|Brian Franklin as a young|
Fighting for the Falsely Accused
A former Texas police officer had his jail sentence dropped but is still fighting to establish his innocence.By Michelle Malkin
National Review Online
Former Fort Worth, Texas, police officer Brian Franklin is finally free. But he is still fighting to clear his name.
“I’ve been vindicated,” he told me in an interview last week, “but not yet exonerated.” Franklin served 21 years in prison — a harrowing 7,700 days — of a life sentence after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl in 1995. But he steadfastly maintained his innocence, studied law in the prison library, and won a reversal of his conviction last spring. In December, a jury acquitted him after a second criminal trial.
“It’s been a roller-coaster ride up and down,” Franklin reflected. Hellish doesn’t begin to describe the journey. His accuser had lied that she was a virgin before Franklin allegedly raped her. Prosecutors produced physical exam results of damage to her genitals as proof of his crime. In fact, she had been the victim of molestation by her stepfather for years.
Moreover, the young accuser’s story of when she was allegedly raped changed to fit a timeline developed by prosecutors. That timeline was debunked when Franklin’s employment time records and time-stamped and dated store receipts showed he was nowhere near the alleged rape location — the backyard of her biological father, who was a friend of Franklin’s.
There were no witnesses. There was no DNA. Yet, the cop with “law enforcement in my blood” lost his job, reputation, and freedom.
“It’s the easiest crime to be falsely accused of,” Franklin told me. Prosecutors “used my position as a police officer against me.” His family and church stood by him. But as soon as he was arrested, he had already been branded a “RAPIST” in the court of public opinion. His original jury “prejudged me,” Franklin recalled. Given the reckless witch hunts in cases like his and the Duke lacrosse case, he observed, “I’m surprised anybody gets acquitted these days.”