Man Waits in Prison Despite Court's Release

Genarlow Wilson sits in prison, pending appeal and bond hearing.

ByABC News
June 12, 2007, 7:57 PM

June 13, 2007 — -- Genarlow Wilson, whose 10-year prison sentence for having consensual sex with a 15-year-old when he was 17 was voided by a judge Monday, will spend at least three weeks in prison, according to a decision announced Tuesday.

Douglas County Superior Court Judge David T. Emerson set a bond hearing for July 5.

Wilson's attorney, B.J. Bernstein, told ABC, "I wish it were sooner, but I understand that the courts are busy and that we are not at the front of the line, and I trust in this judge. At the same time, this is a unique situation in which the court has already ordered his release." Bernstein added that she hoped the district attorney would finally consent and agree to the bond.

Wilson was disappointed to learn he'd remain in jail while the prosecutor in the case filed an appeal, his lawyer told ABC News. Bernstein broke the news to her client by phone Monday around 3:30 p.m.

"He already heard he had won, and people in prison were high-fiving him for his victory. I had to be the one to tell him that he had to stay in jail, and he wasn't going to get to go home with his mom."

Wilson met the news of his release and subsequent order to stay in prison with mixed emotion. "He was so happy about the court's order," Bernstein said. "When I told him he had to stay in prison, you could hear the disappointment in his voice. But he's trying to stay positive."

Douglas County District Attorney David McDade did not return repeated calls from ABC News Tuesday.

On Monday, Monroe County Superior Court Judge Thomas H. Wilson -- no relation to Genarlow Wilson -- granted habeas relief to the 21-year-old and ordered his release. The judge handed him a 12-month misdemeanor sentence, plus credit for time served. According to the decision, Wilson would not be required to register as a sex offender.

In his ruling Monday, Wilson wrote, "The fact that Genarlow Wilson has spent two years in prison for what is now classified as a misdemeanor, and without assistance from this Court, will spend eight more years in prison, is a grave miscarriage of justice." The judge added, "If this court or any court cannot recognize the injustice of what has occurred here, then our court system has lost sight of the goal our judicial system has always strived to accomplish justice being served in a fair and equal manner."