The Hon. Robert S. Smith (Ret.) to Co-Chair NY State Bar Task Force on Wrongful Convictions

June 4, 2018

Michael Miller, President of the New York State Bar Association, announced today that Friedman Kaplan partner and former New York Court of Appeals Judge the Hon. Robert S. Smith (Ret.) and former New York State Supreme Court Justice the Hon. Barry Kamins (Ret.) will co-chair a task force on wrongful convictions for the bar association. Their mission will be "to update the 2009 report with recommendations based upon new developments, technology, science, experience and judicial decisions, and make affirmative recommendations to reduce the likelihood of wrongful convictions," said Mr. Miller.  In particular, the task force will examine the progress the state has made since the last report, and will look at new developments such as the ability to identify and reexamine convictions that were obtained based on unreliable forensic evidence.

In addition to Messers. Smith and Kamins, the panel will include U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff of the Southern District of New York, district attorneys from the Bronx, Nassau and Erie counties, and representatives from the legal aid society, the attorney general’s office, the defenders office, and law schools. Martin Tankleff, a victim of wrongful conviction who spent 17 years in prison before his conviction was overturned, and who has since being released obtained his J.D., will also serve on the panel.

“We are honor-bound to do everything within our power to help prevent wrongful convictions, and to overturn wrongful convictions of the past," said Judge Smith.  "I’m honored to be joining Judge Kamins and the other members of the Task Force in working on this very serious and difficult problem.”