Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Innocent until proven guilty?

I first became interested in the Innocence Project and other organizations working towards exonerating those wrongfully accused when I heard the story of Brian Banks. Banks was a standout player at Polytechnic High School in Long Beach, California. In 2002, Banks verbally committed to play for USC, and he was on his way to athletic stardom.

However, during the summer before Bank’s senior season at Poly (2002), he was arrested and charged after a classmate (Wanetta Gibson) accused him of kidnapping and rape. Banks was faced with a possible 41 years to life sentence. He chose to accept a plea deal that included five years in prison, five years of probation, and registering as a sex offender.

Forget football, Banks’ life was ruined. Or so he thought.

In March 2011, Gibson met with Banks and admitted she had fabricated the story. Banks was recording the conversation and with the tape and help from the California Innocence Project attorneys, Los Angeles County prosecutors overturned Banks' conviction on May 24, 2012.

As of April 3, 2013, Banks has signed with the Atlanta Falcons. He will begin off-season workouts later this month in hopes of gaining an insider linebacker position.

Banks now serves as a spokesperson for the California Innocence Project and is working on a documentary to tell his story.

For more information, click here.

Status of SB 89 in Austin: Since my last post, SB 89 still remains in Stage 1 (Filed). On April 18, 2013, another co-author was authorized: On motion of Senator Ellis, Senator Hinojosa will be shown as Co-author of SB 89.

Brian, Banks, Long Beach, California, Atlanta, Falcons, Poly, USC, Los Angeles, exonerate, Wanetta, Gibson, innocence, project, commission, NFL, DNA, football

Henrietta Williams

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