Sen. Eric Johson’s “Take on Generlow Wilson” is Wrong

Earlier today, Georgia Sen. Eric Johnson wrote about the case of Genarlow Wilson and SB 37. For those not familiar with the case of Genarlow Wilson, check out these two sites.

Despite the fact that various notable extremist left-wing blogs are disturbed by Wilson’s sentencing, Sen. Johnson seems to think that justice has prevailed and that this is the “proper conservative way” of administering justice.

Sen. Johnson: I tremble at the thought of our state being run by people like yourself who believe this is justice. There is a concept in law called proportionality or lex talionis (that is, “an eye for an eye”). You may have heard about this concept as it comes from the Bible. The United States actually has a strong Christian tradition, especially in its judicial system, and part of that tradition has always included the idea of proportionality in sentencing.

It is for this reason that, unlike some countries that mandate cutting off hands for the crime of theft, our judicial sentencing has generally followed the idea of proportional sentencing.

Does Genarlow Wilson deserve to be punished? Absolutely. Is sentencing him for 10 years in jail for oral sex just? Absolutely not.

As a conservative Christian, I am horrified at this perversion of justice. There is nothing “conservative” about sentencing this young man for 10 years in jail. And there is nothing just about the sentencing either.

39 comments

  1. mainstream GOP says:

    I have to agree here, I like Eric Johnson..but this young man’s life has been ruined over something so miniscule…give him communitty service or probation, but 10 years in absolutley with out question insane.

  2. SpaceyG says:

    Many, even “extremist” (whoa boy on the silly, tired rhetoric) liberals like Senator Johnson it seems, but Johnson will win over no new friends and allies with his hardcore stance on Wilson. He’s swimming WAY against the tide of public opinion and sentiment on this one. He proceeds at his own political peril.

    And Lordy Hinton, can you guys here EVER make a point without all that incessant Bible thumping as superfluous backup? You’re a fine enough writer/opinionista without all that flaying about. Makes you look childish, like you’re off to freakin’ nursery school holding your momma’s hand every day.

    All that “I’m a Christian, but…” crap is really starting to annoy me.

  3. Will Hinton says:

    SpaceyG: do you comment here in the hopes of actually changing people’s minds or do you just come here to insult people? If you care about changing people’s minds, then you might think about couching your points in terms that others might understand. Sen. Johnson will likely discount everything you say because you don’t even make an attempt to understand his perspective or beliefs.

    I’m also amazed at your intolerance and insensitivity by mentioning my faith. Would you have a problem with conservatives or Christians complaining that a gay man always talks about his sexuality? Of course you would, because it is part of who he is. Christianity is part of who I am. Why should I (or anyone else) be expected to lay aside who they are when discussing an issue?

  4. SpaceyG says:

    Obviously you’re so busy delighting in being insulted that you missed the part where I clearly stated WHY I’d expect anyone to lay aside loose, empty, shallow rhetoric about being soooo righteous and Christian, and simply preening all over the place with one’s moral vanity.

    Again, since you missed it the first go ’round:

    Not only is it superflous, “(It) Makes you look childish, like you’re off to freakin’ nursery school holding your momma’s hand every day.”

    That’s why.

  5. David says:

    I’d like someone here to help me clear up something on this. Did the guy have sex with the girl when she was in various stages of consciousness? Meaning when she couldn’t possibly rationally consent. I’m not asking to make a dig or score a point, I just don’t remember. Thanks.

  6. memberg says:

    Will, I tremble at the thought of people with blinders on deciding what is justice. You’re worried more about the sentence than the underlying offenses. Genarlow was doing some bad shit and got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. I doubt justice would be served with mere community service.

    Basically, the only thing Genarlow is a victim of is his own pride.

  7. David says:

    From what I have now read, this punk is not being punished just for oral sex. Just like Clinton was not impeached for oral sex. There is much more here. This creep participated in a gang bang of an under aged girl in various states of consciousness. It was a predatory act by a bunch of animals. Ten years sounds fine to me. The jury apparently saw what we cannot. This kid is not the victim here, the girls were.

  8. Will Hinton says:

    David: while the jury agreed that Wilson was guilty, they were horrified at the sentence and felt that it was way too harsh considering the circumstances. I certainly don’t feel that community service would be enough, but 10 years???

  9. David says:

    Will, I’ll have to say the sentence, in my mind, was just. I know teenagers have sex all the time. We all hear of the girl down the block who’s “in trouble.” The part that troubles me is the repeated sexual acts that occurred while she was incapacitated. To me that’s not a whole lot different than someone taking advantage of a retarded girl, who as a result of her mental condition, can’t give the proper consent. I’m also sure that the guy’s conduct on the tape was a factor. While I haven’t seen it, I can imagine the comments, the laughing that might have also been on the tape’s audio. Again, I don’t know what the jury saw, but they were apparently disgusted enough to give him the sentence they did.

  10. griftdrift says:

    Umm David? Where are you getting your information? The incident was taped and the prosecutor showed CNN in the tape. In the tape the act is clearly consensual and the girl is clearly conscious. The jury acquitted on rape and convicted on an antiquated sexual assault statute. The only reason he got ten years is the statutes mandatory sentencing provision. Something the legistlature has since changed.

    Yeah, Wilson did some stupid things. But if we are going to start locking up 17 year olds for 10 years for smoking joints, drinking alcohol and getting blowjobs, I expect you to prepare yourselves to see some of your neigbors kids carted away. At least it would solve the overcrowding in school.

  11. jsm says:

    “And Lordy Hinton, can you guys here EVER make a point without all that incessant Bible thumping as superfluous backup? You’re a fine enough writer/opinionista without all that flaying about. Makes you look childish, like you’re off to freakin’ nursery school holding your momma’s hand every day.”

    Wow, Spacey. Do you feel the same about all those Founding Fathers who went about “thumping their Bibles” in so many of their speeches and writings? You seem quite intolerant of Christianity and any reference to it.

    Whether you like it or not, our Nation has a strong Christian tradition and was built with a strong Christian influence. To mention such is not childish–it’s astutely referencing underlying themes which shaped our laws.

    I think you’ll find that our Founding Fathers did not write the morality laws we wrestle over these days. Later generations apparently felt that government should regulate the morality of the people. This is why Mr. Wilson is in the situation being discussed here. Our laws should protect minors and those who are defenseless. However, making the punishment for one sexual act with a minor greater than that for another seems imprudent. These issues need to be dealt with, so that our laws support the real purpose of government and not merely the morals of those in power.

  12. SpaceyG says:

    David, the girl who gave the b-job in the Wilson case is on record as admitting that she initiated the act. Last I checked, she’s not doing ten years.

    If this is truly such a consensual situation, then it’s simply NO one’s damn business, let alone the showboating Douglas County prosecutor, Eddie Barker. It is vile and disgusting the lengths lawyers will go to for ten minutes of cheap, whoring publicity. Eddie Barker should be the one doing 10 years in the pokey, not Wilson.

    Atlanta Magazine’s, Chandra Thomas, was first with the story way back when:
    http://www.atlantamagazine.com/article.php?id=158

  13. SpaceyG says:

    JSM has a news flash:

    “Whether you like it or not, our Nation has a strong Christian tradition and was built with a strong Christian influence.”

    Wow… the things you learn on this blog!! Never had a clue…

  14. griftdrift says:

    I have heard of no evidence the girl was unconcious. I believe technically that would be rape. A charge on which he was acquitted. Did you watch the video?

  15. David says:

    For whatever reason I was unable to see the download you linked to, Grift. Another question that I do not know the answer to and would like help. What is the age of sexual consent in GA, 16? I’m thinking it is but not sure.

  16. Skeptical says:

    jsm: “I think you’ll find that our Founding Fathers did not write the morality laws we wrestle over these days.”

    Precisely. The Founding Fathers didn’t attempt to legislate morality for the sheer simple fact that they were trying to protect people from these nanny state laws that other generations have forced on the people of this country. And please people, let’s not get into the whole ‘but the Founding Fathers were Christians and this is a Christian nation with a Christian tradition’ crap. No they weren’t. And you know it. And I would be happy to discuss it with you, drawing upon the knowledge gained as I was receiving a degree in History with an emphasis in Early American (magna cum laude – yeah, I was lazy in my freshman year).

  17. Bill Simon says:

    While I agree with what Will has written in terms of this case, I must ask a question regarding his “eye-for-an-eye” theory: _I_ have been told MANY times by evangelical Christians over the past 17 years that the Old Testament (in which this phrase is used) is pretty much ignored in favor of what Christ’s teachings were in order to achieve living “a good life.”

    As a person of the Jewish faith, I happen to be ALL for “eye-for-an-eye” justice in this world, whether in politics or in life.

    But, Will, Christians loooooong ago rejected the Judaic law of “eye-for-an-eye” in favor of “loving the sinners.”

  18. SpaceyG says:

    And Will, if I was to take your counsel:

    “If you care about changing people’s minds, then you might think about couching your points in terms that others might understand.”

    then that would mean I’d have to go dumbing down my own personal babble with retard “couching” and worn-out cliches like this just mouthed by JSM: (And yes, most opinion writing is mere frothy babble. I might babble on, but at least I do not give myself “Christian” airs that it’s anything but opinion-prattle.)

    “Whether you like it or not, our Nation has a strong Christian tradition and was built with a strong Christian influence.”

    Seems there’s plent of “couching” for the sake of simplicity going on here already without me adding to that plebian mix.

    I could care less about changing minds. I do care about pointing-out pompous windbaggery though.

  19. Decaturguy says:

    I could care less about changing minds. I do care about pointing-out pompous windbaggery though.

    Great quote Spacey. I love it!

  20. Will Hinton says:

    Bill: you make a good point about the differences in Judaism and Christianity as it relates to “eye for an eye”. Not to get too theological on you, but Jesus made a point to say that he didn’t come to abolish the law but to expand upon the law. So I do believe that “eye for an eye” is correctly understood to be part of the Christian tradition, yet balanced with a sense of mercy as well.

  21. memberg says:

    Let’s get something straight about juries. They should NOT reach a verdict based on the possible sentence. That’s jury instructions 101. Secondly, except in death penalty cases (I think), the sentence isn’t up to the jury at all.

  22. I missed the part where Genarlow Wilson’s problems were all caused by State Senator Eric Johnson, and not the girl who accused Wilson of rape, nor the DA who prosecuted him, nor the jury who found him guilty of aggravated child molestation, nor the judge who sentenced him, nor the Court of Appeals, nor the Georgia Supreme Court, nor his own refusal to take a deal that would have lessened his sentence. I must have been asleep.

    Will and Spacey: It is just as wrong to demand “Christian justice” as it is to demand “majority opinion justice.” The vehicle to correct the wrong in this instance is the Board of Pardons and Paroles. Anyone petitioning them yet?

    And does anyone know if the two girls involved in this case have requested a reduction in Wilson’s sentence?

  23. Mad Dog says:

    Memberg,

    Always the rational voice. You’re no fun!

    I wish you had pointed out how this all started with the 15 year old waking up in the hotel room unable to remember anything about the night before. And, calling 911 to report a rape.

    Now that would start some commenting.

  24. jsm says:

    “And please people, let’s not get into the whole ‘but the Founding Fathers were Christians and this is a Christian nation with a Christian tradition’ crap. No they weren’t. And you know it.”

    Don’t bring this up again. We fought this one already. See [url=http://www.peachpundit.com/2006/09/25/christians-and-the-republican-party-in-georgia/]this thread[/url].

  25. Skeptical says:

    How exciting, jsm. I’m putting on my hip boots and wading in right now. I can’t wait to read through these musings…

  26. griftdrift says:

    No Mike, Eric Johnson is not responsible for Wilson’s situation. He’s just responsible for blatantly attempting to mislead the public first on the floor of the by God general assembly and then here on this very site. Practically everything he has said has shown to be wrong yet he persist.

    I believe the real point here is the only thing Senator Johnson is responsible for is holding up a bill that would allow a sensible correction of justice. No, I take that back., Senator Johnson is really responsible for being a jackass.

  27. HeartofGa says:

    I could be wrong here, but it is my belief that in Georgia, juries are not allowed to know what sentance their verdict may require. I believe that this jury had no idea that their finding would result in a mandantory ten year sentance and were shocked to learn that it did.

  28. HeartofGa says:

    Sorry Memberg. I got lost in the discussion of whole founding fathers/Christian thing. Skipped right over your comment.

  29. Mad Dog says:

    Is that the same Senator Johnson who refused to investigate sexual favors being exchanged for legislation?

    Back to the lobbyist and Glenn Richards and the $300 billion dollars gas pipeline… or was the 300 million?

  30. newworld says:

    I think I’m going to have to grudgingly agree.

    There truly is a big age difference between 15 and 17 because of everything that happens hormonally in that two-year span.

    With all of the videos they present in health classes in school, these young men damn well should have known to keep away from any young lady-particularly younger ones and particularly those under the influence-because of any future legal consequences.

    Let us not step away from the reasoning that the girl in question was a victim. Intoxication was absolutely her decision. Taking advantage of that intoxication was the decision of the young men. Apparently, the high-schools in Douglasville haven’t been doing their jobs.

    The sentence itself however is entirely absurd. Ten years? I know we need to set an example, gentlemen, but this is a bit harsh. I would go so far as to agree with it, though if it were not for the “sexual predator,” title the young man will carry with him for the rest of his life.

  31. SpaceyG says:

    Will: The only time Episcoplians like me seem to take religion seriously is during Lent. And even a mostly “secular humanist” will shuffle-off to Ash Wednesday services to begin these Christian high holy days.

    And hon, I heard the message from the pulpit yesterday, loud and clear ,about how we should be reflecting (a lot) during Lent on the things we’ve done wrong throughout the previous year, and asking forgiveness.

    I admit I was way out of line for attacking, personally, your religious convictions here. That was simply wrong, and I apologize.

    I know I can so easily be nothing but a little hate-monkey, on occasion; and for that I have no one to blame but my own self. (Well, maybe I will blame the blogosphere a little too, for inflaming the capacity to be so.)

    Giving up chocolate or booze or meat during Lent would be too much of a snap, compared to a real struggle to give up snark (for Lent only though), but I’m gonna try.

    And I’m gonna start by apologizing, sincerely, for having attacked your religious values and convictions. I’m sorry, because it was wrong to have done so.

    I hope you will accept my apology.

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