Senator Golden Slams Governor’s New Cop-Killer Release Policy

Martin J. Golden

November 08, 2007

State Senator and former New York City Police Officer Martin J. Golden (R-C, Brooklyn), today blasted the massive shift in policy that has taken place at the State Parole Board since Governor Eliot Spitzer took office, which has resulted in a skyrocketing Parole Board parole approval rate. Senator Golden’s announcement follows the board’s decision to release cop-killing kidnapper Shuaib Raheem without notifying the late police officer Stephen Gilroy’s widow or his wounded fellow officer.

Shuaib Raheem was sentenced to 25 years to life for his role in the murder of NYPD Officer Stephen Gilroy, which occurred during an armed robbery at a sporting goods store in Brooklyn in January of 1973. Raheem, who is incarcerated at Shawangunk Correctional Facility in Wallkill, was previously turned down for parole on five separate occasions.

Senator Marty Golden said, "Last month, we successfully killed the settlement the Spitzer Administration was negotiating to provide 1,000 of New York State’s most vicious criminals with another opportunity to be released from prison. But our effort to stop Governor Spitzer’s dangerous revolving door policy for murderers and cop-killers must continue. The Raheem case is just the latest disgraceful episode in what is fast becoming a full-fledged parole scandal that poses a serious threat to public safety in New York 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 Officer Stephen Gilroy’s widow Patricia, his fellow officer Frank Carpentier, and every member of the NYPD deserve an apology and an explanation from Governor Spitzer and his parole board."

From January 2007 to September 2007, 745 inmates incarcerated for A-1 violent felony offenses reappeared before the State Parole Board -- 133 were granted release from prison. That is a 58 percent increase in the release rate from the same period in 2006, when 750 inmates reappeared before the Board and only 85 were granted release.

Today’s announcement follows the Senate Majority’s successful efforts last month to derail the Spitzer Administration’s plans to negotiate a court settlement that would have dramatically altered the governance of parole hearings in New York State in order to favor the rights of violent criminals, including notorious killers such as Sam Berkowitz, the "Son-of-Sam." Under the proposed settlement, cop killers and other vicious criminals would have received additional opportunities to seek early parole, while also being empowered to select the parole officer of their choice.

Last month, Senator Golden sent a letter to Chairman George Alexander of the New York State Board of Parole urging that the proposed court settlement 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.

Senator Marty Golden is a former New York City Police Officer and is the sponsor of legislation in the State Senate that would reinstate the death penalty for cop-killers. Mr. Golden was the lead sponsor of the "Crimes Against Police" legislative package that increased the penalties for assaulting a police officer with a deadly weapon, attempting to murder a police officer, menacing with police officer, increasing the penalty for the possession of armor-piercing ammunition that can penetrate a cop’s bulletproof vest and for killing a cop intentionally.