Felon-turned-lawyer will speak to UB Law class

Marty Tankleff, standing in a crowd of people who he has helped.

Felon-turned-lawyer Marty Tankleff (in tie) will speak to UB School of Law students on Oct. 6.

Release Date: September 28, 2016 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. – Marty Tankleff had just turned 17 when he was accused of killing his parents, Seymour and Arlene Tankleff, in their Long Island home. Following hours of interrogation, he made an unsigned confession, and was subsequently convicted and sentenced to 50 years to life in prison.

Seventeen years later, in 2007, Tankleff’s conviction was vacated by the New York State Appellate Division, Second Department, and all charges against him were dismissed.

Then he became a lawyer. Having graduated from Touro Law Center in 2014, he will head a new clinic to help free wrongly convicted prisoners.

Tankleff will tell his remarkable story in a visit to the University at Buffalo School of Law at 12:30 p.m. Oct. 6. His address – in the context of a Conviction and Remedies course taught by adjunct professors Gary J. Muldoon and Jon P. Getz – will be in Room 107 of John Lord O’Brian Hall on UB’s North Campus. The public is invited.

The course is part of the Law School’s Innocence and Justice Project, in which a select group of second- and third-year law students work to identify cases in which there is strong evidence of a miscarriage of justice and, as student attorneys, press the case for redress. The project, directed by Muldoon and Getz, is part of the school’s Advocacy Institute, which develops students’ skills in trial advocacy, litigation and mediation.

Tankleff won his freedom after a 2003 appeal presented new evidence from 20 witnesses. He subsequently sued New York State for wrongful conviction, and in January 2014 was awarded a judgment of $3.4 million.

The case was the subject of a book, “A Criminal Injustice: A True Crime, a False Confession and the Fight to Free Marty Tankleff,” by Richard Firstman and Jay Saltpeter.

Since its founding in 1887, the University at Buffalo School of Law – the State University of New York system’s only law school – has established an excellent reputation and is widely regarded as a leader in legal education. Its cutting-edge curriculum provides both a strong theoretical foundation and the practical tools graduates need to succeed in a competitive marketplace, wherever they choose to practice. A special emphasis on interdisciplinary studies, public service and opportunities for hands-on clinical education makes UB School of Law unique among the nation’s premier public law schools.

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Ilene Fleischmann
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Law School
Tel: 716-645-7888