealing a Monroe County Superior Court judge’s decision to reduce Wilson’s felony conviction to a misdemeanor and free him from prison. Baker said the judge overstepped his authority when he granted Wilson’s motion last month. Wilson’s attorney is arguing his 10-year prison sentence is cruel and unusual punishment.

The high court also decided to hold an expedited hearing on a Douglas County Superior Court judge’s decision to deny bond for Wilson pending Baker’s appeal. The judge says Wilson is not eligible for bond during the appeal because of the nature of his crime, aggravated child molestation.

The almost entirely black march Saturday started around 10 a.m. and ended with speeches at the courthouse. Speakers denounced Baker and Douglas County District Attorney David McDade. The U.S. attorney’s office said McDade violated federal law when he distributed a videotape from a rape and child molestation case to legislators and journalists.

Police were present at the march to prevent any clashes with counterprotesters.

“We were worried aabout a bunch of neo-Nazis and Skinheads showing up,” said Douglasville police Chief Joe Whisenant , “Fortunately, they didn’t.”

Obama gives a shout out to Genarlow Wilson

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HAT TIP: AP, Click on Detroit, Paula Mooney

DETROIT — Presidential hopeful Barack Obama drew the loudest cheers of the eight Democratic candidates at a civil rights forum as he assailed the Bush administration’s record on race relations.The candidates shared the stage Thursday at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s 98th annual convention.Obama, seeking to become the first black president, drew the strongest applause from the 3,000 people at the event.

“I know what you know, which is that despite all the progress that has been made we still have more work to do,” said the first-term Illinois senator. Black voters are a core party constituency. Candidates are in a fierce struggle to capture their support and are refusing to cede it to Obama. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the front-runner, enjoys strong support in the black community and is married to former President Clinton, who was wildly popular among black voters. John Edwards has won praise from black leaders for his commitment to fighting poverty.

After the forum, microphones picked up Clinton and Edwards discussing their desire to limit future joint appearances to exclude some rivals lower in the crowded field. “We should try to have a more serious and a smaller group,” Edwards said. Clinton agreed. “We’ve got to cut the number. … They’re not serious,” she said, then thanked Obama and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich as they walked by. Turning back to Edwards, she added that she thought their campaigns had already tried to limit the debates and “we’ve gotta get back to it.”Obama’s performance was the first time he has managed to outshine Clinton in a candidate’s forum. That includes last month’s debate at Howard University, a historically black college in the nation’s capital.

At the forum, each candidate responded to five questions from NAACP delegates on topics including health care, gun violence and voting rights.All the candidates were warmly welcomed in Detroit. Even before Obama spoke, the crowd at Cobo Center was clearly in his corner. Obama derided President George W. Bush’s commutation of former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s prison term, noting black men routinely serve time.

“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,” Obama said. Aides said Obama was referring to Genarlow Wilson, a Georgia man serving a 10-year prison sentence for having consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was 17. A judge last month ordered Wilson to be freed, but prosecutors are blocking the order. Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, was convicted of lying and obstruction of justice in the CIA-leak case. He received a 30-month prison sentence, which Bush commuted last week.

“I’d like to thank the NAACP for letting me follow Barack Obama,” joked Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, who delivered his opening remarks after the Illinois senator.Obama, 45, said he was too young to have participated in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, but said he was inspired by it. That comment prompted a mild dig from Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, who stressed his long career in public life.”I’ve been around a while, and I’m old enough to remember the civil rights movement,” Biden, 64, said, adding he was the best candidate to bring an end to the Iraq war.

Clinton said the forum would cover more issues of importance to the black community than the administration had in six years.”We have a president who does not see what you and I see. … With your hard work, we will render the people that you and I see visible once again,” the New York senator said. She cited “Invisible Man,” Ralph Ellison’s classic novel of black alienation. She also thanked the organist, whose music helped fill the gaps between programs on the stage, for providing a spiritual dimension to the forum.”I think we needed to have a little uplift here,” she said. “If we’re going to win this election, it’s going to be because we have faith.”

Edwards emphasized his commitment to fighting poverty, calling it “the cause of my life.” He plans to begin a multi-state tour Monday in New Orleans to spotlight the millions of people who live in poverty.Edwards’ call for felons’ voting rights to be restored also received loud cheers.Yet as a senator from North Carolina in 2002 he voted against a bill allowing felons the right to vote in federal elections. The topic of voting rights drew an impassioned response from the candidates, many of whom spoke of the disputed 2000 election in Florida that saw many black voters disenfranchised.”The American people don’t feel that when they go vote their vote counts,” New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said.

Dodd praised the NAACP for holding a burial ceremony for the “N-word” earlier this week.”We ought to have more burials. Why not bury neglect? Bigotry? The failed policy in Iraq?” Dodd asked, adding that he believed every Democrat on the stage would be a better president than Bush.

Former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel also participated.Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo was the lone GOP candidate and said he accepted the invitation because his message is for all people in the U.S. A vociferous foe of illegal immigration, Tancredo said the wages of black workers suffer because of illegal workers.

Douglas County prosecutor under fire for releasing child porn tape in Genarlow Wilson case

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Hat Tip: By SHANNON McCAFFREY, Associated Press Writer

District Attorney David McDade has handed out some 35 copies of a video of teenagers having sex at a party.

McDade says Georgia’s open-records law leaves him no choice but to release the footage because it was evidence in one of the state’s most turbulent cases — that of Genarlow Wilson, a young man serving 10 years in prison for having oral sex with a girl when they were teenagers.

McDade’s actions have opened him up to accusations that he is vindictively misusing his authority to keep Wilson behind bars — and worse, distributing child pornography.

“This has been a ferocious, vindictive prosecution of Genarlow Wilson,” said state Sen. Vincent Fort, an Atlanta Democrat. “What is going on is a vendetta.”

McDade, who is district attorney in Douglas County, in suburban Atlanta, did not immediately return calls Thursday.

He has said that while the law required him to release the video, he also believes the footage helps his case — by showing that Wilson is not the squeaky-clean football star and honor student portrayed by his supporters.

“Most of those who do not want people to see the tape know that it’s damning to their position,” McDade told The Associated Press.

He released the video after receiving an open records request from the AP, and said he has given it to about three dozen people, including reporters, lawmakers and several members of the public who requested it.

It shows Wilson, then 17, receiving oral sex from a 15-year-old girl and having intercourse with another 17-year-old girl. It was shot at a 2003 New Year’s Eve Party at a hotel room by another partygoer.

Earlier this week, Georgia’s chief federal prosecutor, U.S. Attorney David Nahmias, said the video “constitutes child pornography under federal law,” and he called on McDade’s office to stop releasing copies.

“These laws are intended to protect the children depicted in such images from the ongoing victimization of having their sexual activity viewed by others,” Nahmias said.

Nahmias’ office refused to say whether he would bring criminal charges against the D.A.

Critics say that at the very least, McDade should have obscured the faces of the underage girls to conceal their identity, or sought a protective order to keep the material under seal.

Such steps are common in sex abuses cases, especially those involving underage victims, said Diane Moyer, legal director for the Pennsylvania-based National Sexual Violence Research Center.

“The bottom line is we need to have respect for the victims in these kinds of cases,” Moyer said. “To release this kind of thing, to me it’s prurient and it takes the open records law too far.”

Several Wilson supporters likened McDade to disgraced Duke lacrosse prosecutor Mike Nifong and called on Georgia’s attorney general to investigate.

“Mike Nifong lost his license, and if he lost his license, then certainly a district attorney that distributes child pornography ought to be investigated,” the Rev. Raphael Warnock, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, said Thursday.

State Sen. Emanuel Jones said he would introduce legislation to block district attorneys from handing over photographic images in sex cases.

“I’m going to call it the David McDade Act,” Jones said. “Sometimes we have to protect our kids from district attorneys.”

Wilson was convicted of aggravated child molestation for having oral sex with the 15-year-old girl. He has served more than two years of a mandatory 10-year sentence.

The law Wilson was convicted of breaking made consensual oral sex between teens a felony. It has since been changed by the Georgia Legislature. But the state’s courts have held that the new law cannot be applied retroactively.

A judge last month called Wilson’s sentence “a grave miscarriage of justice” and ordered him set free. But prosecutors are trying to block his release. The Georgia Supreme Court is set to hear the case next week.

McDade fought a bill in the Legislature earlier this year that would have helped Wilson. Some lawmakers who were on the fence changed their mind after seeing the tape.

The County prosecutor in this case, David McDade, is a racist-plain and simple. The release of child porn-anything with juveniles under 18, is a damn crime and he knows it. Call me what you will but white folks don’t get treated like this. So much for his so-called concern for the girls whose identity could be up on the internet now for all to see.

Girl’s mother criticises prosecutor

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HAT TIP: Atlanta Journal Constitution by Jeremy Redmon

Genarlow Wilson should never have been criminally charged and imprisoned for receiving oral sex from a 15-year-old girl at a New Year’s Eve party more than three years ago, the girl’s mother says.

Veda Cannon said the sex between her daughter, Wilson and four other teens was consensual and regrets she didn’t ask prosecutors not to charge them.

“I felt like Douglas County was trying to make an example out of these boys,” Cannon, 39, of Douglasville, asserted Tuesday in what she said was her first interview about the case. “They should have been made to pay for their actions, but not to this severity,” she said.

In a strange twist Wednesday, Cannon scrambled to soften some of Tuesday’s comments following a visit to her home from a Douglas County prosecutor who had learned of her interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Responding to Cannon’s assertions, county prosecutors said they suspect Cannon is bending to pressure from people supporting the defendants, an assertion she denied.

“Never once did she ever ask us not to prosecute this case,” said Douglas County Assistant District Attorney Eddie Barker, who worked closely with Cannon during the case. “Where was she at when all of this was going on? Why is she just now telling you this three years later?”

Wilson, meanwhile, is fighting to get his felony conviction and 10-year prison sentence thrown out. He has so far spent more than two years of that sentence behind bars. At the same time, his case has captured national media attention. And his appeal has drawn support from several influential people across the country, including former President Jimmy Carter. Three of the four others convicted of molesting Cannon’s daughter remain in prison.

Twists and turns

A bizarre series of events occurred Wednesday morning after Douglas prosecutors learned Cannon was speaking to the press. Cannon said Barker and a colleague soon showed up at her home with an audio recorder to discuss her comments to the AJC.

In a subsequent interview with the AJC, she raised concerns that she was being misquoted.

After that conversation, Douglas County District Attorney David McDade disclosed his office had taped Cannon’s conversation with the AJC.

“We were actually at her home when you were talking to her [Wednesday] morning,” McDade said. “We were recording the conversation and so we have a tape of her telling you that you were twisting her words.”

In the initial interview Tuesday, Cannon described a conversation she had with Barker before Wilson’s case went to trial. She said she had asked Barker what would happen if she did not want to participate in the prosecution, and she said he responded by telling her she could face legal trouble for “neglect” as a parent, an assertion Barker vehemently denied.

On Wednesday, Cannon said Barker was not “threatening” her when he told her what could happen if she did not cooperate with the prosecution. She said Barker was giving her advice she had solicited and that his office was open and helpful to her.

Cannon ultimately testified in Wilson’s trial, pointing out her daughter on a videotape of the party that was played for the jury. Her daughter did not take the stand.

The Journal-Constitution is not identifying Cannon’s daughter or the unrelated 17-year-old girl in the case because both were victims of sex crimes. Cannon said she did not want to be photographed for fear that publicity surrounding the case would affect her three other children, ages 22, 17 and 10.

Videotape from party

The case stems from a 2003 New Year’s Eve party involving alcohol and marijuana. Wilson’s friends rented neighboring hotel rooms that night at a Days Inn in Douglasville. One of the partygoers videotaped the events that evening with a handheld camera.

The tape shows Wilson having intercourse with a 17-year-old. Both appear intoxicated in the video. Wilson was charged with raping the 17-year-old but was acquitted.

In another part of the video, Wilson is lying on his back in one of the motel room beds and receiving oral sex from Cannon’s daughter. Wilson does not appear to be forcing the girl in the video. Cannon said her daughter told her the sex was consensual.

Authorities went to the hotel room and confiscated the videotape after the 17-year-old girl’s family complained to police. Wilson was found guilty of aggravated child molestation involving Cannon’s daughter, a crime that carried a minimum 10-year prison sentence under the law at the time.

The Legislature, however, changed the law last year to make similar acts a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in prison.

Five other male youths reached plea deals in the case. Wilson was the only one to go to trial.

“She did not want any of this to happen,” Cannon said of her daughter. “She was friends with all of them.”

Cannon said her daughter misled her into believing that night that she was heading to a friend’s house for a New Year’s Eve party and that it would be supervised by parents. She said she instructed her daughter to return home by 1:30 a.m. on New Year’s Day. Cannon said she never would have let her daughter go out that night had she known she was going to a party at a hotel.

“I know what my instructions were, and I don’t feel that I have to justify myself to anyone,” Cannon said.

Cannon’s daughter, now 18, declined a request for an interview through her mother. Cannon said her daughter and Wilson had been classmates at Douglas County High School. The girl graduated from another high school before joining the Navy to pursue a career in nursing, her mother said. She is not married and has a 2-year-old son. Cannon proudly showed off photos of her daughter and grandson Wednesday.

“She is trying to put it all behind her,” Cannon said, adding that her daughter regrets having sex that night. “She does not want to come back to Douglasville because it is still a touchy subject. She still deals with it every day.”

Genarlow Wilson still awaiting justice

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In this photo provided by the family of Genarlow Wilson he is shown in a portrait at the age of 17. A Georgia judge ordered the release Monday, June 10, 2007,  of Wilson, who had been sentenced to 10 years in prison for having consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was 17.  (AP Photo/Wilson Family Photo, fILE )

Hat Tip: Associated Press by Shannon McCaffrey 

Genarlow Wilson, in prison for having consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was 17, will spend at least three more weeks in prison despite a judge ruling Monday he should be released, his lawyer said.

Douglas County Superior Court Judge David Emerson on Tuesday set the bond hearing for July 5 at 1:30 p.m.

Wilson’s attorney, B.J. Bernstein had been seeking a quick hearing in Douglas County court, even though the district attorney there has said he opposes the move.

“It’s a long ways away, especially when we just had a judge say he could be released,” Bernstein said of the July 5 hearing. “I just don’t understand why; all it would take is the consent from the district attorney to do that.”

On Monday, a judge said that Wilson should be freed from prison and not be listed on Georgia’s sex offender registry. Monroe County Superior Court Judge Thomas Wilson called the 10-year mandatory sentence he received “a grave miscarriage of justice” that violated the constitution.

But state Attorney General Thurbert Baker immediately announced his intention to appeal the decision, saying the sentence was valid. That move kept Wilson behind bars for now.

Baker is seeking an expedited appeal before the Georgia Supreme Court, which has already ruled against Wilson once.

Bernstein said Wilson had not yet heard news Tuesday afternoon of the court date. She said the time delay is not unusual for a typical pretrial hearing, but that Wilson’s is an atypical case.

“That happens in a lot of places, but this is really an unusual circumstance,” she said. “It’s not like we’re waiting to see if we’re guilty or not guilty of something.”

Prosecutors questioned why Wilson had not accepted a plea deal on the table that would allow him to serve a maximum of five years in prison and also avoid being listed on the state’s sex offender registry when he’s released from prison.

“Wilson, through his attorneys, rejected all of those offers,” Baker said in a statement.

Wilson has served more than 28 months in prison.

A jury in 2005 found Wilson guilty of aggravated child molestation for having oral sex with a 15-year-old girl during a 2003 New Year’s Eve party involving alcohol and marijuana. Although the sex act was consensual, it was illegal under Georgia law.

Wilson was also charged with rape for being one of several male partygoers at the Douglas County hotel to have sex with another 17-year-old girl, but was acquitted. The party was captured on a videotape that was played for the jury.

The five other male partygoers took plea deals in the case.

Bernstein said Wilson’s family ran through an exhausting gamut of emotions Monday and Tuesday – from joy at the judge’s order to disappointment at the delays in his possible release.

“I had to get his mom some rest – she was having a very difficult time by the end of the day,” Bernstein said.

The case has drawn international attention, with supporters including former President Jimmy Carter, raising questions about the role of race in the judicial system’s treatment of Wilson, who is black.

At the time of his crime, Wilson would have faced just one year in prison if he had sexual intercourse with the girl. The “Romeo and Juliet” exception in Georgia law also would have allowed him to avoid the sex offender registry.

Lawmakers last year voted to close that loophole. But the state’s top court said the new law could not be applied retroactively to Wilson, now 21.

Genarlow Wilson and the Uncle Tom trying to keep him imprisoned

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photo of Genarlow Wilson

Genarlow Wilson is many things: an athlete, a scholar, and for the last two years, a convicted sex offender serving a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years for consensual oral sex with a 15 year old girl while he was 17.

We have criminalized everything in this society-and have a particular obsession and penchant for imposing draconian sentences on people for victimless crimes like marijuana possession and now, statutory rape.

Georgia, you’ll recall had a criminal statute against consensual sodomy between consenting adults until recently, and its puritanical insanity led to these latest racist criminal prosecutions of two young black men Genarlow and Marcus Dixon for aggravated child molestation for consensual sex between minors.

For those of you slow on the uptake, there has never been a white teenager charged and convicted of aggravated child molestation for consensual sex with his underage girlfriend in the State of Georgia. There will never be because the publicity these cases generated got the law changed.

Georgia imposes a lesser penalty on full blown intercourse between minors than for oral sex between minors. If Genarlow had gone ahead and went all the way, he would have only been facing a year in jail.

Marcus Dixon’s case was overturned by the Georgia Supreme Court and Genarlow’s has not been and will not be. We’ve heard a lot of B.S. in the media surrounding this case and the others involved who made plea deals with the prosecution in exchange for lesser prison time. In all, 6 boys with previous criminal records, except for Genarlow, went to jail and will be forced to register forever as sex offenders.

Most are already out and one is in college. Only Genarlow is left holding the bag that any teenage boy could be convicted of. That is the essence of white supremacy for me. A Superior Court Judge saw the horrendousness of this prosecution for what it was and attempted to lower this sentence and set the boy free. He was thwarted in that Thurbert E. Baker pictureattempt by Attorney General Thurbert Baker-an Uncle Tom if there ever was one. He is appealing the Judge’s ruling and impeding Justice. It should please and baffle you to know that former President Jimmy Carter has written to the Attorney General asking him to back off and let this boy go home. Baker also had to contend with a protest in front of his office by the NAACP and Rev. Joseph Lowery. He refused to speak to them. Any black elected official who refuses to speak to Joseph Lowery spits in the face of the black community and is beneath contempt. If you live in Georgia, let the Attorney General know how you feel by writing him here.

 

rikyrah has also written about this travesty here.