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Janice's Journal

Janice’s Journal: Watch this movie! And recommend it to others!

The newly released movie, “Brian Banks”, deserves attention. A lot of attention. Attention from every person required to register as a sex offender as well as his/her family and friends.

Based upon a true story, the movie is about a 16-year-old high school athlete who is falsely accused of raping a 15-year-old girl who attended the same school. The movie accurately portrays the challenges he faces before conviction as well as both inside and outside of prison.

For example, a plea deal goes wrong after Brian enters a plea of “no contest”. Instead of being sentenced to probation, Brian is sentenced to prison. And while in prison, Brian’s life is threatened after he sees one inmate kill another.

The main focus of the movie, however, is what happens to Brian after he is released from prison starting with the requirement that he register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. He finds it very difficult to find a job and even more difficult to keep a job without violating one or more of his 100+ parole conditions. He also finds it very difficult to start a personal relationship.

Without a doubt, the star of the movie is Brian Banks. There is however, an extremely important organization portrayed in the movie as well — the Innocence Project — which reluctantly agrees to represent him in the beginning but enthusiastically represents him later. It is due to the efforts of both Brian and the Innocence Project that Brian’s conviction is ultimately overturned and he is no longer required to register as a sex offender.

Why is this movie important? There are at least two reasons.

First, the movie gives hope to anyone who has been falsely accused of a crime. Second, the movie has the potential of educating the public about what it is like for anyone required to register as a sex offender.

This movie, in fact, has the potential of taking us to The Tipping Point, that is, the time and place when the public understands that the requirement to register as sex offender is PUNISHMENT and not an administrative requirement despite how the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2003.

That is why it is important that everyone of us recommend watching this movie to as many people as possible. In addition to supporting a movie that accurately portrays the challenges faced by members of our community, it is also an opportunity to open a dialogue about what is really happening to more than 900,000 families in our country today.

— by Janice Bellucci

read all Janice’s Journals

Join the discussion

  1. Tim in WI

    DAMN POOR LEADERSHIP!

    Who does benefit from forging felons from those not? Some must else it would not occur as much as it has been proven to, by this case, others like it ( mine) and DNA exoneration numbers. The availability of constitutionally fair trial is the bedrock on which the union stands!
    Worse yet, zero accountability exists for those prosecutors who error in pursuit of wrongful conviction. It is hardly surprising that so few have chosen to ignore these plain truths, as it is too painful or too unwieldy to manage. Just as the Founding fathers feared the unmanageable central gov’t has been insisted upon by some of the people. The DOE03 decisions opened the door to unfettered use of gov’t machine database and sealed the deal. There will be no clawing it back. That leaves few choices indeed! IMO bloody revolution has already begun.
    Unfortunately the people will attack each other and not those parties actually responsible.

  2. DJ

    Thanks! Where is this movie streaming? Would be a great addition to the article to add where folks can watch.

    • Thoughtasweak

      The movie is playing in theaters. Check to see what movie house is playing it. It was released on Friday in theaters.

  3. Eric

    This is truly huge. It is playing in the AMC theaters here in San Diego and Morgan Freeman is staring. Many will go just to see him and walk away with an understanding of what is going on. This could push our cause to the tipping point.

  4. NotEasilyOffended

    I have not yet seen the movie, my comment today is based on Janice’s comments.

    Unfortunately, I don’t see the tipping point being when the public sees the registry as punishment. Reading the comments on facebook and attached to articles about a sex offender, people are all for the punishment, often commenting that whatever sentence was applied is never enough. “Castration.” “Send them all to an island and let them rape eachother.” Etc. I think out tipping point will come when so many people are forced to register that everyone personally knows or is related to a registered citizen and sees the affects first hand and suffers themselves because of them. The public has no interest in punishment vs administrative action, we deserve everything we get as far as they are concerned. Can’t get a job? Boo hoo, should have thought of that. Lost your kids? Good, they are better off.

    So, honestly, the more people that have to register is better for us. Strength in numbers.

    • Will Allen

      I agree. Registry Terrorists are very happy that Registries are punishment. That IS the intent after all.

      Even more so, RTs don’t care if Registries are ineffective or even counterproductive. They care about themselves and how they feel.

      I think the political climate in our country right now shows what we really are. Most people want apartheid, segregation, and war on “$EX offenders”. Most are no different than most were when segregating “coloreds” was PC and it was fully supported. When you are a self-entitled, self-righteous loser, you’ve got to hate someone more than your pathetic self.

    • Chris f

      While I do think everything helps a little, I tend to agree with you.

      The public doesnt realize that their thinking its ok for those convicted of sex offences to be excluded from Constitional protections will create many more victims. Families or friends may cover up or hide crimes because of how unjust the treatment of the accused will be and the repurcussions that affect the family and victim. Those that do get convicted are more likely to re offend because the unconstitional treatment makes it impossible to re integrate with society.

      If society would leave punishment and protecting the public to judges instead of demanding legislature violate Seperation Of Powers by interfering, there would be a reduction in sex crimes and victims.

      I would love to see a movie that shows that. Show us the victims that wouldnt have been victims had the Constition not been set aside by fear mongering politicians that want another tough on crime feather in their hat.

    • AJ

      @NotEasilyOffended:
      I agree. I see three ways to reach the Tipping Point: 1) enough courts rule in our favor and/or there’s a split SCOTUS must resolve; 2) enough people are affected by it either directly (RCs) or indirectly (friends and family of RCs); or 3) some combination thereof.

      As you say, people don’t give one hoot whether or not it’s legally considered punishment. There’s no burden too heavy for a RC for most the sheeple. If told it violates the RCs’ Constitutional rights, the answer would be something along the lines of “good” or “sucks to be them” or “they’re lucky they’re even allowed to breathe.”

      I do think we’re headed towards said Tipping Point, mostly through item #1. I’d love to see it accelerate.

      • Roger H

        @AJ, I would add a fourth way to impact society: personal stories given by sympathetic victims like Brian.

        Parents are touched by the hardships teens have when caught sexting and are put through the legal system and end up on the registry.

        People are touched by children and moms bullied and hurt by society because their loved one is on the registry.

        This is not a black and white, instantaneous social transformation. People will be touched by these stories across the spectrum of feeling, from a lot to almost nothing. But think of these stories as water gradually percolating through hard clay soil. This will take time, but personal stories that hit on an emotional level were necessary for ALL social change made throughout our history. Read about how gays transformed society by coming out of the closet and sharing with friends and family the hell that society was putting them through. Read about how African Americans were willing to endure being firehose on national TV to expose the hate and to shame America. It worked for them. It will work for us when done wisely, like this movie!

  5. Laura

    Never give up….I saw it and took several friends who are parents to see it. Several of them reflected on their own children. One friend did comment saying, “this is why its important as parents to raise your sons to respect women.” I kindly responded, “True, but I felt Brian did respect the girl and the movie showed that Brian Banks definitely loves and respects his mom. As a mother, I’m more concerned about what we should be trying to teach the liars and those that blindly believe those that would fabricate to this extent.

    • Janice Bellucci

      Thank you, Laura, for going to see this movie along with several friends! It seems to have had at least one desirous effect, that is, it started a conversation about our issue.

  6. Roger H

    I just took my brothers to see this movie. They agreed it was a powerful story and very well done. I was impressed that Morgan Freeman is in it. It has an optomistic theme: Never give up.

    It allowed me to have a discussion with my brothers about how the registry affects me and others.

    I recommend everyone watch this movie. We need to support movies that get our society to see the effects of the registry.

  7. NoName

    While it is encouraging to learn of a film that recognizes all the pieces of the puzzle, including the arrogance of the criminal justice system, this movie will be unlikely to dent the arrogant armor. It isn’t doing well at the Box Office, not at all. And there are articles like this one at Snopes:

    Was Football Star Brian Banks Wrongfully Convicted of Rape?
    The legal ordeal of a California high school football star was turned into a meme that misrepresented key details of his case.

    https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/banks-wrongfully-convicted-rape/

    The “key details” are not “key” relatively speaking. If she confessed on Facebook or not is trivial compared to five years in prison, and so on. See, wrongful convictions are trivial when measured as a percentage compared to the percentage of all those victims who don’t come forward. Maybe with luck the film will be a streaming sleeper and trend in the Netflix and Chill category.

  8. NoName

    Bumping the film up for those who missed it.

    And while here, for those looking for a volunteer program, animal shelters need foster parents and you only have to acknowledge animal abuse convictions. For example here is the site that includes the application in Ventura County:

    http://www.vcas.us/info-resources/foster-parenting

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