Saturday, August 4, 2007

New Yorkers Have Learned We Can Live Without The Death Penalty

Passage of Yet Another Death Penalty Bill Called Cynical
On July 16, the New York State legislature responded to the tragic death of a police officer shot in the line of duty by passing its third death penalty bill this year. Below is a statement on the Senate’s action by David Kaczynski, Executive Director of New Yorkers Against the Death Penalty.

July 16 2007 - “We join all New Yorkers in grieving for the recent loss of Police Officer Timoshenko, and other officers and troopers who have died in the service of all of us.

“But State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno knows that today’s passage of a death penalty bill all but identical to one passed earlier this year is a cynical and empty gesture that has no chance of becoming law.

“He knows, as New Yorkers have learned, that the death penalty does not represent swift or sure punishment. No one has been executed in New York in 44 years.

“It is unconscionable that Senator Bruno has led his chamber in this cynical exercise without addressing the plague of wrongful convictions that has seen 26 New Yorkers exonerated and freed after serving long sentences for murders or rapes they did not commit.

“The principal effect of the death penalty is to create a lot more work for lawyers at the taxpayer’s expense without any public benefit. A mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without parole for those who murder police is a tough sentence fully enforceable in New York State. It protects those who protect us without wasting untold millions of dollars on a decades-long appeals process and without risking the execution of an innocent person.

“The death penalty is a system that buries its worst mistakes. Trying to reinstate the death penalty before tackling the plague of wrongful convictions is a cynical gesture aimed at diverting attention from other issues before the legislature.

“Senator Bruno knows the measure will not become law, no matter how many times he gets his conference to pass it..

“New Yorkers have learned we can live without the death penalty. It is time for Senator Bruno to catch up with the people he represents.”

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