NFLer Brian Banks To Speak At UVA About Innocence Project | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

NFLer Brian Banks To Speak At UVA About Innocence Project

Play associated audio

Brian Banks is a former NFL linebacker whose career was derailed by a wrongful conviction for rape. After he spent five years in prison, the woman who accused him admitted she had lied. Now, Banks is coming to Virginia to help the Innocence Project — an organization that helps inmates prove they are not criminals.

No one knows how many people are wrongly convicted each year in Virginia, but Matthew Engel gets many requests for help from people who insist they are innocent.

“It’s not unusual for us to get 20 to 25 new requests for help a week," Engel says.

Engel is Legal Director of the Innocence Project at the University of Virginia. One big problem in this state, he says, is the 21-day rule.

“Which says that three weeks after a trial court sentences somebody for a crime, the court loses jurisdiction to do anything about it, and that means that if 22 days after your trial you find that piece of evidence — whether it’s DNA, whether it’s an alibi, whether it’s a recantation — the court is powerless to do anything about that," Engel says.

Many things can go wrong for a defendant: faulty laboratory work, a bad defense lawyer, a coerced confession or a mistaken witness according to the Innocence Project’s Deirdre Enright.

“We now know that memory is not what we thought memory is, and we now know that people who are frightened are not focused at all," Enright says. "We've learned so much scientifically about memory and the mind, but the law hasn't changed at all.”

Former NFL linebacker Brian Banks, himself a victim of wrongful conviction, will speak Wednesday at UVA’s law school to raise money for an expanded Innocence Project.

NPR

Mega-Rich Invest In Works By Living Artists

Renee Montagne talks to art sociologist and writer Sarah Thornton about how the habits of the 1 percent reverberate across the art world. She is the author of 33 Artists in 3 Acts.
WAMU 88.5

This Week On Metro Connection: Down The Hatch (Rebroadcast)

We'll celebrate Thanksgiving by revisiting our annual show about food, glorious food.
NPR

Pentagon Expected To Release More Detainees From Guantanamo

Since the midterm elections, there has been a new batch of transfers from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and more releases are in the works. But a new GOP Congress could stall the drive to empty Guantanamo.
NPR

Millennial Doctors May Be More Tech-Savvy, But Is That Better?

Text messages from your doctor are just the start. Millennials are the next generation of doctors and they're not afraid to say "chillax" in a consultation or check Twitter to find medical research.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.