August 2, 2018

Speaker Heastie Statement on the Death Penalty

Governor Mario Cuomo was right when he stood against efforts to reinstate the death penalty. And the New York State Court of Appeals was right when they ruled that the 1995 reinstatement of the death penalty was unconstitutional.

The death penalty is flawed, discriminatory and outdated. The evidence that the death penalty is ineffective and imposed in a disproportionate manner is overwhelming. People, and our court systems, are fallible. According to the NYCLU, since 1973 more than 100 people on death row have been exonerated after other evidence came to light. And while there are those that say the death penalty acts as a deterrent to crimes, numbers in New York do not support that. Since the NYS Court of Appeals struck down the death penalty in 2004, the murder rate in New York has actually dropped by 39 percent from 899 murders in 2004 to 546 in 2017.

Today, 31 states continue to impose the death penalty. New York is not one of them, and I will work with Governor Cuomo to ensure the death penalty will not be imposed in our state.