Long Island Press

Judge Rejects Tankleff Re-Trial
by Tom Durante 03/17/2006

A judge has denied a retrial for Martin Tankleff, who is currently serving a 50 years-to-life sentence for the murder of his parents in 1988.


Despite the efforts of Tankleff’s family and friends who claim the 34-year-old is innocent, Judge Stephen L. Braslow denied the motion for retrial. Tankleff was found guilty of the double murder in 1990.  


On the morning of Sept. 7, 1988, Arlene and Seymour Tankleff were brutally murdered in their Belle Terre home. Martin Tankleff, who was 18 years old at the time, later confessed to the double murder, a confession Tankleff says he was forced into making by interrogators.


In September 2005, 17-year-old Joseph Guarascio signed an affidavit saying his father, Joseph Creedon, had told the teen that he had been involved in the murder. It was one of the many pieces of evidence introduced by Tankleff’s attorneys in a recent hearing aimed at clearing him.


A court statement says the many motions made during the hearing lacked merit and that testimony was inadmissible hearsay.

Statement From the Family of Marty Tankleff

We are shocked and angered at the ruling by Suffolk County Judge Stephen Braslow.  There is overwhelming new evidence that Marty Tankleff is innocent.  Not only that, there is more than enough evidence to arrest and most likely convict the real killers of Seymour and Arlene Tankleff.   Having sat through months of testimony, we know there is only one possible conclusion: that Marty Tankleff deserves a new trial. 
What are we to conclude from this ruling other than that truth and justice were once again trumped by the lies and corruption that have contaminated Suffolk County law enforcement for a generation? How is it possible that the mountain of new evidence presented in the hearing did not meet the test that it would likely have changed the original jury’s verdict?
We were shocked when Judge Braslow refused to recognize the blatant conflicts of Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota and appoint a special prosecutor, in effect licensing the DA to engage in witness intimidation and other unethical tactics. How little has changed since the 1980s, when this case began, and when the State Investigation Commission found rampant corruption­including coerced confessions­in the Suffolk County Police Department and District Attorney’s office.  Perhaps we were naïve to hope Marty Tankleff could ever receive justice in Suffolk County.
There is overwhelming evidence not only of Marty’s innocence, but that he is a victim of a wrongful conviction based on a false confession taken by a detective found to have previously perjured himself. There is also evidence this detective may have been bribed. All impartial observers­including retired judges and district attorneys, law professors, cops, wardens and prison guards­know that Marty Tankleff deserves a new trial.  And a growing number of Suffolk County citizens are aware that in keeping Marty in jail, the DA is coddling violent felons and allowing the real murderers of Arlene and Seymour Tankleff to walk the streets. 
We are not only Marty Tankleff’s relatives, but the murder victims’ sisters, brother, nephews, nieces and cousins.  We look forward to getting out of Suffolk County and into a fair venue, and it should not have to wait for an appeal. 
Governor George Pataki and Attorney General Eliot Spitzer must now step in and appoint a special prosecutor to ensure justice for Arlene, Seymour and Marty Tankleff, and for the people of New York. 
We thank Marty’s friends and supporters, including those who don’t know Marty but whose sense of justice is no less offended, because Marty Tankleff could be any of us. 
We have believed in Marty’s innocence from day one, and we will not rest until we bring him home. 

Marcella Alt Falbee, Ron Falbee, Carol Falbee, Carolyn Falbee, Suzanne Falbee, Marianne McClure, Mike McClure, Jennifer Cooney, Dan Cooney, Norman Tankleff, Ruth Tankleff, Autumn Tankleff-Asness, Howard Asness, Jeff Tankleff, Shelley Tankleff, Landon Asness, Steve Tankleff, Lynn Kadan, Larry Kadan, Adam Kadan, David Kadan, Kristi McClure, Doug McClure, Joy Picirrillo, Tom Picirrilo, Kevin Picirrillo, Harold Alt

Innocent Imprisoned
Truth in Justice