Police and Prosecutorial Misconduct Leads to Release of Martin Tankleff — 17 Years After the Murder of Parents

It is said that justice delayed is justice denied. For Martin Tankleff, 36, justice was 17 years in coming when an appellate court overturned his conviction of the murder of his parents and ordered a retrial. Regardless of whether Tankleff is guilty or innocent, he clearly was deprived of a fair trial by police and prosecutors.

Tankleff was convicted in 1990 of the murder of Seymour and Arlene Tankleff in their Long Island home in 1988 when they were blugdeoned and stabbed. He was given 50 years to life.

However, the jury was not told that the police had lied to Tankleff and stated that his father had briefly come out of his coma to implicate him in the murder. Tankleff confessed but then withdrew that confession. Most importantly, neither detectives nor prosecutors informed the defense that witnesses implicated a business partner of his father’s and others in the killings.

The denial of such rights is rarely the subject of later discipline. Indeed, there are rarely questions raised about such misconduct that leads to years of litigation.

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