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Senate Passes Death Penalty Legislation

 

Senator Thomas P. Morahan announcedthat the New York State Senate passed legislation that will reinstate the death penalty for criminals who kill police officers. The Senate also passed a bill that would amend the state’s death penalty law to fix a provision that was ruled invalid by the state Court of Appeals.

Senate action on the legislation was announced today at a Capitol news conference where Senator Morahan and members of the Majority Conference were joined by David and Kathy Corr, whose son Joseph Corr, a New Hartford Police Officer, was shot and killed in February while chasing a jewelry store robber.

"Police officers all across this state put their lives on the line every day to protect the people of New York. We must toughen our laws to protect police from becoming victims of violent criminals. It’s time to reinstate the death penalty for cop killers," said Senator Morahan.

The Senate passed a comprehensive bill (S.6771) would put stronger penalties in place for criminals that target police officers. The bill includes stronger penalties for assault, menacing, murder and attempted murder of an officer, as well as increased penalties for possession of armor-piercing ammunition and the reinstatement of the death penalty for criminals who kill police officers.

The Senate also passed legislation today that would amend the state’s death penalty law to fix a provision that was ruled invalid by the state Court of Appeals.

In 2004, the Court of Appeals overturned death penalty sentences, saying that judges were improperly required to instruct jurors in capital cases that if they deadlocked and failed to reach a verdict during the penalty phase of a trial, the judge would impose a sentence that would leave the defendant eligible for parole after 20 to 25 years.

This bill (S.2727) would require that in addition to capital punishment or life in prison without parole, juries would be given a third option of imposing a sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole when sentencing convicted murderers.

Also, the bill requires that, if a jury is deadlocked, a sentence of life without parole would be imposed, and juries would be told of that provision before sentencing. All pending capital cases, as well as crimes committed prior to the effective date of any change in the law, would be affected by the changes included in this bill.

The bills were sent to the Assembly.

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