Olens, Teilhet, & Wood on Wilson

Sounds like a law firm, doesn’t it?

Who would have predicted over five years ago that our future leaders would still be talking about Genarlow Wilson? Such is the case. The Democratic and Republican candidates for Attorney General were asked how they would have handled the Wilson situation this past Tuesday night during a Southern Polytechnic State University sponsored debate.

Preston Smith and Ken Hodges apparently were not present, but the other three candidates all took slightly different approaches to the question:

Former US Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, Max Wood indicated Baker did the right thing.

“What you do is you follow the law,” Wood said.

“That’s what Thurbert Baker did, and I think he did the right thing. I don’t think you make a decision based on popularity. I don’t think it matters where the resistance comes politically, whether they’re black, white, ministers or laity. You look at the law and do what you think is right. He was defending the Georgia laws that existed at that time, I think he did the right thing. I agree with what he did,” Wood said.

The lone Democrat and State Representative Teilhet took the opposing stance, indicating that Baker’s actions were not appropriate.

“I absolutely would not have filed that petition to keep that young man in jail. I just wouldn’t have done it,” Teilhet said.

“Ten years was completely disproportionate to what happened,”

Sam Olens, the former ARC Chairman and other Republican present, arrived at the same result as Teilhat – but with a more nuanced approach.

“That was a discretionary appeal. In my judgment, the appeal should not have occurred on the habeas petition. In my judgment, when you look at the proportionality of the sentence, the appeal should not have occurred,” Olens said.

Olens said there is a larger issue for Baker in that case, and that was his “total failure” to communicate what he was thinking.

“When the ministers went up to him and said, ‘why are you doing what you’re doing?’ he told them he was the attorney general,” Olens said.

You can read the full story in The Marietta Daily Journal.


  1. HowardRoark says:

    Lawyers are worse then economist. Put 3 in a room and get 6 opinions.

    Good point, though Ron. I’d forgotten all about Genarlow Wilson. I’m sure this is a much bigger issue on the (D) side than the (R), however.

  2. Doug Deal says:

    Wood’s answer is at the core of why i decided to support him. He seems to understand that it is the legislature that makes the laws not the attorney general or the courts.

    If you do your job properly, you should sometimes be disgusted with the result because it is not up to you to determine the laws of the state.

    Plus, this case is a perfect example to demonstrate Olens’s lack of experience for the job. His reply sounded like a poor student being asked a difficult question so they just restate a bunch of buzz words to make them sound like they know something.

    At every opportunity he says how criminal law experience is not neccessary for the job, because so much of the work is civil. Clearly that is not true.

    A habeus petition is considered civil, even though it comes out of a criminal case. Lots of things happen in criminal cases that have “civil” implications attached to them, but they are still criminal at their very core. Of course there are not many habeus petitions when suing doctors and small business owners for malpractice and person injury case.

    The voters of the state can choose to turn the AG office into a stepping stone for Olens, who has always dreamed of higher office and in reality would rather be running for governor, but can’t because of that experience and credibility thing. Their other options is to turn the office around by electing Wood who has basically already done the job for 8 years as a US Attorney.

  3. JDW says:

    Max Wood hit the nail on the head. He is absolutely right. An attorney’s job is to go where the law takes you. It is the duty of the Attorney General to enforce the laws of Georgia. Sorry Olens, wrong again.

    • Doug Deal says:

      Well, he’s learned from the Ox, “you sometimes have to pander to the crowd”.

      Oh wait, I mean “always have to pander to the crowd.”

Comments are closed.