For months, even years, I have written about the plight of Genarlow Wilson, the young Georgia man sentenced to 10 years in prison for having consensual oral sex with another teen. He was sentenced under a legislative bill I authored that was severely altered during its passage and misinterpreted by prosecutors.
For my loyal readers who literally by the thousands wrote or commented in support of our efforts to free Wilson, I will not bore you with long details. The Georgia Supreme Court agreed with you and with those of us who argued that the sentence was insanely out of whack, or to put it more correctly, "cruel and unusual" punishment. Genarlow is a free man.
Several days ago I spoke with Genarlow. He was as gracious and kind as I expected. Contrary to those who might have thought otherwise, he did not blame his prosecutor or "the system." He acknowledged that he made a mistake -- but one that no one in their right mind would believe worthy of such punishment.
The best part about the end of this story is the very adult manner in which this young man reacted to the winning of his freedom. He has vowed to be a model for other young people, and to make them think about the consequences that can come from actions.
I also want to point out that Wilson's attorney, a tenacious woman named B.J. Bernstein, deserves great credit for having fought this legal battle with skills, in my judgment, equal to or beyond many other alleged "great attorneys," such as Gloria Allred -- and without the crass self-promotion. Wilson has been interviewed by all of the major TV networks, but Bernstein has refrained from taking the Allred-like position next to her client.
So this column is really about freedom and future. Which leads me to the other "G" in the headline, Newt Gingrich.
I recognize that for years I predicted Newt Gingrich would run for president in 2008. And I know that my tough words over the manner in which he exited the field this go-round either pleased or irked readers.
As I've often said, I'm the friend Gingrich often doesn't like because I write the truth. I thought the hazy mixing of his American Solutions effort with a hyped "imminent" announcement of a presidential candidacy that was then killed off in a matter of days did not make sense.
After looking into this more deeply, I have deeper reflections.
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