The Genarlow Effect Reverberates

A Macon Judicial Circuit Judge has rules the minimum sentence requirements for kidnapping unconstitutional based, in part, on the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Genarlow Wilson case. It also happened to be the judge’s last day on the job.

All kidnapping cases in the Macon Judicial Circuit are on hold after a Superior Court judge granted a new trial for a convicted kidnapper.

On the eve of his retirement, Judge Bryant Culpepper granted 30-year-old Christopher Adarryl Jones a new trial because he said the sentence, the most lenient allowed by law, was cruel and unusual punishment.

Culpepper compared the case to Genarlow Wilson’s 10-year sentence that was reversed Oct. 26 by the Georgia Supreme Court, stating,


  1. Bill Simon says:

    Putting this challenge to the minimum sentencing aside for a moment, let’s look at the sentence and the crime in a different light: Wasn’t the purpose of the sentence to A) punish the offender, and B) prevent anyone from actually doing the crime?

    Since kidnappers, murderers, and rapists (of the non Romeo-and-Juliet variety) go out and commit these crimes withour regard for what the sentence will be, perhaps we ned to change the way these lawbreakers are punished.

    I am in favor of public stonings and any other type of “Old World” punishments. But…I know, you “New World” folks who rejected the following of the Old Testament in favor of an easier way to live your life (i.e., not having to really worry about your sins on Earth) probably wouldn’t go for effective ways to punish offenders, would you?

  2. wmo says:

    Well, I would hope that the Wilson case and subsequent rulings open up a dialogue about the utility of mandatory sentencing in general, as opposed to guidelines. I don’t think this is the last ruling of this kind you’re gonna see, because there are a ton of judges out there who HATE mandatory minimums. Regardless of their general disposition for sentencing criminal offenders, every judge I’ve been before has had at least one case where they’ve felt that the minimum sentence was inappropriately harsh for that specific defendant/case.

  3. emma g says:

    when the legislature in its infinite wisdom passed the 2006 sex offender law, it included in the list of offense that require one to be on the sex offender registry both kidnapping and false imprisonment. As horrifying as both of those crimes are, they are not necessarily SEX crimes and should not require registration. Heck, “kidnapping” can mean moving a person from one room to another room in the same building against their will.

    When we load up the sex offender registry with people who are not true sex offenders, we dilute its usefullness and reliability by spreading already scarce law enforcement resources thin monitoring everyone ad nauseum. I would feel much safer if I knew law enforcement were keeping a strict watch over just those determined to be child sex predators.

  4. JRM2016 says:

    This will not be the last class of crimes whose prosecution is placed indefinitely on hold since the Supreme Court has sown confusion into our entire criminal justice system in attempting to right a perceived wrong and so…..

    For they sow the wind, and they reap the whirlwind

  5. wmo says:

    Since the Criminal Justice system was so free from confusion before the Wilson Ruling.

    emma g is on the right track, but it’s not just about the sex offender registry. It’s always easy for legislators to pass “tough on crime” legislation to score political points, especially when they’re not dealing with the day-to-day real world consequences of the legislation. It makes matters worse that these laws are added piecemeal, year by year. That creates confusion and inconsistency.

    But it’s not politically viable to propose a complete overhaul of the criminal code, it doesn’t make for good soundbites.

  6. BubbaRich says:

    It’s not just about generic “tough on crime,” although that is also an issue that tends to make the courts have to clean up messes made by the legislatures.

    The Genarlow Wilson case was a clear example of this same sort of pandering with “tough on crime”, but it was targeted at ONE PERSON. The legislature could have made the law apply to the ONE KID whose sentence would have been reduced from the ridiculous old law, but it intentionally made the old law apply to him.

    This mess was created by the legislature, not a court, and I’m glad one court finally cleaned up the mess the legislators created. Well, cleaned up the first mess, there are years of messes that will be left for courts to clear up still. And all because some stupid legislators wanted to “be tough on CRIME” for votes. Or actually, be tough on this one kid while they made sure that their own kids wouldn’t get such a ridiculous sentence.

  7. EAVDad says:

    The Wilson case — if it is precedent setting — would only affect a relatively small number of cases statewide (despite what Sen. “scarier than halloween” Johnson says). This guy is trying to get into the news.

    The Wilson case not only had an excessive sentence, but essentially a legislative acknowledgement of such.

  8. Rick Day says:

    This is a good thing. In order to ‘judge’ a judge must have discretion. MM’s (brought on by the Len Bias debacle) take away mitigating circumstances.

    It forces prosecutors to dodge divulging the extent of punishment, for fear or jury nullification.

    Mandatory minimum does not work, and is a boon only to prison builders and their vendors.

    Bull for this judge!

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