Bipartisan Bill Would Make it First Degree Murder to Kill an Emergency Responder
State Senator Patty Ritchie has announced that “Mark’s Law,” a measure that would make killing an emergency responder First Degree Murder, passed 59-0 in the Senate.
Senator Ritchie introduced Mark’s Law a year ago in honor of Mark Davis, an emergency medical technician who was shot to death while responding to a call for help in the Jefferson County village of Cape Vincent.
“Today is a bittersweet day for the friends, family members and former colleagues of Mark Davis,” said Senator Ritchie. “The passage of this bipartisan bill honors his sacrifice, and sends a strong message to anyone who might think of hurting the people who give their lives to protect us each and every day.”
Senator Ritchie was joined today in the Senate Chamber by Mark’s mother, Marsha Dickinson, his father Larry Dickinson, his brother, Michael Dickinson and his sister, Maricia Astafan.
“Helping others was Mark’s passion,” said Mrs. Dickinson. “There’s nothing we can do to bring Mark back. But, if we can save even just one more life through Mark’s Law, that’s what’s important; that something good comes out of our family’s tragedy.”
Right now, life imprisonment without the possibility of parole is a punishment reserved for police officers, peace officers, uniformed court officers, parole officers, probation officers, employees of the division of youth and corrections officers.
“Mark’s Law” amends the Penal Law to make it First Degree Murder to kill emergency responders, emergency medical technicians, firefighters, volunteer firefighters, ambulance drivers, paramedics, physicians or nurses involved in a first response team.
“When a disaster or emergency strikes, people like Mark Davis are the ones running in to help, when everyone else is running away,” said Senator Ritchie. “It only makes sense that these people who risk their lives are granted the same protection as other public servants.”
Senator Ritchie would like to thank the co-sponsors of the legislation: Deputy Senate Majority Leader Thomas W. Libous, and Senators Joseph A. Griffo, Thomas F. O’Mara, and Tony Avella.
The Senator would also like to acknowledge Jefferson County District Attorney Cindy Intschert, who worked with her on the practical implications and language of the bill.
The bill was sent to the Assembly, where it is sponsored by Assemblywoman Addie Russell.