Wrongful convictions send people to prison for crimes they did not commit. Wrongful convictions take months and years of liberty away from innocent men and women.
On this past Thursday, local prosecutors and law enforcement personnel learned first-hand about wrongful convictions from a man wrongfully convicted in 2002 and exonerated a decade later in 2012.
Brian Banks, a former local high-school football standout with scholarship offers from Division I colleges, was convicted of rape in 2002 based on allegations made by a high-school acquaintance.
Facing a potential forty-one year sentence, Mr. Banks entered a plea no contest to the charges and was sentenced to six years and forced to register as a sex offender. He served five years in prison and five years on probation.
In 2011, Banks’ accuser, Wanetta Gibson, recanted her allegation that Mr. Banks raped her. Eventually, in 2012, Mr. Banks was formally exonerated.
Speaking to a forum of prosecutors and police, organized by a Long Beach City prosecutor, Mr. Banks discussed his experience, his wrongful conviction, and the criminal justice system.
Mr. Banks encouraged prosecutors to scrutinize the facts of cases more closely and to remember that every defendant charged with a crime is a human being. After his exoneration, Mr. Banks was hired by the NFL’s corporate office to work as an ambassador to young players and the general public.
Mr. Banks also works with the California Innocence Project.
The criminal justice system is not a perfect institution and criminal convictions carry serious consequences.
If you or someone you know is being investigated or has been charged with a crime, then contact the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney today.