While members of law enforcement seem to have more technology at their disposal to help them track down the bad guys and make sure they have the right one in custody, the process of justice is still controlled by humans, and therefore errors are going to occur. The best we can do is minimize any chance for an innocent man to be wrongfully convicted and, if such a verdict is handed down, to make amends as soon as the truth is discovered.
In California, one young man is enjoying new freedom after being exonerated of a rape conviction that he faced nearly ten years ago.
Brian Banks was found guilty of raping a high school classmate in 2002. He served six years in prison, followed by probation and a spot on the sex registry after pleading no contest to avoid a potentially much longer sentence. He lost a scholarship to play football with the University of Southern California, instead spending that time behind bars. Banks maintained the fact that he never had sex with his accuser.
Doubt that a crime ever took place was heightened thanks to Facebook, when the supposed victim of Banks’ crime sent him a friend request through the social networking site in 2011. The California Innocence Project, an organization that already had been fighting to free Banks, noted this odd development. The accuser soon admitted that she never had been raped or kidnapped, as first claimed.
Banks has shared that he will be seeking compensation from the state but is not interested in pressing charges against the woman. He just wants to move forward with his life. In fact, he hopes to get the opportunity to play in the NFL. When you think about the many ways in which this young man’s education, professional dreams, and very freedom were stolen from him, and his ability to maintain a positive outlook despite it all, finding a team to give him a shot would be a great ending to a terrible story.
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