Mr. President - Commute Genarlow Wilson's Sentence genre: Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

Dark Justice

I've previously commented on the Genarlow Wilson case in Georgia. Wilson, when 17, was convicted of child molestation for having consensual oral sex with a fifteen year old. He was sentenced to ten years and remains in prison at 21 despite the fact that the Georgia legislature changed the law as a result of his case...but elected to not make the law retroactive to enable Wilson to get out of prison...and the fact that an appeals court recently ruled in his favor. Unfortunately, the District Attorney elected to appeal the latest ruling to the Georgia Supreme Court...meaning the appeal won't be heard until October.

The Rev. Al Sharpton embraced the mother and sister of a man serving a 10-year sentence for consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old, joining hundreds of supporters Thursday demanding his immediate release from prison.

Genarlow Wilson has been in prison for two years for receiving the sex act when he was 17 years old.

State Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan said Wilson's punishment was excessive and should be reduced, just like the prison sentence for former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, which was commuted Monday by President Bush.

"Genarlow is the face of many other young black men who have received injustice," Thomas Morgan said. "Somebody's got to stand up for them."

While I'm not a fan of Al Sharpton racing from publicity opportunity to publicity opportunity, this case has been seen as a tragedy of justice for some time. I mention the case again to highlight the degree to which the Scooter Libby commutation is an outrageous demonstration of favoritism.

Let me be clear. I would have no problem with the Libby commutation if the President had previously demonstrated an interest in identifying cases worthy of such actions. However, as I understand George Bush's record on pardons, while governor of Texas and now as president, he rarely gives them.

Are we to conclude that Libby's commutation arose as a matter of ordinary scrutiny...just coincidental that he happened to work for the Bush administration? Look, I'm generally a sucker for leniency...but I'm a purist when it comes to consistency. Inconsistency almost always indicates one thing...bias...and I hate bias of any type. I view the Libby matter as a blatant example.

Beyond that, George Bush has a questionable track record when it comes to judging those who serve in his employ. He has defended the incompetence and inappropriate actions of a number of individuals who subsequently had to resign...remember "Brownie"...the name and face associated with the fiasco called Katrina? He was the guy in charge while America watched thousands of people trapped in New Orleans without food and water...the man the President said was doing a fine job.

George Bush and cronyism have a special relationship...and the Libby commutation took it to the next level. If Scooter Libby's situation warranted a commutation, so be it...but that means its time to take an active approach to other injustices...and Genarlow Wilson would be a good place to start. Unfortunately, I won't be holding my breath.

Daniel DiRito | July 5, 2007 | 5:32 PM
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