Brian Banks, the former Long Beach Polytechnic High School star whose football career was destroyed by a false rape accusation 10 years ago, wants payback.
The 26-year-old and his legal representatives are filing a petition that will ask for Banks to be paid back $100 for every single day of the five-plus years that he wrongfully sat in jail. And seeing as he had everything taken from him (college scholarship, promising football career, etc.) because of one girl’s puzzling decision to wreck his life, you can’t really blame him for making this move.
What is interesting, though, is who Banks plans on going after in order to get that approximately $219,000. It’s not his accuser, Wanetta Gibson; rather, he wants the payout to come from the state that imprisoned him – California.
"We do not plan on taking any legal action against Gibson," said Banks' attorney, Justin Brooks of the California Innocence Project, referring to Gibson. "We do plan on filing a state claim for the $100 a day Brian is entitled to under State Law 4900 for every day he was wrongfully incarcerated."
Approximately ten years ago, right around the time that Banks was getting sent to jail for a crime that he didn’t commit, Gibson’s family collected a hefty sum from the Long Beach school district for the incident. Initial reports listed that number as $1.5 million, but new reports indicate that it may have been closer to the $750,000 mark. (That’s admittedly a huge disparity, and we’re trying to figure out what the actual number is.) Either way, it appears as though Gibson’s family no longer has much or any of that dough.
Per the Times:
Legal experts noted it could be difficult for the Long Beach school district and its insurer to get the settlement back.
Then there is the reality of Gibson’s life.
Court records suggest she has few assets: She received public assistance for a time and her children, ages 4 and 5, still do, according to two suits brought by the county in an attempt to collect child support. Gibson, who could not be reached for comment, was ordered initially to pay a $600 a month toward their support. But in the last year, county officials said she didn’t have to pay anything, citing a lack of income and employment.
While the state of California is currently in pretty dire straits, the powers that be can probably find a way to scrape together around $219,000 for a guy who lost more than half a decade behind bars -- not to mention what could have been a promising football career -- through no fault of his own. The question of whether it’s fair that the taxpayers foot the bill for something like this is a reasonable one but, it’s also worth noting, it’s probably no less unfair than what Banks has had to endure over the last 10 years.