Senate Joins Law Enforcement Officers In Renewing Call To Pass Death Penalty Legislation For Cop Killers

Martin J. Golden

May 22, 2007

As law enforcement officers from across the State converge on Albany for the annual Remembrance Ceremony at the New York State Police Officers Memorial, members of the Senate Majority today renewed their call for legislation, sponsored by Senator Martin Golden (R-C, Brooklyn), to establish the death penalty for criminals who kill police officers.

The legislation to establish the death penalty for cop killers, S.319, was approved by the State Senate on May 14, 2007.

"As a former member of the NYPD, I know firsthand the dangers that our police officers face on the streets every day," said Senator Golden. "Over the past two years, New Yorkers have watched in horror as one courageous police officer after another has fallen prey to ruthless killers. It is time for the State Assembly to join the Senate by passing this legislation, because New York needs the death penalty to protect our society and our police officers."

"Police officers all across this state put their lives on the line every day to protect the people of New York, and sadly, today, we are adding the names of seven officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice to the Police Officers Memorial," said Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno. "Too many law enforcement officers are killed and injured by violent criminals while honoring their commitment to protect and serve this state, and it is our responsibility to do everything we can to protect our brave heroes. This legislation, which the Senate has passed on several occasions, will protect our communities and our police officers from violent criminals."

"My son paid the ultimate price to keep the people of our community safe," said David Corr, father of slain New Hartford Police Officer Joseph Corr. "Joe went to work everyday without thinking twice about the dangers. New York State must take the necessary steps to punish those guilty of the type of crimes that took my son's life and make those who would have the audacity to kill in cold blood think twice before pulling the trigger."

"The Senate has done their part to protect law enforcement and bring those responsible for these heinous acts to justice," said Senator Joseph Griffo (R-C, Rome). "It is time now, for our partners in government to join us and reinstate capital punishment. Our brave members of law enforcement have spoken loudly and clearly about the need for the death penalty, we need to do our part and answer their call."

"Time and time again, the decision that capital punishment may be used in extreme cases is an option that residents of New York State deem appropriate," said Senator Dale M. Volker (R-C-I, Depew). "Certain crimes are themselves so horrific that they are an attack on the very foundation of our nation. In these extreme cases, the appropriate legal action may be capital punishment. Is it grandstanding to seek the death penalty for people who kill police officers? Of course not, and the majority of New Yorkers continue to support the death penalty when these heinous crimes occur."

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 legislation passed by the Senate would address those concerns with respect to the murder of a police officer, peace officer, or correctional officer by mandating the sentence of life without parole if the jury is deadlocked and unable to agree on the death penalty sentence.

"I urge the Assembly to act on this critically important bill to protect our police officers," said Senator Bruno. "In 1995, 94 members of the Assembly voted in favor of death penalty legislation, and I believe this bill would pass if brought up for a vote."