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Death Penalty Voted Down by New York Assembly

Update: Three Cheers for New York Assemblypersons!

The New York State Assembly Codes Committee today defeated a bill to reinstate New York’s death penalty. The vote comes after five full days of public testimony that the death penalty is riddled with flaws and wastes millions of dollars. The Assembly’s report of the hearing was released last week, adding to a growing wave of voices questioning the death penalty across the country.

“New York is not alone. There is a growing consensus in this country
that as a matter of policy, the death penalty is an expensive failure,” said Shari Silberstein, Co-Director of the Quixote Center, a national faith-based organization working for a moratorium on executions while questions of fairness are studied and addressed.

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Original Post: 4/11/05

There will be a historic vote in the New York Assembly tomorrow on whether the state's death penalty should be reinstated.

New York's death penalty was declared unconstitutional last year. Tuesday, the 18-member Assembly Codes Committee will vote on a "quick fix." A current head count by various justice organizations shows that the "fix" likely will be deleted, effectively killing New York's death penalty for the remainder of this legislative session.

Network for Justice provides the reasons why the bill should be defeated:

  • The law has been applied unfairly,
  • Innocent people have been sentenced to death,
  • It codifies violence and vengeance as instruments of public policy.
  • Since 1995, at least $200 million has been wasted on capital punishment that could have been invested in crime prevention, law enforcement, and victims' assistance.

The death penalty does not deter others from committing violent crimes nor does it bring closure to victims. It is ineffective and unjust, both discriminatory and wasteful of resources that should be used for crime prevention and victims' services. This issue is critical in determining fair and equal justice for all New York.

The full report is available here. Your help is still needed. Here's what you can do:

  • If you are in the Albany area: The Codes Committee session is open to the public in room 342 of the Capitol Building in Albany beginning at 11 am. Please attend to show your support for the Committee's rejection of the death penalty!
  • Convey your thanks to forward-thinking politicians: Contact Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver at 518-455-3791 or speaker@assembly.state.ny.us and thank him for holding hearings on the death penalty!
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  • Re: Death Penalty Voted Down by New York Assembly (none / 0) (#1)
    by Che's Lounge on Mon Apr 11, 2005 at 07:51:14 PM EST
    What the heck is an Assembly Codes Committee, and what the heck is a "quick fix"? No wonder people get frustrated.

    Sorry, I left out a link, it's added now. Also, Network for Justice explains it in full.

    TL advocating money for victims assistance. A bit suprising. I advocate, instead of the death penalty, life without parole at hard labour.

    It must be nice to live in a state where they even have debates over the death penalty. In Texas, we can't even get a LWOP law passed because prosecutors and so-called victims' rights groups lobby against it, for fear that it will result in fewer death sentences.

    "I advocate, instead of the death penalty, life without parole at hard labour." Sounds nice, but seriously, how hard would that labor be? TL, you going to stand for seeing some of your clients forced to do slave labor? What about this U.N.I.O.N. group in another post? Hard labor nowdays is pick up a little trash then, lift weights and watch Oprah.

    There is no worse punishment than to be locked away for life, hard labor or no. Life in prison is a living death - far worse than being put to sleep painlessly. Imagine the sheer intolerable boredom, and reliving again and again the moments that got you where you are. If someone killed one of my loved ones, I would want him/her to suffer as long as possible - for a lifetime!

    Re: Death Penalty Voted Down by New York Assembly (none / 0) (#7)
    by Che's Lounge on Tue Apr 12, 2005 at 10:45:05 AM EST
    Thank You.

    wcmci - If someone killed one of my loved ones, I would want him/her to suffer as long as possible - for a lifetime! That's precisely there is such a thing as a criminal justice system. Justice is not vengeance. The deprivation of freedom is the punishment and it's painful enough. Torture is not part of the deal, although when looking at the US prisons today, one wonders...

    "The deprivation of freedom is the punishment and it's painful enough. Torture is not part of the deal, although when looking at the US prisons today, one wonders..." See what I mean, Wile. E? No Hard Labour allowed!

    Re: Death Penalty Voted Down by New York Assembly (none / 0) (#11)
    by kdog on Tue Apr 12, 2005 at 12:05:41 PM EST
    come now narius...the death penalty is no deterrent. Today, at least for one day, I am proud of my state govt. But I'm sure they will do something stupid tommorow. I'll take what I can get.

    Re: Death Penalty Voted Down by New York Assembly (none / 0) (#13)
    by kdog on Tue Apr 12, 2005 at 12:38:17 PM EST
    But what if their innocent?

    Maybe we can get some of those Death Vans in China to extend their route

    Re: Death Penalty Voted Down by New York Assembly (none / 0) (#15)
    by kdog on Tue Apr 12, 2005 at 01:25:38 PM EST
    Don't give narius any ideas JHC...he is obviously jealous of China style justice.

    Establishing guilt without error obviously is paramount. If there is some doubt, don't apply the death penalty.
    I might be wrong, but isn't that the whole point of the legal system anyways? So if people might be innocent, we should just give them life without parole instead? I dunno, that seems like we don't understand our basics.

    Re: Death Penalty Voted Down by New York Assembly (none / 0) (#18)
    by scarshapedstar on Tue Apr 12, 2005 at 04:18:27 PM EST
    AJ, Actually, the notion of an infallible court seems a lot more nave.

    Re: Death Penalty Voted Down by New York Assembly (none / 0) (#19)
    by Che's Lounge on Tue Apr 12, 2005 at 07:17:30 PM EST
    If there is some doubt, don't apply the death penalty. Well S**T what a great idea! Jeebus where in the heck do you people get this stuff?

    "I would want him/her to suffer as long as possible - for a lifetime" So would the guy who committed the murder, which is why so many plead out.

    If there is some doubt, don't apply the death penalty.
    if there is some doubt i would hope the death penalty was not applied, iirc some doubt would probably get him set free if it was reasonable. 2d that Che, some of the comments here funnier than "theBlueCollar comedy tour".

    "Actually, the notion of an infallible court seems a lot more nave" Agreed. Too bad for Teri Schiavo. Or was the court infallible there?

    For all of you so ready to express opinion, might I suggest some sound sources for background info? 1) When the State Kills, author Austin Sarat 2) Dead Man Walking, author Sister helen Prejean 3) The Death of Innocents, author Sister Helen Prejean 4) Actual Innocence, author Barry Scheck They are full of wisdom, hard concrete facts, and information about the good, bad, and ugly (mostly ugly), about not only the death penalty, but the inherent flaws of our judicial system, which although the BEST in the world, is VERY FAR from perfect.