Fossella & Golden Declare Victory In Effort To Stop Early Parole For NY’s Most Violent Criminals

Martin J. Golden

November 15, 2007

[Brooklyn, NY]- Congressman Vito Fossella (R-NY13) and State Senator Martin J. Golden (R-C, Brooklyn) today declared victory in their efforts to prevent convicted cop-killers, rapists and arsonists from getting early parole under a proposed deal that was being negotiated by the Spitzer Administration.

Governor Spitzer announced yesterday that he would abandon plans to settle a lawsuit filed by 1,000 prisoners who were seeking new parole hearings. Fossella and Golden spoke out against the deal, which would have altered the governance of parole hearings in New York State and favored the rights of violent criminals, last weekend at a press conference with the family of the late Police Officer Harry Ryman. One of the felons involved in the killing of Officer Ryman would have been eligible for a new parole hearing under the agreement, according to published reports.

Fossella said, “This is good news for the safety and security of New Yorkers. The last thing we need to do is issue 'Get Out of Jail Free' cards to cop-killers, rapists and arsonists. It is unconscionable that these violent criminals might have been sprung from jail early after being denied parole. New York's criminal justice system is already too lenient on cop-killers and other heinous criminals. These criminals were sent to jail and they should spend every day of their sentence locked behind bars.”

Senator Marty Golden stated, “The effort to provide 1,000 of New York State’s most vicious criminals with another opportunity to be released from prison was a plan that was an outrageous threat to public safety. If this policy was approved, the welfare of all New Yorkers would have been jeopardized. The release of these individuals would have been a direct challenge to the progress made in fighting crime, reducing homicides, and preventing robberies here in the Empire State.”

Golden continued, “Those who kill police officers, and all citizens, do not deserve another chance to be a free member of our society. Police Officers Henry Ryman and David Guttenberg were killed by two of these men who would be eligible, Barrington Young and Pablo Costello. Officers Ryman and Guttenberg do not have another chance at life, and their killers should not have another chance at freedom. I commend the Ryman Family and the friends of Officer Guttenberg for their mobilization, in memory of their loved ones, urging the Governor to abandon this misguided attempt. Their message was heard.”

Last week, Fossella sent a letter to New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo urging him to reject the plan being negotiated by the Spitzer Administration. Golden sent a letter to Chairman George Alexander of the New York State Board of Parole urging that this poorly conceived policy be rejected and to allow justice to prevail for the surviving family members and for the safety of all New Yorkers. In addition, Golden is preparing legislation that would statutorily prevent the New York State Parole Board from setting early parole hearings.