Private Investigators In Virginia

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More On NY Overturned Murder Conviction

Posted by Bill on December 29, 2007

justice  The New York State Investigation Commission is looking into recently overturned murder conviction of Martin Tankleff.  I posted the NY Appeals Court story on overturning the conviction based on new evidence turned up by private investigator Jay Salpeter.  See Prior Post Here.

Tankleff was convicted of the 1988 slaying of his parents.  The State Investigation Commission is investigating how Suffolk County, NY, police and prosecuting authorities handled the initial investigation.  The Commission has not enforcement powers, but it can gather evidence, refer cases to authorities or propose a special prosecutor.  Jay Salpeter, Tankleff’s private investigator who uncovered the “new evidence,” said that he had met and spoken with the Commission on more than one occasion.  See NY Times Article, and see more recent update Newsday Article

This incredible story shows the value of private investigators’ role in the criminal justice system.  It is obvious, if all allegations are true, that the local police and prosecutors investigated, prosecuted, locked up a guy and walked away.  Apparently, they did not listen claims of innocence from Martin Tankleff himself, or his family and friends. 

Prosecutors are subject to the NY Bar’s ethic rules as well as to the American Bar Association’s model rules of professional conduct.  The Rules provide that the prosecutor’s primary goal is to seek justice, not convict.  The prosecutor must assure that the defendant is tried by fair procedures and that guilt is decided on proper and sufficient evidence.   Maybe that rule was forgotten in this case?  See prior post on prosecutor’s ethical standards Here

Bill Lowrance

President PIAVA


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