The new book on the Marty Tankleff case--"A Criminal Injustice" by Richard Firstman and Jay Salpeter--is due out Tuesday, and is making news today for something Det. James McCready reportedly said on an unaired portion of the 2006 'Dr. Phil' show on Marty's case.
According to the New York Times and Newsday, during a taping of the show McCready was asked if it was true that Joey "Guns" Creedon paid him $100,000 to keep the investigation from focusing on Creedon, as alleged by Creedon's son. Newsday reports:
McCready told Newsday that the allegation that he made the statement is a lie.
As most of you know, the book is due out this Tuesday, December 30th. It's a great read, a comprehensive account of the case from its beginning, and features lots of interesting research and background, including a major news-making revelation that's to be featured in this Sunday's Times and Newsday.
Wow, it's out, the comprehensive report two years in the making, all 20 double-spaced pages of it, by the New York State Investigation Commission entitled "An Investigation into the Procedures Resulting in the Arrest and Conviction of Martin Tankleff for the Murders of Seymour and Arlene Tankleff." You can read about it in today's Newsday, which was given an exclusive by the SIC.
The SIC's conclusion was that the conduct of the Suffolk County Police Department and District Attorney's office was "legal and proper" from the original investigation right through the handling of the 440 hearing. In today's article in Newsday, a spokesman for Marty Tankleff, Lonnie Soury, called the report "a shocking whitewash."
You be the judge.
On December 27, 2007, I was released from prison after being wrongfully imprisoned for 6,338 days. This is my first Thanksgiving since I've been free and it's amazing. Many of you here have helped me along the way and I have no doubt that many will continue to help me and my family fight for justice. For that I want to thank you. I especially want to thank: Stephen Braga, Barry Pollack, Jennifer O'Connor, Bruce Barket, Lonnie Soury, Rick Friedman, Meg Griffen, Dawn Murphy-Johnson, Shelia Kadaguther, Roberto Gonzalez, Jay Salpeter and so many others who made this day possible. Words cannot express my thanks and gratitude to the thousands of people who fought for justice in my case.
Just this past week, another innocent man walked out of prison after being wrongfully convicted and imprisoned. Let's not forget our duty to fight for justice. As the innocent languish in prison, the guilty continue to commit crimes. I am thankful for every day and everything about life. However, my family and I will not stop until true justice is achieved.
I wish all of you and your families a happy and healthy holiday season.
Today State Supreme Court Justice Robert W. Doyle dismissed all charges against Marty Tankleff in the murder of his parents, Arlene and Seymour Tankleff.
Read more in Newsday.
On July 2nd, Marty Tankleff testified before a New York State Senate Democratic Task Force on “Preventing Wrongful Convictions in New York State: Systematic Reforms to Convict the Guilty and Protect the Innocent.”
You can watch Marty's 3.5 minute testimony on YouTube here.
Don't miss Bruce Lambert's look back at the remarkable series of events over the years that led to Marty's freedom.
"Thank you for your very kind comments. It was a no-brainer to do a documentary about Marty's case, because I had always believed in his innocence, having sat in on some of his trial, and knowing the cast of characters involved, even as I was serving against my will as an"acting" Supreme Court Justice in a civil part.
"I've now been away from Suffolk County and the law for more than 15 years, and whatever bitterness I may have had in 1992 from the way I was treated has long since diminished. At almost age 75, I have long ago learned that life, although we may like it to, does not continue in a straight line. There are many curves along the way, some not as steep as others. It was very difficult not to be bitter though, after I, in 1985, had asked Gov. Cuomo to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the prosecution of homicides in Suffolk County, which the State Investigations Commissions characterized as "the wild West!"
"I knew that I was seen as a villain by the Republican Party, the ruling power in the county, but I felt that I should have been seen as a hero by my own party, especially since my law partner of 10 years had been the New York State Democratic Chairman, and was the senior County Chairman in the State of New York. How wrong I was in my assessment! Unable to elect judges on the Democratic line, he simply bowed to the powerful majority party, and elected not to renominate me, the thorn in their side, and accepted four cross-endorsed judgeships, including my County Court seat, in exchange. His last words to me were: "Stuart, this was just not your year!" How callous, and how shameful! Yet it was the people of Suffolk County who would pay the price.
"Three weeks after moving to North Carolina, my now deceased wife, Lenore, and I were brought back for a weekend in New York City, where in one night, I was the recipient of three very distinguished awards: the Justice Thurgood Marshall award from the New York State Association of Defense Attorneys-only the first recipient after Justice Marshall himself; the David S. Michaels award from the Criminal Justice Section of the New York State Bar Association; and a special award from the NAACP for standing "...up for what was right at great personal sacrifice. 'Principal was ahead of expediency.' A man who practiced and lived what everyone else preached." I'm not sure that I've entirely lived up to those beautiful words, but it sure feels good seeing it on my wall every day.
"Still, it didn't end there. My wife and I were invited out to Hollywood by a reknowned movie producer, where they were going to do a movie about my life as a judge, and for months I worked with the creator of Kojak, himself a previous recipient of an Academy Award and an Emmy for "Judgement and Nuremberg" and the series "Kojak." I was billed in the Hollywood Reporter as "the Serpico of Judges." Needless to say, this has not yet happened, but the project remains viable.
"Subsequently, I was recruited by a production company from the United Kingdom to act as both a consultant and interviwer for a 13 part series which appeared all over the world, including TLC, entitled "The Serial Killers." My interviews of "the lethal lovers" can still occasionally be seen on MSNBC.
"With the very same crew, my second wife and I (my first wife, who had been a Suffolk County probation officer, and very healthy, had suddenly passed in 1996) decided to finance a project called "A Question of Guilt?," and Marty's story was to be the pilot project, since I was still firmly convinced of his innocence. It was the very first media presentation of Marty's case, and the first to feature lengthy interviews of each of the main players, including Marty, in prison, McCready, Shari Rother, Bob Gottlieb, and many others. Whenever and wherever the DVD is seen, it receives uniform acclaim.
"Although I was born in the tenements of Brooklyn, and had never heard Appalachian mountain music, I completed two documentaries about the mountain musicians of North Carolina and their great music. Not long ago, I completed a 3 1/2 hour documentary about the Korean War, having traveled all over the United States to conduct 48 interviews of the aging veterans of "the forgotten war." It was a project which took two years to complete, and working without a crew, I did it all myself from videography to final edit. It is the story of the Infantry unit that I served in as a Lieutenant immediately after the Korean War, the 17th Infantry Regiment, the only American unit to reach the Yalu River, which is the Manchurian or Chinese southern border. It is their story from the amphibious landing in 1950 at Inchon to the bloody battles of Pork Chop Hill, and it is the most important work I have ever done. You can see much of my work on our website at: www.legaleagleproductions.com
"So you see, there is no longer any reason for bitterness, as I have been free to explore the world, having visited every continent save Antarctica, and all of the great reefs of the world. I have engaged in new and interesting ventures, but occasionally it does hurt, especially knowing that I was kept from achieving twenty years as a judge. Recently I saw a report of the pension of a Democratic judge who was elected with me in 1975, after Watergate, and who moved up to the County Court with me in 1982, but who, fortunately for him, was a beneficiary of the 1992 deal to send me into an early retirement at age 59. His is a pension which is almost four times mine.
"Nevertheless, I have no complaints, because I sleep well at night, and can look myself in the mirror every morning with pride in what I tried to do. I often wonder whether those judges who may still be on the bench, and those who have since retired, can do so without flinching, in the knowledge that they stood by in silence as I walked the plank for true justice alone.
"Thanks again for your kind words about me and my work, and all that you have done for Marty.
Judge Stuart Namm (Ret)
A Very Happy Man and Grandfather of ten!"
Today in the New York Times, Jennifer 8. Lee blogs on yesterday's testimony before the New York State Senate Democratic Task Force on Criminal Justice reform. Her piece begins, "There have been at least 56 wrongful convictions in New York State including those of Martin H. Tankleff and Jeffrey Mark Deskovic."
Accompanying the article is streaming video of a false confession given by a teenager named Frank Esposito. In his "confession," Esposito describes in detail how he was smoking by a barn and lit some hay on fire. He could see it glowing. He cries and apologies for burning down the barn and killing the horses inside. But none of it ever happened, as he was later acquitted when cellphone records proved he was nowhere near the stable when the fire took place. What wasn't captured on tape was the interrogation that led to the confession.
Be sure to check out the great comments on the bottom of the page.
Read how false confessions happen.