Senate Passes Bill To Establish Death Penalty For Cop Killers

Martin J. Golden

May 30, 2008

The New York State Senate today passed legislation, sponsored by
Senator Martin Golden (R-C, Brooklyn), that would establish the death
penalty for criminals who kill police officers.

“As a former New York City Police Officer, I know there is evil
walking on the streets of the City and State of New York, endangering the
lives of every single police officer,” Senator Golden said. “It is our
responsibility to pass this legislation and send it to the Governor -- we
can no longer sit back and watch ruthless murderers take the lives of
police officers. New York needs the death penalty to protect our society
and our police officers who risk their lives every day for our safety and
well-being. We must not let danger rule our streets.”

“Police officers all across this state put their lives on the line
every day to protect the people of New York,” said Senate Majority Leader
Joseph L. Bruno. “We must toughen our laws to protect police from becoming
victims of violent criminals. Too many law enforcement officers are killed
while honoring their commitment to protect and serve this state -- and many
more are injured and wounded in the line of duty. We need to do everything
we can to protect our brave heroes, and this legislation will protect our
communities, and our police officers, from violent criminals.”

The legislation (S.6414) would establish the death penalty for the
intentional murder of a police officer, peace officer or an employee of the
Department of Correctional Services.

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 addresses 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 bring this critically important bill to
protect our police officers to the floor,” 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.”

The bill was sent to the Assembly.