November 10, 2009

Assembly Approves Legislation Mandating
Consecutive Sentences For Class A-1 Offenders

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assembly Codes Committee Chair Joseph R. Lentol today announced the passage of legislation in an extraordinary session called by Governor David Paterson that would mandate consecutive sentences for persons convicted of Class A-1 felony offenses. Separately, the bill (Extraordinary Session Assembly Bill A.5) would deny credit for previous time served to offenders who are seriously ill and potentially eligible to seek consideration for medical parole.

"Today's legislation makes clear that persons convicted of class A-I felony offenses such as murder and kidnapping will not receive credit for time served under previous sentences," said Silver (D-Manhattan). "Judges have always had the power to order consecutive sentencing under such circumstances. By this legislation, we mandate this tougher sanction."

"This resolves any doubt that when you're sentenced for a crime you're going to serve all the time you are sentenced to," said Lentol (D-Brooklyn). "This bill is an important step towards protecting New Yorkers from violent criminals in their communities."

Also, under current law certain gravely ill inmates may seek consideration for medical parole after serving at least one-half of their court-imposed sentences. This bill makes clear that no credit toward this minimum 50 percent service requirement may be given for time served by the inmate under any previous sentence.

"Repeat offenders convicted of heinous crimes should not be afforded special breaks or benefits," said Assemblyman William B. Magnarelli (D-Syracuse). This change to the Penal Law makes clear that consecutive sentencing is required for class A-I felony offenders,"

Silver added, "The Assembly will continue to work with Governor Paterson and the Senate in the coming days on a deficit reduction plan to close this year's $3 billion budget gap."