California Innocence Project Podcast Media Resources

Quick links: Media Releases | Exoneree Profiles | Lawyer Profiles | Expert Profiles | Producer Profiles | Music | Logos | Embeddable Podcast Player | Media Contacts

About California Innocence Project Podcast

California Innocence Project Podcast

Hosted by California Innocence Project Managing Attorney Michael Semanchik, this new podcast tells stories of wrongfully convicted men and women who spent decades in prison for crimes they did not commit. California Innocence Project Podcast’s episodes will include first-hand accounts from the exoneree, as well as discussion on the common ways innocent people end up in the system including DNA, false confessions, and junk science. Listen now to the podcast.

Media Releases

The Fight for Justice: Marty Tankleff’s Story of a Coerced Confession and Wrongful Conviction (05/24/2023)

Falsely Accused: The Brian Banks Story (04/12/2023)

Legal Talk Network Launches California Innocence Project Podcast to Share Stories of the Wrongfully Convicted and Highlight Pitfalls of the Criminal Legal System (03/31/2023)

Exoneree Profiles

Uriah Courtney

Uriah Courtney: wrongfully identified then convicted of kidnapping and rape in 2005. Uriah served eight years before the victim’s clothing was re-tested for DNA, and the results pointed to the real perpetrator who committed additional crimes putting him in the DNA database.
See Uriah’s bio here: Uriah Courtney Bio.

Host Michael Semanchik introduces Uriah’s story (:51)
Uriah explains his greatest fears (:49)
Brian Banks

Brian Banks: wrongfully convicted in 2002 of rape at age 17 after being wrongly accused by a high school acquaintance. Brian was pressured into a plea deal only to have his accuser recant her testimony after his release.

See Brian’s bio here: Brian Banks Bio.

Marty Tankleff: wrongfully convicted in 1990 for the murder of his parents, Seymour and Arlene, two years earlier. At the time of his arrest, he was a 17-year-old student, embarking on his Senior year of high school. After being sentenced to two consecutive terms of 25 years to life, he filed a 2003 appeal with new evidence from almost two dozen witnesses. After exonerations, Mr. Tankleff was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2020. Since then, he has obtained favorable results on behalf of his clients and is the current Peter P. Mullen Distinguished Visiting Professor at Georgetown University. See his bio here: Marty Tankleff Bio.

Marty explains how a connected cop who participated in his wrongful conviction was paid to create misdirection in his case (:21)

Lawyer Profiles

The California Innocence Project is a non-profit organization based in San Diego, California, working to free innocent people who have been wrongfully convicted. Since 1999, the Project has exonerated 38 people who have spent years in prison for crimes they did not commit. The Project is dedicated to ensuring that the innocent are freed, the guilty are held accountable, and the justice system is fair for all. As a clinical program at California Western School of Law, students work alongside CIP staff attorneys to investigate and litigate cases with strong evidence of innocence.

Michael Semanchik

Michael Semanchik, Managing Attorney for the California Innocence Project is also the host for Legal Talk Network’s California Innocence Project Podcast. Mike graduated cum laude from California Western School of Law where he was student in the California Innocence Project. After passing the California State Bar, Mike worked as an investigator for the California Innocence Project and later became a staff attorney then Managing Attorney. 

See Michael’s bio here: Michael Semanchik Host Bio.

Justin Brooks, Director and Co-Founder of the California Innocence Project. Prior to coming to California, he practiced as a criminal defense attorney in Washington D.C., Michigan, and Illinois and over the course of his career he has served as counsel on several high profile criminal cases.

See Justin’s full bio here: Justin Brooks Bio.

Expert Profiles

Deanna Lankford

Deanna Lankford is a highly respected forensic scientist who currently serves as the Director of Forensic Casework at BODE Technology, a leading provider of forensic DNA analysis and services. With years of experience in the field, Lankford has developed expertise in various areas of forensic science, including DNA analysis, serology, and trace evidence.

See Deanna’s full bio here: Deanna Lankford Bio.

Alissa Leanne Bjerkhoel

Alissa Leanne Bjerkhoel is the Litigation Coordinator at the California Innocence Project and serves as the in-house DNA expert, authors petitions filed on behalf of clients, speaks at conferences on topics relating to forensics, directs and supervises clinical student casework, and helps draft new laws.

See Alissa’s full bio here: Alisa Leanne Bjerkhoel Bio.

Producer Profiles

California Innocence Project Podcast has been at least three years in development capturing interviews and researching with experts about how innocent people find themselves wrongly accused. Legal Talk Network has invested time, resources, and creativity to bring these stories to a wider audience.

Laurence Colletti

Laurence Colletti is the Executive Producer and Writer for California Innocence Project Podcast. At Legal Talk Network he combines his passion for web-based media with his experience as a lawyer. Previously, he was a solo practitioner, specializing in general business and commercial real estate.

Adam Lockwood, Audio Engineer

Adam Lockwood graduated University of Colorado Denver School of Music Entertainment Industry Studies with a degree in music business and vocal performance. Adam was instrumental in capturing the show’s extensive interviews and incorporating the music from William Michael Dillon. You can find him online and performing in the Denver area. Follow him on Twitter: @adamlockwood.


William Michael Dillon wrote and performed much of the music on California Innocence Project Podcast based on his own experience being wrongfully convicted for a 1981 murder in Florida. Bill spent 27 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Dillon’s book Framed describes how DNA testing was used to exonerate him. His CD Black Robes and Lawyers was written in prison.

California Innocence Project Podcast Logos

Legal Talk Network logo - 3 line stack
Logo – Legal Talk Network 3-line
Legal Talk Network logo - 1-line
Logo – Legal Talk Network 1-line
California Innocence Project logo
Logo – California Innocence Project
Clio legal software
Logo – Clio blue
California Innocence Project Podcast
Show artwork – California Innocence Project Podcast

Embeddable Podcast Player

Easily embed this podcast in your website where your audience can find it easily. Paste this simple html code in your page. Or if you use WordPress, call up a Custom HTML block and drop it in there. Adjust the width and height to suit your layout. New episodes will be added to the top of the player as released.

<iframe frameborder="0" src="" width="100%" height="477" loading="lazy"></iframe>

Media Contacts – Requests for Materials or Interview

Paige Locke
Marketing Manager
Legal Talk Network
[email protected]

Michael Semanchik
Managing Attorney
California Innocence Project
[email protected]

Laurence Colletti
Executive Producer
Legal Talk Network
[email protected]