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Letter: Friedman conviction should be set aside

Jesse Friedman at a news conference at State

Jesse Friedman at a news conference at State Supreme Court in Mineola on June 24, 2013. Credit: Howard Schnapp

I've made my life in the law, as a lawyer, law professor, and, for 33 years, as a New York State judge, now retired. Your article "New Friedman court filing on 1988 sex case" [News, June 25] takes us back to the convictions of two members of the Friedman family, Jesse and his late father, Arnold, who took his own life while in prison. The Friedman convictions are a cancer on the justice system that must be removed, and the sooner the better.

These two convictions of an arguably innocent father and son, and the ruination of a good family, resulted from community hysteria in Great Neck, which was whipped into moral panic by overzealous, incompetent, self-righteous and excessively ambitious police work, by abysmal prosecutorial deficiencies, and by puerile judicial oversight at trial.

Needed most now is official courage and integrity to do the right thing and excise these malignant convictions and try to give back to Friedman and his family what might be left of a semblance of a normal life.

William Erlbaum, Forest Hills

Editor's note: The writer is an adjunct professor at Brooklyn Law School and CUNY York College.