The budget agreement reached by lawmakers in Albany late Tuesday contains $1.7 million for a capital defenders office; a state agency dedicated to defending inmates on death row, even though the state no longer has a capital punishment law.
Assemblyman Joe Giglio (R-Gowanda) and his Assembly minority colleagues say they have no problem with the office or the appropriation. However, their consent is contingent upon the institution of a capital punishment law that currently does not exist.
An attempt by Giglio and the Assembly minority members to reinstate a death penalty today was rejected by the Assembly majority. The minority amendment called for the death penalty for individuals convicted of murdering police, correction, or peace officers.
"The majority needs to hear our pleas to get this law passed," said Giglio. "We cannot do enough to protect the men and women who risk their lives to keep us safe. They deserve every effort from us to be protected when they go out to work."
In December, the governor and state legislators passed two bills that toughened gun-control laws and increased penalties for violence against police officers - after two New York City police officers were killed. This year, two police officers were shot dead by robbery suspects in two separate incidents in Chemung and Oneida counties.