Thursday, May 31, 2012

Why Pardon? Exhibit 1, Brian Banks

Rick Reilly (ESPN) has written a fascinating, albeit sobering, piece on the story of Brian Banks. And what a story it is!

Banks was a 16-year-old star middle linebacker in 2002, and had already been offered a full-ride football scholarship at U.S.C. But he and a girl went to "make out" in a stairwell at school and, afterward, she claimed Banks had raped her. Banks had no criminal record. There were no semen traces and no witnesses. On the advice of an attorney, Banks reluctantly copped a plea and got six years.

Banks served 62 months, but his punishment was far from "over." He had to wear a GPS ankle bracelet (for five more years) and register himself as a convicted sex felon. As a result, he could not go near schools, parks or zoos. And, of course, he couldn't get a job!

His accuser got a $750,000 settlement from the school but, ten years after the fact, she admitted that she had not been raped. She had actually made the accusation as a kind of power play, in hopes that it prompt Banks to get back together with her!

Banks called the California Innocence Project to seek assistance in getting the rape conviction overturned. Reilly writes,
"on Thursday, May 24, in a Long Beach courtroom, Banks got his future back. What's the first thing he did, besides cry at the courtroom table? Snipped off the stupid ankle bracelet, the scarlet letter of our age. "Oh, man, when that thing came off?" Banks says. "There are no words." Then he went with Brooks' wife and kids to a place he couldn't have gone the day before -- Sea World. "It's so crazy to go from being labeled a monster to seeing your phone light up with all this support and offers and love," he said. "It's, really, a little hard to get used to."
Banks, now twenty-six years old, is suing the state for $100 for each day he was falsely imprisoned. And ... if the NFL doesn't pan out, Banks already has an offer to "work in the front office and explore other sports opportunities" for the Arizona Diamondbacks!

Reilly writes:
I don't know about you, but I can't remember another story that made me want to alternately punch something and hug something like this one. The way Banks has handled himself, without bitterness or bile, with grace and guts, makes you wish he were running the U.S. Senate. If it were me, I'd be stomping around, waving lawsuits and screaming, "I TOLD you I didn't do it!!!" "
Our view: The governor of California should pardon Brian Banks immediately. Mr. Banks most certainly should not have to apply for executive clemency. The State should declare his innocence loudly, unequivocally and apologetically clear his name with all deliberate speed. See full story here.

No comments:

blogger templates | Make Money Online