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For the Innocent Podcast Media Resources

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

About For the Innocent Podcast

For the Innocent Podcast

Hosted by The Innocence Project Executive Director Michael Semanchik, the second season of this podcast tells stories of wrongfully convicted men and women who spent decades in prison for crimes they did not commit. For the Innocent 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.

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Season Two Media Releases

Legal Talk Network Launches Season Two of ‘For the Innocent’ Podcast Sharing New Stories of the Wrongfully Convicted, Focusing on Pervasive Use of Junk Science in Convictions (04/10/2024)

Season One Media Releases

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

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

Legal Talk Network Launches Podcast to Share Stories of the Wrongfully Convicted… (03/31/2023)

Season Two Exoneree Profiles

Zavion Johnson: wrongfully accused of fatally injuring his 4-month old daughter under the shaken baby theory. In 2002, he was arrested at his daughter’s funeral and convicted to 25 year to life. His daughter’s tragic death was later attributed to injuries sustained in a short fall. Zavion was exonerated in early 2018 after losing 17 years. See Zavion’s bio here: Zavion Johnson Bio.

Zavion explains when he lost trust in the system (:22)
Zavion recalls how he presented himself in court (:08)

Season One 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.

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

Michael Semanchik

Michael Semanchik joined The Innocence Center as Executive Director after spending 14 years at the California Innocence Project, first as a staff attorney and then as managing attorney.  Mike graduated cum laude from California Western School of Law where he was a 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 serves on the Board of the Innocence Center and led the California Innocence Project for many years, securing the release of dozens of those wrongfully convicted. Prior, 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.

The Innocence Center logo

The Innocence Center is an independent non-profit law firm dedicated to freeing the innocent from prison, educating the public on the causes of wrongful conviction, and assisting freed clients as they reenter society. Launched in 2023, the Board and Staff have decades of innocence work under their belt, all having worked at the California Innocence Project as a staff or faculty member.  Collectively, the group has freed more than 40 people who have served 560+ years in prison for crimes they did not commit.  The team has been responsible for getting a dozen laws changed to prevent future injustices and make it easier to free the innocent.

Expert Profiles

David S. Rudolf

David S. Rudolf is a Criminal Defense and Civil Rights Attorney based in Charlotte, NC, and is passionate about fighting for the individual against the power of the government. He started the Criminal Law Clinic at the University of North Carolina School of Law, authored American Injustice, and co-hosts the criminal justice podcast Abuse of Power. David can be heard in Season Two. See his full bio here: David S. Rudolf Bio.

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. Lankford has developed expertise in various areas of forensic science, including DNA analysis, serology, and trace evidence. Deanna Lankford can be heard in Season One. See her full bio here: Deanna Lankford Bio.

Alissa L. Bjerkhoel has served as a judge in Nevada County’s Superior Court since 2023 and was the Litigation Coordinator at the California Innocence Project’s in-house DNA expert since 2008. She speaks at conferences on topics relating to forensics and helps draft new laws. You can hear Judge Bjerkhoel in Season One. See her full bio here: Judge Alissa L. Bjerkhoel Bio.

Producer Profiles

For the Innocent Podcast has been more than 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 Producer and Writer for For the Innocent 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 For the Innocent 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.

For the Innocent Podcast Logos

For the Innocent Podcast
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
Logo – The Innocence Center
Clio legal software
Sponsor for Season One
Logo – Clio blue

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="https://legaltalknetwork.com/podcasts/for-the-innocent/?embed" width="100%" height="477" loading="lazy"></iframe>

Media Contacts – Requests for Materials or Interviews

Lisa Kirkman
Director of Partnerships & Marketing
Legal Talk Network
[email protected]

Michael Semanchik
For the Innocent Podcast Host and Executive Director
The Innocence Center
[email protected]

Laurence Colletti
Director of Strategic Projects
Legal Talk Network
[email protected]