No Death Penalty for New York | The Nation


No Death Penalty for New York

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On January 27th, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported that New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has newfound doubts about reinstating the death penalty.

About the Author

Mark Hatch-Miller
Mark Hatch-Miller, a winter/spring 2005 Nation intern, is an attorney at Susman Godfrey LLP in New York.

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New York's last execution occurred in 1963, and the US Supreme Court declared the state's death penalty unconstitutional in 1972. Governor Pataki, however, signed a new capital punishment law in 1995 and, according to New Yorkers Against the Death Penalty (NYDAP), the state has since spent $170 million unsuccessfully pursuing capital cases between 1995 and 2004. NYDAP is urging anti-death penalty activists to applaud Silver, who told reporters that New York has been "spending tens of millions of dollars [on death penalty cases that] may be better spent on educating children."

Even though the State Appeals court overturned the death penalty on June 24, 2004, legislators could pass a new statute at any time. Nation readers should e-mail Speaker Silver or call his office at (518) 455-5459 to voice their agreement with his new position.Please let him know that New York does not want or need a death penalty, and that we expect him, as Assembly Speaker, to represent the majority opinion of his constituents.

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