Sorry Genarlow

The judge has ruled that state law prevents Genarlow from getting a bond.

A Douglas County judge ruled Wednesday Genarlow Wilson is not eligible for bond in his child molestation case, a development that could keep Wilson behind bars for at least several more months pending an appeal.

Superior Court Judge David Emerson issued an order canceling a July 5 bond hearing for Wilson. He cited a state law that prohibits appeal bonds for people convicted of Wilson’s crime — aggravated child molestation — and who have been sentenced to five years or more in prison. Wilson is now serving a 10-year prison sentence.

The usual suspects are outraged and crying racism that Judge Emerson refused to ignore Georgia law.


  1. griftdrift says:

    Maybe we could get some brave legislators to try to fix all the legal arcana.

    Oh wait. We tried that. And such brave men as Eric Johnson chose instead to continue spinning myths.

  2. Rogue109 says:

    Well, it’s at least good to see the Judge actually decide that the law should be followed and unfortunate that people like Dr. Francys Johnson of the NAACP and Rev. Joseph Lowery prefer to wallow in their own bigotry and immature behavior.

    DA McDade’s quote also points out another significant problem with this case: “I don’t know if Ms. Bernstein knows the law or not. I know the judge knows. This is a continuing saga in her three-ring circus. I don’t try cases in the media. It is not where you’re supposed to try your cases.”

    Meanwhile, Wilson’s attorney, B.J. Bernstein, is still available for interviews through The Guarisco Group…

  3. Rogue109 says:

    Griftdrift: Did those legislators request a copy of the tape or did McDade just decide to, without request, send them copies? I honestly don’t know…do you?

  4. drjay says:

    alright i’ve thought it for months–i’ll go ahead and say it–is that some kind of family name or something-it seems a bit odd-i’ve googled it and cannot find reference to any other human being named “genarlow” anywhere.

  5. The Comma Guy says:

    And of the 1,322 men and women who are in prison for aggravated child molestation charges, 967 are white, 344 are black and the rest are of other races.


    Now that’s a pretty interesting stat, especially as many are making the rounds nationally claiming that Georgia is a bunch of backward racists.

  6. griftdrift says:

    I honestly don’t know Rogue. All I know is Eric Johnson admitted a copy was hand delivered to his office. Perhaps we can ask him if he requested it or if it was just provided. Nah. He doesn’t seem to be interested in answering certain questions.

  7. Rogue109 says:

    Griftdrift: OK, fair enough. We don’t know. Let’s just consider the difference then between B.J. Bernstein running to the camera and holding press conferences every day while all McDade does is potentially send video tapes to members of the General Assembly while they are considering revisions to the law, copies of which could very well have been requested.

    The difference is clear. Bernstein is an ambulance chaser of the worst kind and her client is the one suffering. Remember, per her website: “Her inside knowledge of the news business from her frequent appearance [sic] makes her uniquely able to advise clients on what to do when the tv cameras appear. ”

    Yeah, she’s unique, all right.

  8. griftdrift says:

    Yep, and McDade providing a copy of the tape to Fox 5 so they could show the thing wasn’t trying things in the press either.

    As far as providing it to legislators who are going to vote on pending legislation, well it may not cross the line of ethical misbehavior but it sure sniffs it.

  9. Rogue109 says:

    Griftdrift: Good point…I had forgotten about that from a few weeks ago. But should he allow himself to continue to be beaten up by the B.J. Machine (no pun intended)?

    And, come on now, there is nothing unethical about giving a copy of the tape to the General Assembly. It was an exhibit in the case which was part of the public record and not sealed. You are looking for fault where none exists.

    Don’t let it be so hard for you to admit that B.J. is the problem here…okay, that pun IS intended.

  10. griftdrift says:

    I am not here to defend B.J. Bernstein but by God I will not stand idly by while DA McDade is being knighted.

    If memory serves, it is not a public record because it involves minors. I doubt you could get it or I couldn’t get it. The fact that remains is that there are God knows how many copies of a teenage sex tape now floating around this state now. And that lies directly on the doorstep of McDade.

  11. Rogue109 says:

    The defendant may be a minor, but he was tried as an adult. Different standard for sealing the file, I believe (stressing the word *believe* because I’m not 100% sure). And have you seen any copies of the tape where the identity of the victim has been revealed?

  12. griftdrift says:

    None where it was revealed but Fox 5 came tortuously close to the line in their broadcast. And it’s not Genarlow that would make the difference in its availability. It is the presence of the 15 year old girl. But I am not 100% sure on the legality here either.

    As farr as who has seen it, I’ve repeatedly asked for a show of hands. It’s amazing how many times I’ve been told, if you just see the tape you will change your mind. So just exactly who has seen the tape?

  13. Randy Lewis says:

    The tape was introduced into evidence at the trial. That makes it a public record. As long as the minors are not identifiable, it should be available for anyone to view — as should be all evidence used to convict a person. In this case, the video was a primary piece of evidence as that it was produced and supplied by the accused.

    Grift, you seem be saying that if the prosecuter keeps providing this accurate evidence of a crime, that there is no way that the accused can get away with a crime. Boo Hoo.

  14. Rogue109 says:

    Griftdrift: You do keep focusing on this issue: “So just exactly who has seen the tape?” Understood, but really…who cares?

    The real question is why is counsel for the convicted seemingly ignorant about the law? I don’t mean just rusty…she is running around talking about the millions she has raised for a bond in a situation where no bond can be granted. She is demanding that McDade consent to a bond…when under the law he can’t.

    She also knows darn well that the law has Wilson in custody legally. That doesn’t seem to stop her, either. Just plain curious for a lawyer.

  15. griftdrift says:

    BS Randy and you know it. I’ve been very clear in my position on this for a long time and its disingenous for you to come here and try to misrepresent it. But there’s a lot of misrepresenting going on in these parts.

    The tape was provided to Republican legislators who then intentionally misrepresented the facts to suit some political agenda. Even to the point of Eric Johnson subtlely accusing the Wilson jury of misconduct.

    I have never stated that he was not accurately convicted of the crime or that the tape in any way exonerates Wilson. I have only pointed out the fact that DA McDade seems to have selectively provided that evidence in a campaign to inflame visceral reactions.

    There is no doubt he convicted accurately. There is also no doubt the law under which he was convicted was unjust as evidenced by the legislature changing it.

    Now, strangely we have a DA providing the most inflammatory evidence in the case to one of the most powerful men in the state and he promptly goes on a crusade to label Wilson as a “predator”.

    That is all I have ever said.

  16. The Comma Guy says:

    Griftdrift: when you asked the DA’s office for a copy of the tape, what was their response? Or did you ask the Douglas County Clerk’s office for a copy?

  17. Burdell says:

    Erick, at what point would you consider it acceptable for a public official (legislator, judge, whatever) to say, “Yes, this may be the law, but the law is wrong.”?

    The reason why Eric Johnson cannot absolve himself of responsibility by hiding behind “Georgia Law” is that he is a leader in the making of Georgia Law. That makes him directly responsible for what the law says. He is in a unique position to change it.

    Attorney General Baker cannot absolve himself of responsibility by hiding behind “Georgia Law” because he was elected for the very purpose of using discretion in enforcing the law. If his job is to follow the law to the letter always, there is no need for an elected position. Nor would there be any resources left in the state for anything else. State executive officials have a duty to the people to selectively enforce the laws of the state to the maximum benefit of the public good. Baker is in a unique position to make a policy statement for justice in this case, and he has refused.

    Judge Emerson is similarly in a unique position. Apparently in citing the law that prohibits “appeal bonds for people convicted of Wilson’s crime…and who have been sentenced to five years or more in prison” to deny the hearing, Judge Emerson has forgotten that the unjustness of Wilson being sentenced to more than 5 years in prison is the very issue behind this case. Can a Judge never say “the Law says ‘this’ but I will not do that because it is wrong”?

    Lastly Rev. Lowry and his lot are not doing anybody any favors by yelling racism. Cowardice, buck-passing, refusal to do what’s right, maybe. But the stats above indicate that this is simply the natural result of an ill-thought out and even more ill-applied law than rather than bigots in high places.

  18. Randy, the DA doesn’t show the tape because of the child predator part, he shows it because he believes it is graphic footage of a rape, which the jury found Wilson not guilty on.

    It is two separate incidents, two separate girls. The incident that Wilson was convicted on has been changed to a misdemeanor, the other incident was and remains illegal — but Wilson was not found guilty.

    Since the DA believes Wilson is guilty of rape in the second incident, and since the tape doesn’t look good for Wilson’s case (but again, a jury didn’t agree) he is using that as a way to keep him in jail by showing it to the media and legislators.

    Legislators were going to change the law to make it retroactive and the DA went to Eric Johnson and others and said if you change the law he’ll get out of jail but he deserves to stay in jail because of the rape wink wink nod nod.

    So really the tape has no business being shown, certainly not the portions where Wilson was found not guilty by a jury. It’s shameful that the legislators are helping McDade hold a grudge by not changing the law, but that’s essentially the bottom line here.

  19. Rogue109 says:


    “[A]t what point would you consider it acceptable for a public official (legislator, judge, whatever) to say, “Yes, this may be the law, but the law is wrong.”?

    For a legislator…whenever he wants. He can try and change the law.

    “Can a Judge never say “the Law says ‘this’ but I will not do that because it is wrong”?”

    Yes, he can never say that.

    Again, why is this so hard for everyone to grasp?

  20. Rogue109 says:


    Sorry to comment on your posting twice, but this quote from you is simply incredible:

    “State executive officials have a duty to the people to selectively enforce the laws of the state to the maximum benefit of the public good. Baker is in a unique position to make a policy statement for justice in this case, and he has refused.”

    They have a duty to SELECTIVELY enforce the laws of the State? Who the f*** is going to decide which laws to selectively enforce? And what if someone else thinks that a law should NOT be selectively enforced? Should Ben Harbin’s DUI be SELECTIVELY not enforced because some prosecutor thinks he’s such a super legislator and that having him out of jail is best for the “public good”?

    Baker is in NO position to make “policy statements for justice,” he took an oath to uphold the law. That means just that. What do you think happens when people start to take the position that the law can be selectively ignored?

    WTF…I can’t even believe I have to write here that it is important that society follow the law and that we are a nation of laws, not men. Burdell: learn thee some civics (grin)!

  21. Rogue109 says:

    Bill: Excellent point. Yes, the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court have jurisdiction to toss out laws if appealed by an attorney as party to a case. For instance, last year the “tinted window” statute was thrown out for vagueness…and rightly so. However, for example, a trial court judge would not have any authority to ignore the law in a situation like that.

    Thanks for keeping me honest (grin).

  22. Decaturguy says:

    Prosecutors and the Attorney General selectively enforce the law every single day on their jobs. They have to. They have to choose what cases to purse, how hard to pursue then, which cases to get plea deals and, yes, what laws to enforce. There are only so many resources at their disposal. If you can’t understand that then you don’t understand life in the real world.

  23. bowersville says:

    We (ya’ll) can argue DA, AG, Superior Court Judge, Defense Attorney, Senate, House Gubernatorial pardon, parole, public access to evidence (video), plea deal, sentence, bond, evidence, conviction, jury trial, public opinion…’till hell freezes and Genarlow is still behind bars.

    What is the solution?

  24. Burdell says:

    Rogue, Decaturguy beat me to it. The issue is finding a balance between our civic ideals and the reality that state resources (like all resources) are scarce.

    Part of Civics is not only following the law but exercising the discretion to know when following the law is wrong. The law has permitted and even commanded many bad things in the past, here and elsewhere, and we frequently commend those with the courage to challenge such injustices.

    Why can’t we do the same in this case?

  25. Darth Mike says:

    Rogue 109, you write:
    “[A]t what point would you consider it acceptable for a public official (legislator, judge, whatever) to say, “Yes, this may be the law, but the law is wrong.”? For a legislator…whenever he wants. He can try and change the law.”

    “Can a Judge never say “the Law says ‘this’ but I will not do that because it is wrong”?”

    Yes, he can never say that.”

    I hate to diagree with you. First, let me say that I am a trial attorney. I have worked as an Asst. DA, and now as a defense attorney.

    I can tell you that DA’s make choices every day about what laws they will prosecute and what they will not. You can call this selective prosecution, wrong, whatever, but I call it reality which I have seen first hand. This includes little crap like not prosecuting misdemeanors when you have a major felony case (not wanting to have the jury to have a compromise verdict) and it includes policy to not follow federal immigration laws by reporting to ICE when you have an illegal in the courtroom. Selectiveness in enforcing the laws is
    a fact of everyday life.

    I have had a judge sit in a court room in open court, perform an illegal act in favor of a defendant for which he did not have power to do so, and when I challenged him, he turned and looked at me and said “Appeal me…just appeal me.” He knew that if the Defendant does not complain, and my superior does not want me to rock the boat by appealing him, he can choose to do whatever he wants.

    “Illegal” actions happen every day in court. If the DA does not appeal, and the Defendant does not appeal, then there is noone to actually call it illegal.

    Right…no. Reality…yes.

    Besides, I thought that the idea of your argument that following a law that you believe to be illegal or wrong because “you were just following orders” went out of style after Nuremburg.

  26. Rogue109 says:

    Darth Mike: WOW, you’ve been a DA and a defense attorney! Holy Zoinks! Wait… have I. And I haven’t seen any laws in Title 16 or Title 40 that I felt were illegal. If you willingly did not appeal a Judge who broke the law because your former bosses Spencer Lawton or David Locke told you not to, then you are unprincipled. You swore an oath to uphold the laws of the State, not to keep bosses happy.

    By the way, I note on your fab website that you “graduated from Mercer’s Law School after only 3 years[.]” Wow…only three years, eh? Wait a second. Isn’t that how long law school is for everyone?

    Decaturguy and Burdell: Listen, y’all, I get your point. Really. I guess I just don’t see anything improper about that sentence to begin with. Part of civics may be not following the law when it is wrong…but we are past that point! The jury has already made it’s finding! Some here continue to ask what the solution is and it’s simple: (1) Wilson takes the plea deal which the AJC is reporting this afternoon WILL NOT require him to register as a sex offender or (2) get the General Assembly to make the applicable law retroactive! We aren’t talking about just Wilson here but the hundreds of other people who have been properly convicted under the law of the same offense! The AG made the right call and can’t selectively ignore the law for Wilson and then turn around and say that the 1,000+ similarly situated people should stay in custody.

    OK, ya’ll get the last word on this one. Have at it.

  27. Burdell says:

    My last word will be address a point you just made and that I have heard before, regarding the 1,000+ similarly convicted people.

    The question arises in my mind, that if Wilson is caught in this trap, and the legislators who wrote the law acknowledge the uni9nteneded consequences as not what they intended, then how could it possibly be a bad idea to open the door to reevaluating these 1,000+ similar convictions? Odds are, most of those appeals would be denied or never happen, but if we find even one more person in the same situation as Wilson, but who doesn’t have a media-friendly attorney, then the right thing will have been done.

    To sum up, yes in an ideal world we would have perfect laws given by infallible lawmakers. But in the real world legislators make mistakes, creating laws that have numerous unintended consequences that unjustly harm people.

    GK Chesterton once said “The horrible thing about all legal officials, even the best, about all judges, magistrates, barristers, detective, and policemen, is not that they are wicked (some of them are good), not that they are stupid (several of them are quite intelligent), it is simply that they have got used to it. Strictly they do not see the prisoner in the cok; all they see is the usual man in the usual place. They do not see the awful court of judgment; they only see their own workshop.”

    Every argument so far against Wilson has been from this “workshop” mentality. “The law is the law, and I have no choice in the matter.” At some point in this, a judge, or a District Attorney, or a legislator, or the Attorney General, or even the Governor could have said, “Sentencing a 17-year old kid to ten years in prison for consensual oral sex is simply unjust; it does not reflect the standard of fairness that our legal system must maintain to remain legitimate.” and then done something about it, instead of hiding behind the Law, as though the Law is a supreme Rule that is neither of or by men, but over them.

    This plea deal is a good development, but details still seem to be scarce. Merely accepting a deal because it is offered, however, does exactly what Chesterton warned against: it changes the legal system from an “awful court of judgment” to the personal “workshop” of District Attorneys.

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