Two weeks ago, after Georgia AG Thurlow Baker appealed a judge’s order to release Genarlow Wilson, Al Sharpton decided to get involved. A few days after that, a Superior Court judge denied Wilson’s (and Baker’s) request for an expedited bond hearing and a speedy appeal hearing. A few days after that (last Thursday), Sharpton organized a rally in front of the Douglas County courthouse.
Longtime civil rights activist Al Sharpton headlined an energetic rally at the Douglas County courthouse Thursday in support of Genarlow Wilson, who is serving a 10-year prison sentence for engaging in oral sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was 17.
“Ten years in jail is not a correction,” Sharpton, a onetime Democratic presidential candidate, told a crowd of elected officials, clergy and other supporters that county authorities estimated at more than 250. “It is wicked… It is immoral… And it is illegal.”
Wilson’s mother, Juannessa Bennett, stood by Sharpton’s side as he spoke at the entrance to the county courthouse, where Wilson stood trial.
“The case of Genarlow Wilson … is a national issue,” Sharpton said, “because if they can establish a precedent in Georgia, it will be a precedent that we will have to live with in California, New York, Oregon and everywhere.”
“And as long as they can lock up her son,” he added about Bennett, “they can lock up your son.”
Douglas County District Attorney David McDade, whose office originally prosecuted Wilson, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
I’m not surprised. McDade is one of the two nitwits who created this situation and he’s been hiding from the press ever since. Sharpton’s rally may not have had any effect on him, but it had an effect on somebody. Today the State Supreme Court reversed itself and voted to hold both the appeals hearing and the bond hearing two months earlier than expected.
A hearing is now set in Genarlow Wilson’s case for July 20 at 10 a.m. In voting today, the court reversed an earlier decision to deny a speedier process, a ruling that would have delayed a hearing on the appeal until October.
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 habeas corpus last month. Wilson’s attorney is arguing his 10-year prison sentence is cruel and unusual punishment.
The 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.
Well, it’s a step in the right direction.