Senator Volker Continues To Urge State Assembly To Act On Technical Fix To Reestablish Capital Punishment In New York

William T. Stachowski

March 16, 2006

(ALBANY, NY) Senator Dale M. Volker (R-C-I, Depew) today urged the Democratic leadership of the New York State Assembly to act on legislation already approved last year by the State Senate to fix a technical flaw in New York State’s Capital Punishment statute.

Yesterday, A Wyoming County Sheriff's deputy and an Attica village police officer were shot Wednesday evening after responding to a 911 call from a Bennington home located in Wyoming County. Sgt. Greg Rudolph of the Wyoming County Sheriff's Department and Officer Andy Houghton of the Village of Attica Police Department have both survived the shootings.

"It is becoming more obvious everyday that criminals have declared "open season" on our law enforcement professionals," said Senator Dale M. Volker. " I cannot understand why the Democratic leadership in the State Assembly will not allow their members the opportunity for this bill to be either voted up or down. We must not wait for another of our law enforcement professionals to be killed or maimed in order to correct a technical flaw in our state capital punishment statute," said Senator Dale M. Volker. "Approximately two weeks ago, a New York State Trooper and Town of New Hartford police officer were murdered. Yesterday, two more police officers in Wyoming County were shot and wounded. Should we not allow our citizens, our courts and our persecutors to have the option of asking for the Death Penalty in seeking justice? This current illegal behavior is simply unacceptable and we need to instill within our society that the Death Penalty will be an option for those who kill and kill again."

Last year, the New York State Senate passed Senate Bill 2727, which would require that in addition to capital punishment or life in prison without parole, juries would be given a third option of imposing a sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole during the sentencing phase. Additionally, it would require that if a jury is deadlocked, a sentence of life without parole would be imposed and juries could be told of that provision before sentencing. This legislation addresses the New York State Court of Appeals concerns regarding to its’ constitutionality.

Senator Volker "reported out" legislation from the Senate Codes Committee that would again fix a technical flaw in the state’s capital punishment statute. Additionally, Senator Martin Golden’s bill seeking the Death Penalty for cop killers has also been "reported out" of the Senate Codes Committee.

Our current Death Penalty statute was adopted in 1995 by a 2/3rds majority of the State Assembly and State Senate. This percentage closely resembles the current percentages of New Yorkers and Americans that support the Death Penalty.