Thursday, April 04, 2013

Good news for the day, no. 2

Brian Banks, a 27 year old rookie linebacker, signed with the Atlanta Falcons. This time of year, aspiring football players with little experience sign contracts all the time; most of them don't last past training camp -- so what's the big deal about Banks?

Ten years ago Banks was a prime high school football prospect on his way to play at USC when a woman accused him of kidnapping and rape. According to CNN, he was confronted with the choice of trying to convince a jury of his innocence and risking a 41 year sentence -- or pleading "no contest," serving a five year sentence and a long stretch on probation, and being permanently stigmatized as a sex offender. He took the plea, even though he always claimed to be innocent.

Ninety-five percent of criminal cases are resolved through such plea bargains. A friend explained his job as a deputy DA:
If defendants play along and agree to spare the state the effort and cost of a trial, we repay them in time. If they insist on their rights, we get tough.
The courts wouldn't work if most cases didn't end before trial. But when prosecutors threaten to "get tough," defendants have to calculate their odds, even innocent defendants.

In fact, Banks didn't rape the woman. Ten years later, she recanted her claim. There had been no crime.

So Banks has spent the past year beating his body into football shape and has won a chance from the Georgia team. No wondering he's beaming in his XONR8 sweatshirt:

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