Senate Democrats Tip The Scales Of Justice Again And Move To Allow Violent Felons To Serve On Juries And Vote From Prison

On a day when Albany pauses to remember law enforcement members who lost their lives in the line of duty, Senate Democrats, who previously applauded the release of paroled cop-killer Judith Clark, continued to advance legislation that tilts the scales of justice in favor of criminals. 

Members of the Senate Republican Conference blasted Senate Democrats’ ongoing push to add to their “Criminal Bill of Rights.”

Democrats have moved legislation to permit felons to sit on juries (S221A), to establish a method for inmates to have identification that would enable them to register to vote (S4212), and to permit charitable organizations to bail out felons (S497). 

 **Please click here to watch Senate Republican press conference on this issue**

A bill in the elections committee sponsored by a Senate Democrat also seeks to grant voting rights to felons in prison (S4793), akin to the desires of Democrat Presidential candidates like Bernie Sanders, who believes that the Boston Marathon bomber and convicted terrorist Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be able to vote. 

In New York, the Senate Democrat plan would grant voting rights to felons in prison like the Son of Sam, who confessed to killing six women; LIRR gunman Colin Ferguson, who shot six dead and left 19 wounded; serial killer Joel Rifkin, who confessed to murdering 17 women on Long Island and New York City; and cop-killers who remain behind bars. 

“Justice redefined by Senate Democrats means ignoring the pain and suffering of crime victims, their families, the public, and law enforcement to deliver perks for the most violent criminals. We must ask ourselves why should serial killers, cop killers, and terrorists get the right to vote from a jail cell? How could Democrats believe that Judith Clark, a terrorist who killed two police officers and a security guard, would be an impartial juror? Where is the common sense and the respect for those who lost their lives and the families who still grieve? This is justice denied to all law abiding citizens and the Senate Republican conference will continue to fight for common sense proposals to maintain balance in our system,” said Senate Republican Leader John J. Flanagan. 

“As part of their punishment, those convicted of violent crimes forfeit certain rights and privileges afforded to law-abiding citizens. Granting voting rights to felons and allowing them to serve on juries is just the latest attempt by the new Senate Majority to fundamentally change our criminal justice system. Proposals like this, which favor offenders over victims and law abiding citizens, are offensive to crime victims and their families and should concern all New Yorkers who care about law and order,” said Senator Patrick M. Gallivan. 

“The scales of justice are meant to be balanced, yet every week, Albany’s new leaders are working to tilt these scales in favor of criminals. On a day when we are coming together to honor the members of law enforcement who lost their lives protecting our communities, they have chosen to advance legislation that once again shows blatant disregard for these officers, as well as crime victims and their loved ones. Public Safety should always be among our top priorities, and while Albany's new leaders are working to water down the criminal justice system, we will continue to fight to give victims – and the brave men and women who volunteer to serve and protect – the voice in Albany they deserve,” said Senator Sue Serino. 

This past week, the Senate Republican Conference stepped up to speak for voiceless victims after Senate Democrats celebrated the Parole Board’s decision to free Judith Clark, a radical left-wing terrorist who was involved in the 1981 Brinks heist that left two police officers and a security guard dead. 

After the decision, one Senate Democrat said there were “many Judith Clarks” in pushing his legislation to grant parole hearings to any inmate who has served 15 years who has reached age 55. The legislation has angered many crime victims and families. 

Last week, Senate Republicans also unveiled the Victims’ Justice Agenda, a package of legislation that aims to reform the parole system to keep violent criminals behind bars without parole and ease the parole process for suffering victims, families, and the public.