Senate Passes Death Penalty For Cop Killers Legislation

Michael F. Nozzolio

May 14, 2007

Albany- In observance of National Police Week, New York State Senator Michael Nozzolio today announced that legislation that he is sponsoring that would establish the death penalty for criminals who kill police officers was adopted by the New York State Senate.

“Police officers all across this state put their lives on the line every day to protect the people of New York,” said Senator Nozzolio. “We must toughen our laws to protect police from becoming victims of violent criminals.”

“Too many law enforcement officers are being killed while honoring their commitment to protect and serve this state -- and many more are injured and wounded in the line of duty,” Nozzolio continued. “We need to do everything we can to protect our brave heroes, and this legislation will help protect our society and our police officers from violent criminals.”

The legislation the Senate adopted (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.

“I urge the Assembly to bring this critically important bill to protect our police officers to the floor,” said Senator Nozzolio. “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.”