Daily Archives: June 12, 2007

Genarlow Wilson 2: Release Delayed, AG to Appeal (2 Updates)

I said yesterday that we hadn’t heard from Georgia’s Atty General. Well, now we have and with true Southern Justice-style stubbornness, he’s going to drag his state through even more mud and make them look even more like revenge-hopped hicks than they do now.

Wilson, now 21, learned Monday that his more than two years in prison were apparently coming to an end with the order by Monroe County Superior Court Judge Thomas H. Wilson. Within hours, however, state Attorney General Thurbert Baker filed notice that he would appeal the ruling to the Georgia Supreme Court, arguing the judge had overstepped his authority.

Determined not to be outdone in the Stoopidity Dept, the prosecutor is fighting bail and prison officials want to check back with the original court before they do anything.

That set Wilson’s attorneys scrambling to free him on bond from the Burruss Correctional Training Center in Forsyth. But a prosecutor in the case would not immediately agree to a bond arrangement, Wilson’s attorneys said. And state prison officials said they would not release Wilson until they receive guidance from Baker’s office or the court where he was originally sentenced in Douglas County.

The twists and turns in the legal case sent Wilson’s attorneys and family through several emotional highs and lows Monday. Wilson’s mother, Juannessa Bennett, praised the judge’s ruling, calling it a “miracle.” But by afternoon, she was too worn out to speak, said a spokeswoman for her son’s attorneys.

Call this “Travesty Cubed”. Georgia “legal” authorities (I have to put that in quotes now because they’re obviously less concerned with the law than they are with making sure they don’t have to admit a mistake) seem hell-bent on persecuting Genarlow to protect the reputation of an autocratic prosecutor who got pissy when Wilson wouldn’t subordinate his rights to a power play. They think if they can drag this thing out, everybody will forget about prosecutor Eddie Barker’s hissy-fit and there won’t be any political blowback.

Hopefully, they’re wrong. Because what they’ve just done takes a legal mistake into the realm of outright racism. Would they be doing this dance if Genarlow was white? Hell no, and everybody knows it. If he was white he would most likely never have been prosecuted in the first place. He would have been placed on probation and sent home.

And that’s what this most recent nitwittery is going to force people to acknowledge, people who were otherwise willing to put this down to arrogance, political ass-covering, and dumb legal inflexibility. Fighting both the judge’s decision and bail for Wilson virtually proves that Georgia’s legal system remains a racist backwater with a double-standard, one for whites and another for everybody else.

Update 6/13/07: Thanks to a racist legal system and a state AG willing to cover for a prosecutor’s inexcusable tantrum, Wilson will now spend at least another month in prison until yet another judge can hold a hearing to decide whether he should be granted bail.

You know, Georgia reminds me of that kid in every class who says and does stupid things because getting some attention for moronic behaviour is better than getting none at all.

Then again, maybe all the stereotypes are, you know, true.

Update 2, 6/15/07: This is just pathetic. Georgia’s AG is taking some well-deserved flak over his appeal of this case and is trying to cover his ass.

The 10-year prison sentence imposed on Genarlow Wilson for receiving oral sex from a 15-year-old girl when he was 17 is “harsh,” but his punishment must stand to protect the law and keep more than 1,000 child molesters behind bars, Attorney General Thurbert Baker declared Thursday.

“As attorney general, I took an oath to uphold the laws of this state,” Baker said during news conference he called to explain why he is appealing a judge’s order to free Wilson. “And in taking that oath I don’t have the luxury of taking the law into my own hands, or picking which cases to defend.”

Of course he does. All prosecutors make those decisions a hundred times a day. Who’s he think he’s kidding?

NEWSFLASH! Conservatives Defend Constitution! (Updated)

The wide-spread meme developed by the RWNM as cover for side-stepping its responsibility for Bush – that the reason Republicans got whaled in November was because “they weren’t conservative enough” – has spawned a somewhat surprising off-shoot: a group of Reaganite conservatives who are attacking Republicans for their disinterest in the Constitution.

A new political group recently asked Mitt Romney to promise not to wiretap Americans without a judge’s approval or to imprison US citizens without a trial as “enemy combatants.” When Romney declined to sign their pledge, the group denounced him as “unfit to serve as president.”

Such rhetoric might be expected from liberal activists. But these critics, who call their organization American Freedom Agenda, are hardly leftists. They represent what they insist is a growing group of disaffected conservatives who are demanding that the Republican Party return to its traditional mistrust of concentrated government power.

“Mitt Romney’s ignorance of the Constitution’s checks and balances and protections against government abuses would have alarmed the Founding Fathers and their conservative philosophy,” said Bruce Fein, one of the group’s co founders and a Reagan administration attorney, in a press release last month attacking Romney for not signing the pledge.

Better late than never, I suppose, but one has to wonder about the absence of a similar blast at Bush. The Emperor and his Grand Vizier are the ones who have put what the AFA is upset about in place. It’s all well and good to demand of the candidates who would take his place that they renounce “ignorance of the Constitution’s checks and balances”, but how seriously can we take them if they don’t denounce the guy who’s purposely and blatantly violating the principles they say are so important? Without that one would be tempted to assume that this is, what? An election ploy? A cynical strategy to put the self-destructive GOP back in the hunt by appealing to those infamous swing voters?

“Conservatives have to go back to the basics,” said co founder Richard Viguerie , a veteran direct-mail strategist and author of “Conservatives Betrayed: How the Republican Party Hijacked the Conservative Cause.” “We have to go back and re launch the conservative movement. And for traditional conservatives, it’s part of our nature to believe in the separation of powers.”

The other two co founders are Bob Barr , a former Republican congressman from Georgia, and David Keene , chairman of the American Conservative Union .

All four argue that Bush is not a true conservative, and they decided to join forces earlier this year to make the expansion of executive power a topic of debate in the 2008 presidential election. They have applied for tax-exempt status, created a website, and drawn up a 10-point pledge that they intend to ask every candidate to sign.

These are not exactly moderates we’re talking about. They’re only slightly less extreme than the movement neoconservatives with which Bush surrounds himself. Viguerie and Barr were both vocal defenders of Reagan’s Iran/Contra operation, and Barr wasn’t exactly the Voice of Reason when he was in Congress. He played the part of hack and did what he was told.

So is this real or a PR play for sympathy and a plea to be allowed back into the reality-based community in time for the ’08 election?

At this point, I’m leaning toward the latter, but I’m willing to be convinced.

Update 6/17/07: In the “I Shoulda Knowed” Dept, Sideshow‘s Avedon Carol explains what’s actually behind this apparent anomaly.

[T]hey’re especially worried about putting the power of a runaway executive into Hillary Clinton’s hands.

Now it makes sense.

Leavitt Asks to Meet with Dead Senator

From the WaPo:

Maybe Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt and his staff are just in denial. Or maybe they don’t read the papers, thus missing the sad news that Sen. Craig Thomas (R-Wyo.) died Monday, seven months after he was diagnosed with leukemia.

Whatever the case, Leavitt’s office called Thomas’s office late Thursday afternoon to request a meeting with the late senator.

Needless to say, grief-stricken Thomas staffers were stunned. One aide to Thomas sent the following e-mail to a friend (both names have been redacted):

From: (Thomas staffer) <@thomas.senate.gov>
To: (Staffer’s friend)
Sent: Thu Jun 07 16:49:36 2007
Subject: RE:

Oh yeah, note to Secretary Levitt’s [sic] office: Senator Thomas passed on Monday, 4 June. You may want to pass that along to his staff especially after they called today to get a meeting with the late Senator.

Call me if you’d like, really unbelievable!

These guys are so deep in the bubble, so insensitive to anything going on outside it, that they didn’t even know Thomas – a Republican, one of their own – was sick, let alone that he had died. An HHS flack tried to put the best spin possible on it, of course.

HHS spokeswoman Christina Pearson says she does not know who from the agency called Thomas’s office to set up a meeting but she acknowledged “obviously it’s a mistake.” She added, “Senator Thomas is held in the highest regard by the secteray [sic] and this office.”

Such high regard that they couldn’t be bothered to find out that he had been diagnosed with terminal cancer 7 months ago, let alone that he had died. Somebody was ordered to arrange a meeting because they needed him for something. Until the moment they wanted use him, they couldn’t care less.

Continue reading