18 episodes

Hosted by The Innocence Center’s Executive Director Michael Semanchik, For the Innocent features heartbreaking first-person accounts of exonerees like NFL football player Brian Banks and loving father Zavion Johnson about their experiences of being wrongfully convicted. Hear emotional stories of unfair trials revolving around crimes not committed, devastating memories of incarceration and the journey these men and women took to receive freedom through exoneration. 

Throughout the series, you’ll hear from legal and criminal experts, forensic scientists, and prominent judges who will help us understand what went wrong. Expert guests provide insights about our criminal justice system and how wrongful convictions become a terrible reality.

Learn why innocent people falsely confess, what causes misidentifications, and how junk science like bite marks, shaken baby syndrome and DNA can be used to convict people. 

With its compelling storytelling and dedication to uncovering the truth, For The Innocent serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of fighting for innocence, while also highlighting the tireless efforts of activists and lawyers working to right these injustices and holding institutions accountable for their mistakes.

Season One and Two are now available.

For The Innocent: A Wrongful Conviction Podcast Legal Talk Network

    • True Crime
    • 5.0 • 40 Ratings

Hosted by The Innocence Center’s Executive Director Michael Semanchik, For the Innocent features heartbreaking first-person accounts of exonerees like NFL football player Brian Banks and loving father Zavion Johnson about their experiences of being wrongfully convicted. Hear emotional stories of unfair trials revolving around crimes not committed, devastating memories of incarceration and the journey these men and women took to receive freedom through exoneration. 

Throughout the series, you’ll hear from legal and criminal experts, forensic scientists, and prominent judges who will help us understand what went wrong. Expert guests provide insights about our criminal justice system and how wrongful convictions become a terrible reality.

Learn why innocent people falsely confess, what causes misidentifications, and how junk science like bite marks, shaken baby syndrome and DNA can be used to convict people. 

With its compelling storytelling and dedication to uncovering the truth, For The Innocent serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of fighting for innocence, while also highlighting the tireless efforts of activists and lawyers working to right these injustices and holding institutions accountable for their mistakes.

Season One and Two are now available.

    Junk Science - Undoing the Damage

    Junk Science - Undoing the Damage

    When forensic evidence gets it wrong, how do we free the innocent?
    -----
    In our history of criminal prosecutions, some types of evidence ended up being unreliable. Forensic sciences like bite-mark identification, arson investigations, and shaken baby syndrome sent many innocent people to prison. So where does that leave us? How do we make it right?
    Lindsay Herf, executive director for the Arizona Justice Project joins host Michael Semanchik to discuss junk science and ways to protect innocent people.

    Special thanks to our sponsor Clio.

    • 19 min
    Junk Science - Shaken Baby Syndrome

    Junk Science - Shaken Baby Syndrome

    In the 1980s and 1990s, Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) was a popular medical theory used to arrest and convict innocent parents of fatally abusing their children. Unknown at the time, this theory was severely scientifically flawed. Unfortunately, erroneous data collection led experts to believe certain brain injuries in children could only be the result of abusive shaking. What they didn’t realize was that those “signature” injuries could also be caused by short-falls and disease. It would take decades to unravel their blind faith in this junk science. It is unknown how many innocent parents remain behind bars for a crime they didn’t commit.
    Host Michael Semanchik is joined by Katherine Bonaguidi. She is nationally recognized for her expertise in Shaken Baby Syndrome. Formerly a staff attorney with the California Innocence Project, today she works as a San Diego County Public Defender.
    Special thanks to our sponsor Clio.

    • 46 min
    Junk Science - Bloodstains & Bite Marks

    Junk Science - Bloodstains & Bite Marks

    What happens when forensic science is later found to be false?
    -----
    Forensic science is a cornerstone of our criminal justice system. Unfortunately, not all sciences used to prosecute people are reliable. So what happens when forensic science is later debunked? Does that mean everyone convicted by it goes free? The short answer is no. Tune in to hear why.

    • 24 min
    Zavion’s Story

    Zavion’s Story

    A Minor Accident Turns Fatal
    -----
    Zavion Johnson was bathing his four month old daughter when she slipped from his grasp and hit her head on the tub. He immediately checked her for injuries but found nothing. Tragically, she harbored unseen internal injuries that Zavion was unaware of. Later in the day, his daughter suddenly turned color. Zavion rushed her to the hospital but it was too late. She died shortly after.
    Moments after his daughter’s funeral, Zavion Johnson was arrested for murder under a medical theory called “Shaken Baby Syndrome”. It would take 17 years for the criminal justice system to realize its mistake. This is his story...

    • 34 min
    Season 2 Begins

    Season 2 Begins

    The Lives and Stories of the Wrongfully Convicted
    -----
    Welcome back listeners. There is so much left to cover. In upcoming episodes, we will explore topics like Junk Science, Plea deals, Eyewitness Misidentifications, and Evidence Preservation. There is an amazing lineup of guests. We will hear from real-life exoneree Amanda Knox, Oscar nominated filmmaker Matthew Cook, Hollywood producer Scott Budnick, and famed attorney David Rudolph from The Staircase, a Netflix documentary. 

    So stay tuned... The first episode of season 2, ‘Zavion’s Story’ drops April 11th.

    • 2 min
    False Confessions (Part 2)

    False Confessions (Part 2)

    Despite best intentions, parents can be their child’s worst enemy during an investigation. And innocent people can know the same facts that only guilty criminals do. But how are these things possible? In this part two of two, we talk all about it with Making a Murderer’s Laura Nirider, Certified Forensic Interviewer David Thompson, and former Washington D.C. Police Detective James Trainum.

    • 31 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
40 Ratings

40 Ratings

TEPE97 ,

Must listen.

Engaging and enraging.

Watched this Manifest ,

I LOVE THIS PODCAST

A friend of mine sent it over.

Huge fan of true crime podcast but I specifically like this one because it is spreading awareness of their stories of those who were falsely convicted!

The production is INCREDIBLE. I’m really impressed by the audio & the story telling.

Highly reccomednd!

justino brooks ,

Mike Semanchik is awesome

We need Mike Semanchik working on innocence cases. Media world, please do not try recruit him into hosting gigs! 😊

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