Tavis Smiley Profiles Four Exonerated Men

Jun 27, 2011, 13:00 ET from TS Media, Inc.

The two-night conversation from Chicago airs on WYCC-TV Wednesday, June 29 and nationwide Thursday, June 30 and Friday, July 1

LOS ANGELES, June 27, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Tavis Smiley sits down with four wrongfully-convicted men who, despite their innocence, spent more than a combined 50 years in prison.  The conversation airs on the award-winning PBS program Tavis Smiley, exclusively on Chicago's WYCC-TV this Wednesday, June 29 and nationwide on public television Thursday, June 30 and Friday, July 1, 2011.

Recorded during Rainbow/PUSH Coalition's 40th anniversary conference, Smiley is also joined by the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson.  Jackson and others have been working to address social injustices around the country.

A recent study by the Better Government Association, finds that 85 people wrongfully convicted in Illinois spent a total of 926 years in prison.  These 85 wrongful convictions cost Illinois' taxpayers 214 million dollars.  

Smiley talks with four men who are a part of those statistics.  Johnnie Savory was convicted at the age of 14 for a double murder. After spending 30 years in prison and now on parole, he is still not fully exonerated by the state.  Marcus Lyons, a military veteran with no previous record, he was found guilty of a rape he did not commit and served three years of a six year sentence.  

Gordon Steidl spent 12 years on death row for murders he did not commit before winning a motion for a new trial in 2003.  Ken Berry was convicted and sentenced to 35 years for kidnapping and sexual assault.  He won a new trial because his lawyer failed to call witnesses who could have exonerated him.  

To learn more about the four men, Illinois' Innocence Project and Tavis Smiley on PBS, visit www.pbs.org/tavis.


TAVIS SMILEY is a unique hybrid of news, issues and entertainment, featuring interviews with politicians, entertainers, athletes, authors and other newsmakers. In 2009, Tavis Smiley was named to TIME's list of 100 "Most Influential People in the World."

TAVIS SMILEY is produced by The Smiley Group, Inc. / TS Media, Inc. in association with WNET/ New York. Major funding is provided by Wal-Mart and Nationwide Insurance. Additional support comes from PBS.   The 30-minute program airs weeknights on PBS. To get local listings and to watch past episodes, please visit www.pbs.org/tavis.

SOURCE TS Media, Inc.