Viewers of the Oscar-winning documentary Capturing the Friedmans will likely remember that Jesse Friedman, the son of Arnold Friedman, was accused and convicted in 1988 of molesting 13 children at a computer class in Great Neck, New York. It's pretty hard to forget the Friedmans' harrowing case as presented by Capturing the Friedmans, which points out that much of the case against the Friedmans' was based on the testimony of easily manipulated kids that were encouraged to testify against the Friedmans. It's a case that led to both Arnold and Jesse's conviction and eventually to Arnold's suicide in prison.

Now Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice plans on revisiting the case that probably wrongfully convicted Jesse Friedman, now 40 years old and paroled in 2001. According to the Huffington Post, Rice's decision "comes a day after a federal appeals court criticized police, prosecutors and the judge who handled the case against Arnold and Jesse Friedman." Jesse Friedman's latest appeal was rejected on technical grounds as a judge ruled that, "The record here suggests 'a reasonable likelihood' that Jesse Friedman was wrongfully convicted...the police, prosecutors and the judge did everything they could to coerce a guilty plea and avoid a trial."

On a personal note, I have to say that this news is more surreal than anything else. The case is a rather old one and though I live in Great Neck, the Friedmans' story doesn't circulate much near me anymore. This might be because I live on the border between Long Island and Queens and hence only technically live in Great Neck but more likely it's because nobody wants to talk about the case anymore.

I've only lived in Great Neck for seven years so I can't tell you how reaction to the Friedmans has changed over much time but I can say that the documentary Capturing the Friedmans was a much-needed way for the community to come to terms with what happened. I think it helped a lot to see the case addressed however as it more than likely has always been at the back of the minds of many older residents. And hopefully, if Jesse Friedman does have his sentence overturned, the stigma that surrounds the case, especially because of Arnold Friedman's suicide, will be significantly decreased.
CATEGORIES Movies, Cinematical