Senate Passes Death Penalty Legislation

Martin J. Golden

March 09, 2005

In observance of National Police Week, the New York State Senate late yesterday 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 understand the true dangers that law enforcement officers face each and every day as they seek to protect all members of our society," said Senator Marty Golden. "There are individuals who endanger the lives of every single police officer. As a Legislature, it was our responsibility to pass this legislation and send it to the Governor, because 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."

Senator Marty Golden continued, "If the State Assembly fails to pass this legislation, it will be evident that in fact they have no regard for the life of a police officer. This is a necessary piece of legislation that must become law here in New York State.

The legislation the Senate passed yesterday (S.319) 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 legislation 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.

The bill was sent to the Assembly.