How many guilty people should go free before an innocent person is imprisoned? 10? 100? 1,000,000? All of them? Since 1987, over 2,000 people have been exonerated of crimes after spending hard time in prison in the U.S.
Take the case of Mr. Brian Banks. A 17 year old high school football star is accused of rape. He agrees to plead no contest as part of a plea bargain. There went the full ride to USC. Then, after spending five years in prison and another four on parole as a registered sex offender, his accuser admitted to making up the rape. Why was she afraid of coming forward? Her and her family had been awarded a $1.5 million (split 50/50 with the lawyer) settlement from the school district over the incident. Thankfully, Mr. Banks story seems to be developing a happy ending: he has attended tryouts and minicamp for several NFL teams.
Most falsely convicted individuals don’t fare so well in the end.
What about people whose reputations are destroyed by a mere accusation? They are found in a court of law to be innocent of all charges, but they have always been guilty in the eyes of the public.
The Innocence Project: http://www.innocenceproject.org/
NY Daily News Brian Banks: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/brian-banks-investigator-shot-accuser-confession-article-1.1092292
National Registry of Exonerations: http://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Pages/about.aspx