California Innocence Project client Brian Banks, pictured here at a May 25, 2012 event at California Western School of Law, signed a contract with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons today.
California Western Congratulates Brian Banks on Signing with the Atlanta Falcons
California Innocence Project client, exonerated of wrongful conviction last year, never gave up on his NFL dream
SAN DIEGO, April 3, 2013 - California Western School of Law congratulates California Innocence Project client Brian Banks, who signed a contract with the National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons today.
“Brian has been an inspiration to all of us here at California Western. I can’t thank him enough for the work he’s done advocating for the California Innocence Project,” said Professor Justin Brooks, director of the California Innocence Project. “As a client and a friend, I’ve had the privilege of observing Brian’s work ethic and passion for the game of football first-hand. I wish him the best of luck with the Atlanta Falcons; they have signed a great football player and an even greater man.”
“To lose it all and then to wake up one day and have it come back, it’s a very humbling, spiritual feeling,” said Banks in a conference call with Atlanta media this morning. “It’s something that you just don’t want to take for granted, and that’s why I work so hard now for the dreams I want to succeed in.”
About Brian Banks
Widely regarded as one of the nation’s top high school recruits at the age of 17, with a scholarship lined up to play for the University of Southern California, Banks was accused of the rape and kidnapping of a classmate in 2002.
Facing a potential 40 years-to-life sentence, Banks pleaded no contest to one count and served five years in prison, destroying his chance to go to college and play football. He then faced a lengthy probationary period and a lifetime as a registered sex offender.
Nearly a decade after his conviction, the accuser recanted her statements and has acknowledged that she fabricated the whole story. In its first post-release case, the California Innocence Project presented evidence of Banks’ innocence to the original trial judge, and on May 24, 2012 Banks was exonerated of all charges—free to pursue his dream of playing in the NFL.
Banks tried out for several NFL teams last summer, and played for the United Football League’s Las Vegas Locomotives shortly before the league disbanded. He continued training in the hopes signing with an NFL team, while working to promote the great work of the California Innocence Project.
About the California Innocence Project
Founded in 1999, the California Innocence Project is a California Western School of Law clinical program dedicated to the release of wrongfully convicted inmates and providing an outstanding educational experience for students enrolled in the clinic. The California Innocence Project reviews approximately 2,000 claims from inmates each year and has earned the exoneration of nine wrongfully convicted clients since its inception.
On April 27, 2013, California Innocence Project attorneys and students, along with exonerees and family members of the wrongfully convicted, begin a march from San Diego to Sacramento with clemency petitions for 12 of their clients who are innocent yet remain incarcerated. The Innocence March kicks off at California Western and finishes at the Governor’s office roughly 55 days later.
The public is invited to join the 600-plus mile freedom march across the state. For more information, visit http://innocencemarch.com/.