Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Think Tank Tuesday 1/12: Further Justice For Falsely Imprisoned

To be falsely accused of something is nerve wracking by itself so just imagine how much more dreadful being wrongfully imprisoned has to be. Even though the truth will eventually come out and some may be cleared of the false charges, there is no telling everything prison time robs people of.

Take the case of Brian Banks, a 16 year old NFL hopeful who did five years in prison for a crime he didn't commit:

[“...Her name was Wanetta Gibson. She was a friend. She was 15. We met, hugged, started talking and agreed to go to an area on our campus that was known as a make-out area,” Banks says. “We went to this area and made out. We never had sex.”

By the end of the day, Banks was in custody, accused of raping Gibson on the school’s campus. But we never had sex, Banks pleaded. Nobody believed him.

...Three years ago, Banks was checking his Facebook account and got a start. He had been home for four years working odd jobs, still carrying the label of sex offender. But there, staring him in the face, was a friend request. “It was her,” Banks says, “the girl who had accused me nine years ago.” Banks still doesn’t know her reasoning for selling him down the river when she knew they never had sex and there was no DNA trace on her underwear... 

“We don’t really know what the truth really is as to why she lied,” he says. “I never really got a clear reason.” Banks never had contact with her from the day they made out until that day on Facebook in 2011. He asked why she would request him. “I was hoping we could let bygones be bygones,” Banks says Gibson wrote. “I was immature back in the day, but I’m much more mature now. Let’s hang out. I’d love to see you. I’ve seen your picture on Facebook. You look real good. I would love to hook up.” 

 Banks obviously had no interest. His parole agreement didn’t allow him any contract with her. Banks called a private investigator and said he felt there was an opportunity for her to tell the truth and he wanted it recorded. “In the event that I violated my parole conditions coming into contact with her and was sent back to prison, I wanted them to at least know what was said,” Banks says. “I took a big risk. I knew this was the only opportunity to prove my innocence by her admitting she lied.” 

He invited Wanetta Gibson to the investigator’s office. They spoke with the investigator monitoring in another room. Banks wanted her to understand what she did to his life. He asked her to come back the second day to speak to the investigator. “Did he rape you? Did he kidnap you?” the investigator asked. Banks said she laughed it off and said, “Of course not. If he raped me, I wouldn’t be here right now. We were just young and having a good time, being curious, then all these other people got involved and blew it out of proportion.” It was all on tape. Banks took it to the California Innocence Project, which took his case and appealed it. One year later, three months before he was to come off parole, Banks was cleared.source

Read the entire story here!

What are your thoughts? Should people who lie and cause others to do time be put in prison? If so, what length of time would be appropriate a a punishment? If a person lied and caused another to go to jail, would putting them in prison for a minimum of the same amount of time be further justice for the person who was wrongly imprisoned?

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