Ex-football star released after 6 years in prison
May 24, 2012 12:13 PM   Subscribe

Brian Banks was just about to enter his senior year at Long Beach Polytechnic High School, one of the strongest athletic schools in the country, as a heavily recruited 6'4, 225 pound linebacker. However, on July 8, 2002, Banks was accused of kidnapping and raping a female student and was forced to leave the team. He later pleaded no contest to the charges and was imprisoned for 6 years. Recently, his accuser recanted, and today, Banks was cleared of his conviction. Legal Filing (PDF)
posted by marcusesses (15 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Seems like an interesting and pretty fucked-up case, but most of the links here seem like they're kind of filler material and if the meat of the post is essentially "read this legal PDF" it might need to be presented a lot more in those terms, or with some good long-form journalism or analysis. Otherwise we've just got folks arguing about rape charges yet again. -- cortex



 
So, false accusations are bad? Got it, but it still seems to me that the far, far bigger problem is the number of true accusations of rape and sexual assault that go unreported (in large part because of the hostility generated by the mistaken belief that false accusations are much more common than they actually are).
posted by Zonker at 12:16 PM on May 24, 2012


That's one of the real problems by the "dog bites man" reporting of the news media; relatively rare events like this are overhyped, while the much more common reality of the underreporting, underprosecuted and under punished rapes is largely lost.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:18 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I sincerely hope they prosecute his "accuser" harshly. She deserves a sentence at least as long as he served.
posted by PJLandis at 12:18 PM on May 24, 2012 [5 favorites]


So, false accusations are bad? Got it, but it still seems to me that the far, far bigger problem is the number of true accusations of rape and sexual assault that go unreported (in large part because of the hostility generated by the mistaken belief that false accusations are much more common than they actually are).

Is that what this thread is about now?
posted by grobstein at 12:19 PM on May 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


So, false accusations are bad? Got it, but it still seems to me that the far, far bigger problem is the number of true accusations of rape and sexual assault that go unreported (in large part because of the hostility generated by the mistaken belief that false accusations are much more common than they actually are).

It is possible for the tragedy of false accusations (and wrongful prosecutions/convictions) to coexist with the tragedy of the pervasiveness of sexual assault. Acknowledging the former does not inherently undermine the latter.
posted by scody at 12:21 PM on May 24, 2012 [12 favorites]


This isn't dog bites man.
It was Banks’ word against Gibson’s. Banks was faced with an impossible decision at the time – either fight the charges and risk spending the rest of his life in prison, or enter a plea of no contest to one count of forcible rape which would result in giving up his freedom for several years. The likelihood that Gibson would ever change her story and tell the truth was slim, and the case was further complicated by the fact that she was in negotiations with her school district for a settlement of her lawsuit against the district. Gibson had alleged the school’s lax security provided an unsafe environment and led to the fraudulent rape. She had sued the district for several million dollars.

Although it would mean forever destroying his chance to go to college and play football, a lengthy probationary period, and a lifetime of registration as a sex offender, Banks, upon the advice of his attorney, chose the lesser of two evils when he pleaded no contest. He served his time in prison, remains on parole, and is currently registered as a sex offender.
Underreporting is a problem, but this is a big problem too.
posted by localroger at 12:22 PM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


False accusations are bad. You can end that statement there. There is no but; destroyed lives are destroyed independent of the victim gender.

One legitimate problem with going after false accusers who later recant is that you rather strongly disincentivize recanting.
posted by effugas at 12:22 PM on May 24, 2012 [7 favorites]


Anyway, this is not simply a "false accusation," but a scenario where a whole system of incentives lead a girl without apparent malice to accuse a sexual partner(?) of rape, and a system that was so stacked against the accused that he decided to plead no contest even though he was innocent of the crime.
posted by grobstein at 12:23 PM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


The issue isn't quite as simple as the media hyping false allegations, this was major enough news to appear in a major newspaper like the LA Times back in 2002. It may be hyped now, but it was hyped when he looked guilty too.

I don't think false allegations are as common as the MRA types make it seem, but they are a major problem both for the accused and for real rape victims trying to get justice so yeah these issues are intertwined.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:24 PM on May 24, 2012


Poor guy. How horrifying; I can't imagine what it would be like and I hope he gets some of his life back.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 12:24 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


And also: thank god for groups like the Innocence Project who work to help free those who are unjustly convicted of any crime. As grobstein says so succinctly, this involves "a system that was so stacked against the accused that he decided to plead no contest even though he was innocent of the crime" -- which has significant and horrifying implications for our justice system as a whole. This is one not uncommon way we end up with factually innocent people on death row.
posted by scody at 12:28 PM on May 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


Apparently she was concerned she might have to give back the $750,000.
posted by effugas at 12:28 PM on May 24, 2012


There's a lot more here than dog bites man. If you read the PDF you'll discover

1. She says she made up the allegation to prevent her mother from discovering she was sexually active

2. She says once the adults got involved they starting putting words in her mouth

3. She says her attorney told her to keep her mouth shut and let things take their course when she voiced concerns

4. She told a number of inconsistent stories

5. There was no forensic corroboration

6. Banks pled no contest to a charge of rape to avoid spending the rest of his life in prison
posted by unSane at 12:30 PM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


It is possible for the tragedy of false accusations (and wrongful prosecutions/convictions) to coexist with the tragedy of the pervasiveness of sexual assault. Acknowledging the former does not inherently undermine the latter.

The main problem though is that in a huge number of sexual assault cases, the evidence against the defendant rests almost entirely on statements made by the victim. The question of how likely it is for the victim to be lying or mistaken plays a major role in whether there is reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. If courts need to let many guilty people go free in order to prevent a small number of innocent people from being convicted then that has a major impact on how effective the court system can be in sexual assault cases, and that's an inherently hard problem courts have to deal with.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:31 PM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fucking send her to prison.
posted by ReeMonster at 12:33 PM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


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