This week, LawNext veers slightly off-topic for a conversation about wrongful convictions. But, as you’ll hear from our guests, there is a legal tech angle, even to this.

At the recent Clio Cloud Conference, I had the opportunity to sit down for a live conversation with one of the keynote speakers, Brian Banks, whose aspirations for a career in the NFL were sidetracked when, at age 16, he was falsely accused of sexual assault, resulting in his accepting a plea bargain that put him in prison for five years. It was an experience that has made Banks a powerful advocate for criminal justice reform.

Joining Banks for that conversation was Michael Semanchik, the lawyer who helped clear Banks’ name while working as managing attorney of the California Innocence Project. Recently, Semanchik launched a new project, The Innocence Center, where he is executive director. He also hosts one of the best new podcasts of 2023, the soon-to-be-renamed California Innocence Center Podcast.

For Banks, there was a happy ending to the story, in that he did clear his name and he even got to play in the NFL. But wrongful convictions continue to plague the criminal justice system. Today we’ll hear Banks’ story and explore what the system can do to keep other innocent people out of prison.

(Pictured above are Semanchik, Banks and me after our recording at the Clio conference.)

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Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.