By Victoria Jones (NNPA/DTU Journalism Program)
The case of 20-year-old Stanford swimmer Brock Turner has been a hot topic across the nation since the public found out that he was only sentenced to a short six months in county jail after raping an unconscious and intoxicated woman in 2015. However, Brian Banks, a high school football player who was wrongly accused of rape when he was 16, and later convicted, is pointing out the disparities in his treatment to that of Turner’s.
In 2002 Banks was 16, when he made out with a 15-year-old girl at his high school in Long Beach, Calif. The New York Daily News reported, “by the end of the day, she accused him of rape. To this day, Banks doesn’t know why.”
Banks was tried as an adult in court. He was sent to juvenile hall for a year before his case came up. An all-White jury found him guilty. He was facing 41 years to life in prison, but he was eventually handed a six-year sentence by the judge.
In comparison, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky did not sentence Turner to prison, and didn’t even come close to the maximum 14-year sentence that Turner could have received for his crimes. In the ruling, Judge Persky stated that “a prison sentence would have a severe impact on [Turner]” and “I think he will not be a danger to others.”
According to the New York Daily News, Banks said that the ruling in Turner’s case was due to privilege and that the judge based his decision on his lifestyle not his crime.
“He’s lived such a good life and has never experienced anything serious in his life that would prepare him for prison. He was sheltered so much he wouldn’t be able to survive prison,” said Banks, in the Daily News article about Turner’s rape case. “What about the kid who has nothing, he struggles to eat, struggles to get a fair education? What about the kid who has no choice who he is born to and has drug-addicted parents or a non-parent household? Where is the consideration for them when they commit a crime?”
Turner’s father, Dan, was also criticized for a letter he wrote to the judge asking for leniency for his son Brock.
“These verdicts have broken him and shattered our family in so many ways,” the letter stated. “His life will never be the one he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve. That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of 20 plus years of life.”
Read more about what Banks had to say at the New York Daily News.