Senate Calls On Governor, Assembly To Enact Death Penalty Bill

Andrew J Lanza

April 25, 2007

With four police officers shot in New York in the last two weeks, including three in the last 24 hours, Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno and members of the Senate Majority Conference today called on Governor Spitzer to push the State Assembly to pass legislation that would enact the death penalty for people who kill police officers and a bill that would reinstate New York’s death penalty law.

Yesterday, 97 Assembly Democrats voted against an amendment to enact the death penalty for people who kill police officers.

According to news reports this morning, two more State Troopers have been shot, and one killed, in the effort to apprehend 23 year old Travis Trimm, who reportedly shot Trooper Matthew Gombosi in Margaretville, Delaware County, yesterday. Trooper Gombosi was wearing a bullet proof vest at the time of the shooting. Last week, Utica police officer Thomas Lindsey was shot and killed during a traffic stop. Trooper

"On Monday, I met with the family of Utica police officer Thomas Lindsey and I made a commitment that the Senate will continue to do everything we can to reinstate the death penalty to protect law enforcement officers and bring the ultimate punishment on violent criminals who target them," Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno said. "The Senate has passed death penalty legislation repeatedly, but the Assembly refuses to act.

"Governor Spitzer says he supports the death penalty. If that is true, he must come back to Albany immediately and do everything he can to get the Assembly to act before another officer is gunned down," Senator Bruno said. "This is a critically important issue, literally a matter of life and death, and the Governor should be talking to the Assembly about joining the Senate in passing legislation to protect police officers and make our communities safe. If the Assembly won’t act, the Governor should be going to the districts of 97 Assembly Democrats and ask them to explain why they voted against the death penalty for killing police officers."

"Again and again we have been urging the Governor and his fellow Democrats in the State Assembly to pass legislation that would permit the Death Penalty for those who shoot and kill police officers," said Senator Dale M. Volker. However, all we continue to hear is rhetoric and political speeches from the Governor that does absolutely nothing to protect our law enforcement professionals. We need action now, and I urge the Governor to get back to Albany and persuade his fellow Democrats in the Assembly to pass legislation allowing for the Death Penalty for those who kill our law enforcement professionals."

"I have looked into the eyes of would-be cop-killers on the streets of New York City. I know that there is this evil walking on the streets, those who endanger the lives of every single police officer," said Senator Marty Golden. "That is why it must be a priority to enact legislation that restores the death penalty here in New York State and makes it applicable to those who kill police officers. We can no longer sit back and watch the lives of New York’s Finest be jeopardized and be cut short at the hands of hoodlums. There is no greater deterrent than the death penalty to protect our society and our police officers."

"The recent shootings of State Police officers in Delaware County, Trooper Matthew Gombosi, and two more today, highlight the need to enact policies that deter criminals from killing the officers who serve to protect us," Senator John J. Bonacic (R/I/C - Mount Hope) said. "Our law enforcement officials put their lives on the line every day for all of us," Senator Bonacic continued. "Some make the ultimate sacrifice. Terrorists and cop killers should pay the ultimate price for their heinous actions."

"After sitting in two funerals for fallen police officers in a little over a year, I strongly believe we must reinstate the death penalty," said Senator Joseph A. Griffo (R,C-47). "The Governor and the Assembly need to refocus their efforts on the issues that count, including protecting law enforcement officers and the public from violent criminals. Enough is enough. We need the death penalty reinstated, and we need it put in place for criminals who kill police."

"One trooper or police officer who is wounded or killed is one too many, and it's high time New York takes a stand that those who kill law enforcement officers will pay with their lives," Senator James Seward (R-C-I, Oneonta), said. "I am outraged by the Assembly's refusal to take a stand for the protection of our troopers and police officers by passing a death penalty bill. Not only is the death penalty a deterrent, but it prevents killers from killing again, inside or outside of prison."

Last year, the Senate passed a comprehensive bill that would put stronger penalties in place for criminals that target police officers. The bill includes stronger penalties for assault, 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 that would amend the state’s death penalty law to fix a provision that was ruled invalid by the state Court of Appeals. The Senate is prepared to pass these bills once again, in an effort to protect police and the public from violent criminals.



· New York City Detective Dillon Stewart, killed attempting to pull over a car in East Flatbush, November 28, 2005.

· New York City Detective Daniel Enchautegui, killed when he interrupted a burglary in progress, December 10, 2005.

· Police Officer Joseph D. Corr, New Hartford Police Department, killed while trying to apprehend jewelry store thieves, February 27, 2006.

· State Trooper Andrew J. Sperr, killed during a traffic stop of two bank robbers in Big Flats, Chemung County, March 1, 2006.

· State Trooper Craig J. Todeschini, killed near Syracuse in pursuit of a motorcycle driver who was fleeing him, April 23, 2006.

· State Trooper Joseph A. Longobardo, killed while searching for fugitive Bucky Phillips in Chautauqua County, August 31, 2006.

· New York City Auxiliary Police Officers Eugene Marshalik and Nicholas Pekearo, killed trying to apprehend a criminal who murdered a pizza shop employee in Greenwich Village, March 14, 2007.

· Utica Police Officer Thomas Lindsey, killed during a traffic stop, April 12, 2007.