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

William T. Stachowski

March 02, 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.

Today, a New York State Trooper was shot and killed by an armed suspect near Elmira. Today's shooting comes two days after a Town of New Hartford police officer near Utica died from a gunshot wound to the neck suffered while chasing a robbery suspect.

"We must not wait for another of our law enforcement professionals to be killed in order to correct a technical flaw in our state capital punishment statute," said Senator Dale M. Volker.

"In the last two days, a New York State Trooper and Town of New Hartford police officer were murdered. Should we not allow our citizens, our courts and our persecutors to have the option of asking for the Death Penalty in seeking justice? It is clear to me that since the Court of Appeals struck down our capital punishment statute, there has been a slight up-tick in the number of violent crimes and murders. This is 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 plans to "report out" legislation next week in 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 will be "reported out" of the Senate Codes Committee next week.

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.