More than 17 years after Marty Tankleff was convicted of killing his parents, his ordeal is finally over. Prosecutors announced this afternoon that they would not retry Tankleff in the 1988 murder of his parents, which sent him to prison at age 17. Tankleff was released in December, but he had to wait in legal limbo as state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo was appointed as a special prosecutor and charged with producing a report on the case.
Tankleff, who woke up one morning in the Long Island home he shared with his parents to find his mother dead and his father unconscious, allegedly told police he may have “blacked out” and committed the crimes. He was convicted by a jury and sentenced to 50 years to life in prison. Innocence Project Co-Director Barry Scheck said today that Tankleff should never have been tried in this case.
“This is a clear case of a false confession. If Marty Tankleff’s interrogation had been videotaped, there would be no ambiguity about his innocence,” Scheck said. “The evidence clearly shows that Marty Tankleff’s confession was coerced, and he should never have been prosecuted in the first place. Electronic recording of interrogations in New York State should become mandatory, as it is in several other states and hundreds of jurisdictions nationwide. In New York State, 17 people were wrongfully convicted based on false confessions and later exonerated (10 of them were exonerated through DNA testing).”
Read press coverage of today’s announcement here:
NY drops case vs LI man in murder of his parents
On Wednesday, Tankleff will join Innocence Project Policy Director Stephen Saloom and others at a public forum coordinated by the New York Senate Democratic Task Force on Criminal Justice Reform. The forum will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial & Educational Center at 3940 Broadway (at 165th St.) in New York City.