News 05.30.14

New York Exoneree Earns Law Degree

A New York man who served 17 years behind bars before new evidence proved his innocence will now have the chance to defend others since graduating from law school on Sunday. Marty Tankleff was wrongly convicted of the murder of his parents in 1999 and was freed in 2007. Seven years later he won a settlement of nearly $3.4 million in a wrongful conviction lawsuit against New York State.

 

The Associated Press reported that Tankleff, now 42, received his degree from Touro Law Center and was personally congratulated by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

 

Following his release, Tankleff enrolled at Hofstra University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology. After he takes the bar exam in August, his plan is to help others who have been wrongly convicted by becoming the executive director of a newly formed Long Island-based innocence advocacy organization.

 

Barry Scheck, co-founder of the Innocence Project, said he is proud of what his former client has achieved. He told The Associated Press: “The terrible injustice he endured has no doubt given him a unique understanding of the flaws in the system that will make him a powerful advocate for those trying to prove their innocence. As he knows all too well, we can certainly use more great litigators willing to take on this extremely difficult work.”

 


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