Senate Passes Funke Bill to Charge D.a. Killers WITH First Degree Murder

Rich Funke

June 19, 2015

The New York State Senate today passed S.2711, a bill sponsored by Senator Rich Funke to create a new first degree murder charge for the intentional killing of a prosecutor or district attorney. The legislation would put prosecutors in parity with police officers, corrections officers, and judges, whose killers are automatically eligible for a charge of murder in the first degree. The bill passed with bipartisan support.

“Prosecutors serve as important links in the chain of law enforcement professionals who take criminals off our streets and put them behind bars,” said Funke. “Right now, everyone involved in the arrest, sentencing, and imprisonment of criminals are afforded special protections under the law, since their killers would face an automatic first degree murder charge. I’m proud this legislation extends those protections to prosecutors serving under our great District Attorneys, like Monroe D.A. Sandra Doorley, and I encourage the Assembly to act quickly to get this done.”

Existing penal law contains the automatic offense of murder in the first degree for the intentional killing of a police officer, correctional facility employee, judge, firefighter, emergency medical technician, ambulance driver, paramedic, physician, and registered nurse. However, the killing of a prosecutor or D.A. is not currently covered under the same charge in New York State. In many cases involving the murder of a prosecutor or district attorney, the victims had been targeted by criminals they helped to put in jail or were attempting to put in jail.

“It is difficult to comprehend the need for legislation such as this but as a law enforcement official serving our community, it is unfortunately necessary. Each day we are tasked with making sure that the most violent and dangerous offenders are taken off our streets. This type of legislation may act as a deterrent for those who consider retribution,” said Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley. “The climate for law enforcement officials, whether it be on the front lines or in the courts, has become more dangerous. We need laws such as this to attract hardworking and devoted citizens to these professions. I commend the New York State Senate for acting on the bill and assisting us in providing a safer environment in which to serve our community.”

The bill has been sent to the Assembly.