With the exception of a violent crime (armed robbery, assault, murder, etc), prosecutors often bring cases for their deterrent value alone: we are prosecuting this person to send a message. Since Brian Banks had his conviction overturned I have been searching for news stories or analysis that would shine some light on the legal fate of his accuser, Wanetta Gibson. It's been slim pickings. Finally a story from the 26th turned up in the L.A. Times.
To my dismay, the story is entitled, "Prosecution of false rape accuser is seen as difficult." The article says, "There is no official investigation by Long Beach police into Gibson's conduct, but officers are "reviewing the matter" and "will be in consultation with the district attorney's office following the review," said Lisa Massacani, a department spokeswoman."
What about the deterent value in this case? Ms. Gibson not only sent Brian Banks to prison for six years and caused him to suffer the indignities of being a registered sex offender, but she scammed the Long Beach School district out of more than one million dollars (the article says it is only $750,000).
The article's writers didn't do their homework. They write that the statute of limitations for making a false claim is four years, past the 2003 date of her testimony. They don't mention it, but the statute of limitations for perjury is three or four years, also lapsed. However, under CA state law the statute of limitations for prosecution of a fraud crime is 4 years from the discovery of the crime, or within four years after the completion of the offense, whichever is later. The penal code section which provides this information is Section 801.5. Ms. Gibson surely committed fraud against the Long Beach School District. But as the article points out, it is now up to the school district's insurance company to decide whether or not they wish to pursue this in court. That won't suffice.
It cannot be allowed to stand that Wanetta Gibson is allowed to walk free for the rest of her life. What message would it send to the nation - and Californians in particular - if this woman is allowed to remain free and untouched by the criminal justice system? And then there's the story of Wanetta Gibson's life. She was 17 when she made this false charge and received a large amount of money shortly thereafter. She now has two children, 4 and 5 years-old. Ms. Gibson is broke and her children receive public assistance.
Which means that somehow she and her parents managed to blow $750k or $1.5 million in less than 10 years. You would think that her lie would have at least allowed her to transform her life. At a minimum, something good could have come from this monstrous lie, at least for her. But no, she wasted this money on something, had two kids out of wedlock and then had the state pay for them. How can this wicked woman not be prosecuted? The fraud statute is there and she needs to be indicted by the L.A. County D.A. immediately. What message would a free pass to Wanetta Gibson send to other women who have done this or will do this in the future? Do we now have in this country an unwritten statute that we will not prosecute women who make false rape charges? Last I checked, DSK's accuser is still running around NYC free. Even after she admitted that her citizenship was premised on false statements.
But fear not, like Gibson, the DSK hotel maid is seeking a payday in a civil suit. I assume if she receives a settlement and later confesses this was all a hoax, she will also remain a free woman. If Sacramento and Albany want something to do, how about new legislation extending to 20 years the statute of limitations for the crime of false rape accusation. And make that crime itself punishable by 20 years in jail. But I will bet you money that all women's groups would ferociously oppose this sensible reform. If Wanetta Gibson is not prosecuted what would prevent any poor, immoral woman from claiming rape and then seeking a payday from some city, town, airport authority, etc. Why is this the only crime that prosecutors believe doesn't warrant a deterrent?
See the other posts on Rudy Veritas related to the Brian Banks case: