Saturday, December 22, 2007
If He's Innocent, Set Him Free
--Jami Floyd, Court TV Anchor

After 17 years in prison, Marty Tankleff has won a new trial. Yesterday, an appellate court vacated his sentence, imposed in 1990 after Tankleff was convicted of the brutal murder of his parents. Shortly after his parents were found butchered in their Long Island home, Marty was subjected to hours of isolation and manipulative interrogation. Ultimately Marty, just 17 years old at the time, made admissions used against him at trial, even though he had immediately recanted. Word spread amongst his supporters, lawyers, investigators, journalists and others, even before the court's decision was made public. His team has worked tirelessly for the better part of a decade to secure his release. They are elated. But they also know the fight isn't over. Next comes a bail hearing. And the Suffolk County DA has said he will appeal the decision.

I visited Marty Tankleff in prison last month, to decide for myself whether or not he was guilty. I have studied the case for years and had decided long ago that the prosecution was dirty. But I learned in practice that the only true way to tell if a man is innocent is to look him in the eye. A guilty person can fool you. But an innocent person never can. Marty Tankleff is one of those: Innocent. Now, he should be freed.
Posted By CNN: 6:17 PM ET
  6 Comments
Let's hope if he's innocent that justice will be done. 17 days, let alone 17 years would be an eternity if you're innocent.
Posted By Blogger Lorie Ann : 11:21 PM ET
Jamie: Looking into someone's eyes to determine their guilt or innocence is something I wouldn't expect to hear from a lawyer so you definitely caught my interest.

It's shocking that the detectives and prosecutors involved in this case are planning to appeal. Apparently, it's more important to cover up their mistakes than to do the right thing.
Posted By Anonymous Jolene, St. Joseph, MI : 11:22 PM ET
Jami

I found and read the court ruling vacating both judgments and his sentence and ordering a new trial. I found it encouraging for Marty that the court wrote that had the new evidence been present at the original trial the results of that trial would probably have had a much different outcome for Marty.

Unless the DA successfully appeals the judgment, Marty can now have his day in court to hopefully receive a "not guilty" verdict from a jury and truly be considered innocent then. I hope that day comes for him soon.

Annie Kate
Birmingham AL
Posted By Blogger Annie Kate : 12:55 AM ET
It seems that often our justice system loses sight of its overall goal. These days the court of public opinion is almost or more so important than the courts themselves. As a result we get cases like this; people who’ve lost irrespirable amounts of their lives due to the need to find someone accountable.
Posted By Anonymous Afroz -- Northern California : 1:30 AM ET
HMMMM....I don't think I even remember this case!! Too bad 360 isn't going to be on any time soon!! I'd love to get the whole story from them!! Maybe when it does come back on you all will give us the full scoop!!

It is sad to see another case of police using their authority for the wrong purpose! If Marty is innocent I hope that he is set free. And I hope that he can get some compensation for being wrongly imprisoned all those years!

Cynthia, Covington, Ga.
Posted By Blogger Cindy : 9:05 AM ET
Poor man. He lost both parents and how does he get treated? No amount of money or even freedom will ever restore what he's lost. Love and dignity.

Yes, free him. Then put his parent's souls to rest by finding their killers(s)!
Posted By Anonymous LAUREN R. : 7:29 PM ET
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