Ten years ago, Brian Banks, a high school football star from Los Angeles with a promising future, pleaded "no contest" to raping and kidnapping classmate Wanetta Gibson in a school stairwell. Despite the evidence to the contrary, Banks' attorney advised the youngster to plead "no contest" (which essentially is a guilty plea) with the assurance that he only would get 18 months, as opposed to a possible 41 years if he was found guilty.
Banks and his family did the math and he pleaded, and five years later, he still was in prison. After being released, the girl finally admitted to having lied, but did not want to publicly admit the truth because her mother had sued the Los Angeles School District and got $1.5 million. Having essentially stolen the money in the first place, they did not want to be faced with giving it back.
The various news stories have turned it into something in the human interest category, as though it were a heart-warming account instead of the cold-blooded lie that essentially took a young man's life from him. As I see it, the media is missing the real story, which is this: the entire system of "justice" in California, despite huge holes in the girl's story, was ready to assume that she was telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Why? As in the Duke Lacrosse Case, the various players in the system discarded forensic evidence, timelines, and the very Laws of Time and Space to rush to a judgement of GUILTY, but the rush is not simply a psychological event, but also a legal one, and one can trace a lot of the rush to federal law, and specifically the Violence Against Women Act.
In 1974, Congress passed the Mondale Act and the ultimate result was a huge rash of cases in which authorities were REQUIRED to rush to judgment no matter how outlandish the charges of child abuse and molestation. The Mondale Act and Violence Against Women Act were similar pieces of legislation, in that they promised federal help and money (lots of money) to states that were aggressive in pursuing child abuse/molestation charges and charges of rape and sexual assault against women.
Besides the money, Congress also stipulated that states change how they approach due process and how they viewed evidence. Before the VAWA, for example, many states required that with rape charges, there also be corroborating evidence because it was too easy for people to make false accusations. In order to be in compliance with both the VAWA and the Mondale Act, however, states had to just accept the word of a "victim," no matter how outlandish or dishonest the story might have been. In the Wonderland of federal law, the accusation alone is all the proof the authorities need for conviction.
To the feds and all of the activists that were behind these laws, no story would be considered outlandish, because everyone knew that all men were rapists or potential rapists and that all parents actually were secret child molesters (or at least those parents and men who did not have the proper political connections). We know the results, and they are ugly.
To the Progressive mindset that is behind the modern governing philosophy, both child abuse/molestation and rape were "epidemic" until Congress and the U.S. Department of Justice stepped in to put an end to the violence. Thus, any criticism of these laws or any attempt to restore due process of law or to demand that the rules of evidence actually require real evidence is seen as an attack on women and children.
Without the Mondale Act, there is no McMartin Case, no Little Rascals, no Tonya Craft, and no Creative Frontiers. There is no rash of false accusations of abuse/molestation in child custody cases, no Joal Henke and his "I just remembered" perjury, and James Combs does not plead guilty to a felony for something he never did.
Without the VAWA, there is no Duke Lacrosse Case because the investigation would have been very, very different. And Brian Banks would not have spent five years in prison, and thousands -- yes, thousands -- of other people would not have been falsely accused.
In the United States today, defendants face mountains of charges, courtesy of how prosecutors operate, so that conviction on any one of them can result in decades in prison. People come to understand that the system is stacked against them and that in this country, neither judges nor prosecutors nor those that govern consider innocence to be a legitimate defense.
Despite what one might see on the various "CSI" shows or see on TV or
the movies, police no longer do real investigations. In cases of accused
rape, sexual assault, child molestation or child abuse, police ARE
REQUIRED BY LAW to "investigate" as though the charges are true, which
means the bias always is toward "proving" guilt. One should not be at
all surprised that this federally-mandated method of "investigation"
bleeds off into other cases such as robbery and murder, which guarantees
not only that there will be a spate of wrongful convictions, but also
that the system will be utterly biased toward keeping such convictions
from being overturned, no matter how obvious it might be that the
defendants were railroaded.
As for Brian Banks, a number of people engaged in criminal behavior, beginning with Wanetta Gibson. However, the police and prosecutors engaged in false accusations and false charges, people lied to a grand jury that indicted, and prosecutors lied in court. Banks' attorney encouraged him to accept an outcome at odds with justice, and Gibson and her mother stole more than a million dollars from taxpayers, as did their attorney, who got at least a half-million dollars from the theft.
Unfortunately, false pleas are not limited to just these kinds of cases. I have a good friend who pleaded guilty to a number of things that both he and the prosecutors knew he did not do, but did so because had he not done so, prosecutors would have brought vague charges against him in the federal court in Washington, D.C., and he being a Jewish Republican, did not want to face a jury of mostly African-American Democrats.
That is the system we now have, and it cannot and will not be fixed. No "reforms" will work because too many people make too much money and the voices of justice and responsibility are drowned out by those who dominate our political and legal institutions.