Monday, August 06, 2007

"Obama Speaks at SCLC Banquet"

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Saturday that the jailing of a young man for ten years for having consensual sex with another teenager is an "injustice" when White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was pardoned from his prison sentence.
Speaking at an awards banquet for the Atlanta-based Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Obama said, "How is it Scooter Libby isn't behind bars and we've got a young man in jail right now sentenced to ten years for something that isn't even a felony?"

He called for America to "turn the page" on a White House that would pardon Libby after he was convicted to two one-year prison terms for lying and obstructing the investigation into the leak of a CIA operative's identity.

He also called for justice for young black men, like 21-year-old Genarlow Wilson, who was convicted of aggravated child molestation following a 2003 New Year's Eve Party at a Douglas County hotel room where he was shown on videotape having oral sex with a 15-year-old girl. He was 17 at the time.

Though his sentence was overturned by a judge who called it a "grave miscarriage of justice," Wilson is still in jail waiting for the state Supreme Court to hear the appeal of his case.

The long punishment has prompted angry protests and led the state last year to change the 1995 sentencing law used in his case.

The new law makes it a misdemeanor rather than a felony for teens close in age to have oral sex, but the Supreme Court ruled the change could not be applied retroactively.



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