Take the case of Brian Banks, for instance.
Ten years ago, Banks, a young high school football player whose talent promised to be a bright line to NFL stardom, was accused and convicted on kidnapping and rape charges. Banks served more than five years in prison and was out on parole, when the truth of what he had been trying to prove for all these many years, was substantiated - he is innocent.
"Wanetta Gibson was 15 and Banks was 16 when they went to the “makeout spot” at Polytechnic High in Long Beach. He was also a 6-4, 225-pound linebacker being recruited by USC and other top football programs."
"The teenagers fooled around as teenagers do. But they did not have sex. Then they returned to class."
"“By the end of the day,” Banks said, “I was in custody.”"
"Football recruiters suddenly stopped calling, though that was the least of Banks’ worries. He faced up to 41 years in prison. Prosecutors offered a plea deal that would get him out in five."
"Even though there was no DNA evidence, Banks’ attorney advised him not to take the chance of staying in prison until he was 57 years old."
"“She told me I was a big black teenager,” he said, “and no jury would believe anything I said.”"
"Banks spent five years and two months in prison. He had another five years on probation. Banks had to register as a sex offender and wear an ankle monitor."
Gibson, contacted Brian on Facebook while he was on parole, subsequently she confessed that she had lied, and that she wanted to help him, but was afraid she'd have to return the $1.5 million she received as a settlement based on the crime she accused Banks of committing.
Banks met with Wanetta, although she wouldn't meet with prosecutors, and recorded her confession. He, in turn took the recording to attorneys at the California Innocence Project, who took his case and back to the judge who presided over the original trial. The judge declared Brian Banks innocent.
Clearly that's good news. But there's more...
Banks whose scholarship to University of Southern California was lost because of his conviction, missed out on what by all accounts would have been a promising college career. After that, pro football seemed to be a foregone conclusion. That dream appeared to have died with his ordeal.
Well, not quite.
On April 3, Brian Banks signed a contract to play football with the Atlanta Falcons!
"Banks, 27, signed with the Falcons on Wednesday, giving him an opportunity he said he did not believe would be possible when he spent five years in prison and five years on probation following his conviction of rape and kidnapping charges a decade ago."