Martin Tankleff And Other Exonerees And Legal Experts To Testify At New York State Senate Democratic Task Force On Preventing Wrongful Convictions In New York State

Eric T. Schneiderman

July 01, 2008

This is the second in a series of four forums entitled “Preventing Wrongful Convictions in New York State: Systematic Reforms to Convict the Guilty and Protect the Innocent” to be held across the state by the Senate Democratic Taskforce on Criminal Justice Reform.  At each forum, legislators and the public hear testimony from experts and exonerees on four reform measures—mandatory electronic recording of police interrogations, preservation of DNA evidence, eyewitness identification reforms, and the creation of an Innocence Commission—that have been proposed in the New York State Legislature to help prevent wrongful convictions.

Our first public forum examined proposals to record custodial interrogations in felony cases as a tool in preventing wrongful convictions. Wednesday's forum will focus on the possible benefits of creating an independent Innocence Commission to review all DNA exoneration cases in New York State and determine necessary policy changes to prevent wrongful convictions. The forum will also examine recent efforts by the New York State Bar Association to create such a commission.  We will be hearing from the Innocence Project, the President and members of the New York State Bar Association, individuals who were convicted of crimes of which they were later exonerated, and the defense community.  Notably, we will also be hearing testimony by Long Island’s Marty Tankleff, whose indictment was lifted yesterday after a special investigation by the Attorney General’s office. This will be the first time that Marty himself will be speaking publicly about the case.

    WHO:     State Senators Eric Schneiderman, Bill Perkins and 
                    Velmanette Montgomery, Assemblymember Michael 
                    Gianaris and other state legisl

                    Testimonies by:

    9:30 AM Alan Newton, Exoneree

    10:15 AM Bernice Leber, President of the New York State Bar 
                      Association, and Barry Kamins, Chair of the NYS Bar 
                      Association’s Innocence Commission 

    11:00 AM Martin Tankleff, Exoneree

    12:00 PM Steve Saloom, Policy Director at Cardozo Law School’s 
                      Innocence Project

    12:45PM Jonathan Gradess, Executive Director of the New York State
                    Defenders Association
WHAT:     Public Forum on Preventing Wrongful Convictions in New
                      York State: Systematic Reforms to Convict the Guilty 
                      and Protect the Innocent

    WHEN:    Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008, 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

    WHERE: Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz 
                     Memorial & Educational Center
                     3940 Broadway (at 165th Street)
                     New York City

                    (A, C, or 1 trains to 168th Street, facility and subway stop
                     are wheelchair accessible)

Testimony will be by invitation only, but this event is open to the public.

All witnesses and legislators, including Mr. Tankleff, will be available for interviews.