innocence blog

A Web log for the Innocence Institute of Point Park University

Monday, April 24, 2006

Tankleff Appeal

This article by Bruce Lambert originally ran in the New York Times on April 21, 2006:

The continuing effort to win an appeal for a Long Island man convicted of killing his parents has drawn new support that includes court filings by an international network of legal groups focused on freeing innocent prisoners, a national association of defense lawyers and an expert on false confessions.

The advocates said that an appeal for Martin H. Tankleff could lead to significant precedents on wrongful convictions, false confessions and other issues.

Critics have called the case a miscarriage of justice, but these groups are the first to enter the proceedings formally. Some groups spoke out on the case for the first time and some are taking the unusual step of seeking amicus curiae, or "friend of the court," status.

The Tankleff lawyers said the groups had volunteered their help. Their statements were attached to a motion, filed on Monday in the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court in Brooklyn, asking permission to appeal a Suffolk County judge's decision in March that upheld the convictions.

"We've taken the unusual step of writing a letter along with our motion because the facts of this case are so strong, and because the lower-court ruling that denied Martin Tankleff a new trial was so misguided and troubling," said Barry C. Scheck, a co-founder of the Innocence Project at the Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, which has helped overturn more than 100 convictions.

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and its state branch wrote: "Like many bar associations and lawyers around the nation, we have carefully monitored the proceedings in Suffolk County Court." The group said the issues were so unusual "that they are of state and even national importance."

For the whole story, click here.

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