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GOP Rep. Blocks Bill To Free Genarlow Wilson

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Genarlow Wilson is still serving ten years for a BJ. I recently blogged about the insanity of sentencing this teenager to ten years for consensual oral sex with another teen. Wilson is still behind bars despite recent efforts to pass legislation to free him. According to today's New York Times:

Senator Emanuel D. Jones, a Democrat, sponsored the legislation, which would make it possible for judges to reconsider the cases of hundreds of young adults, including Mr. Wilson, who are serving long mandatory minimum sentences in prison for having consensual sex with teenage minors. Mr. Jones said the bill was mysteriously left off the agenda of the Senate Judiciary Committee last week.

And on Monday, the Senate's leader, Eric Johnson, publicly denounced the bill and said that although Mr. Wilson, now 20, was serving a harsh sentence, he deserved no leniency.

According to Wilson's lawyer BJ Bernstein, the bill which would have freed this young man as mysteriously vanished from the agenda of Georgia's Senate Judiciary Committee last week:

A rally, scheduled to show support for the legislation, also was called off, said lawyer B.J. Bernstein, who represents Genarlow Wilson. The bill was pulled off the calendar with no explanation, at least "nothing on the record," Bernstein told "I'm just frustrated."

Yesterday GOP lawmaker Eric Johnson wrote an op-ed criticizing the bill after he originally supported the bill:

Usually, society complains about sentences that are perceived as too soft. Granted, this sentence was harsh. But it was MANDATORY under the law. Life comes with accountability for our decisions. Genarlow Wilson could have selected different friends to hang with. He could have joined millions of law-abiding teens all over the country enjoying New Years' Eve without alcohol, drugs and sex. He could have left the hotel when "the fun" started. He didn't. He made a choice. Now his life has changed forever. That is sad. I hope other young men and girls will learn from this tragedy and avoid his errors.

Johnson admits the sentence his harsh and tragic, yet he remains willing to throw this young man's life away. As Johnson himself says, "life comes with accountability for our decisions". I say we hold Johnson accountable for his decision to continue this injustice. The Georgia legislature and its flip-flopping leader Johnson must be held accountable for this tragedy. The bill should be placed back on the agenda and Georgians should have the chance to correct this gross miscarriage of justice.

You can sign an online petition here and support Genarlow's legal defense fund here.

We need to help free Genarlow now!