Another tip of the hat to JanieBelle, who is suddenly occupying the role of News Girl of the Public Square, for sending this update on Julie Amero.
In a bit of guardedly good news, it seems that a judge has ruled that Amero’s original jury may have relied on some bad information and has ordered a new trial. Amero, a substitute teacher in Connecticut, was to be sentenced this week, and was facing up to 40 years in prison for exposing kids to pornography when pornographic images started popping up on a computer that two girls were using in her classroom.
From the Wired article sent by JanieBelle:
Judge Hillary B. Strackbein granted the motion for a new trial filed by Amero’s new lawyer, William F. Dow, after a state laboratory’s examination of the computer’s hard drive after the trial contradicted evidence presented in court.
“The jury may have relied, at least in part, on that faulty information,” said Judge Hillary B. Strackbein, according to the Associated Press.
I’ve written before that I thought the conviction and possible sentence were way out of proportion to the event that occurred in Amero’s classroom. Since the prosecution didn’t object to the motion for a new trial there is some speculation — reported in the Wired article — that they won’t bring the case forward. I hope that speculation proves true. But if the case does go back to trial, I hope to see a fairer proceeding and a more rational outcome. Amero did nothing criminal. The school’s computer was infected with spyware and Amero, while she might ahve acted more quickly and unplugged the machine or covered the screen, certainly did not intentionally subject students to pornography.
Today Wilson’s supporters were in court petitioning for his release. They report on the Wilson Appeal web site that the judge will issue his ruling on Monday. Watch that space (and this one) for information.
Genarlow Wilson is the young man, now 21 who was sentenced to 10 years in prison without parole — and lifelong registration as a sex offender — for having consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was 17. He has served more than two years of that sentence. Since his conviction of aggravated child molestation the Georgia state laws have been changed to make what he did a misdemeanor rather than a felony, but those laws were not made retroactive and so have not affected the outcome of his case.
The Georgia Assembly has grappled with that omission and, though hard to believe, some have actively argued that the new law should not be applied to Wilson or any others similarly situated. In fact, Georgia Senator Eric Johnson, who believes Wilson’s sentence to be just, continued to trot out the videotape of a rape that occurred at the party where Wilson’s sex act also occured — a rape Wilson was found innocent of having any part in — in such a way as to inflame the moral panic around teens and sex, and to conflate force and consent.
I hope the judge who presided over today’s hearings is a reasonable one.
Click here for all Sex in the Public Square posts that make reference to Genarlow Wilson’s case.
And a tip of the hat to JanieBelle for sending this CNN story on Wilson’s hearing today just as I was finishing this post!