Saturday, February 17, 2007

Lies on the Senate Floor

CNN tore into Eric Johnson tonight. What was Sen. Johnson thinking when he took the Senate floor and made a number of, uh, misstatements about the case of Georgia's Genarlow Wilson? (For those of you who have been living under the rock with Sen. Johnson, Wilson was sentenced to ten years in prison for having consensual oral sex. He was seventeen at the time, and the girl was fifteen.)

On the Senate floor, as Johnson opposed efforts to help Wilson, he falsely claimed that the incident in question was a rape. He did this despite the fact that the jury found Wilson not guilty of rape. All this placed Senator Johnson in an unwelcome spotlight tonight on CNN. The CNN reporter took the tape of Johnson's remarks on the Senate floor, and sentence by sentence, pointed out the errors. Then, the reporter interviewed Johnson. It wasn't pretty.

At one point, Johnson unapologetically said, "it was a rape in my mind." That pretty much sums up the problem. You're a legislator, Sen. Johnson. No one made you judge and jury.

The jury found Wilson not guilty of rape, but under Georgia law at the time, the jury had no choice but to find him guilty of aggravated child molestation. Since that time, the Georgia legislature, including Sen. Johnson, changed that law. It was Wilson's case that prompted the change in the law, but the legislature did not make the change retroactive to cover his case. This is an egregious situation. This young man is spending ten years in prison and faces a future labeled as a sex offender and subjected to the same restrictions as those that would be imposed on a fifty year old man who had oral sex with a young child. It's not the same. Everyone knows it's not the same. Apparently, everyone except Georgia lawmakers.

If justice means nothing, at least think about this reality: every dollar we spend "protecting" children from people like Wilson is a dollar we do not have to protect children from real sexual predators. What sense does that make?


Blogger said...

These laws are insane and need to be repealed and fixed to do what they were meant to do, protect the public from dangerous predators and pedophiles. These laws do not do this, they treat all sex offenders as if they murdered some child, which is insane.

Check out my blog and you can see the insanity of these laws.

Blogger said...

Sorry, I didn't do the links right:

There, that should fix it.

motogrrl said...

Linked to you in my Injustice In Georgia: The Case of Genarlow Wilson, part 2 column today.

Kathy (a fellow Georgian now in Seattle)