NY Assembly Dems kill reinstatement of death penalty

ALBANY — The Democratic-controlled state Assembly’s powerful Codes Committee voted 11-7 Tuesday not to send legislation aimed at reinstating New York’s death penalty to the full house for a vote, a move that may effectively kill the effort for this year.

Such legislation has been pushed hard by Republican Gov. George Pataki and the state Senate’s Republican majority leader, Joseph Bruno.

New York’s death penalty was reinstated in 1995 by the Legislature and the newly elected Pataki who had vowed, as part of his successful campaign to oust then-Democratic Gov. Mario Cuomo, to bring capital punishment back. Cuomo, in 12 years as governor, had routinely vetoed death penalty legislation.

The 1995 death penalty law was effectively declared invalid by a ruling from the state’s highest court last year. Since the law took effect in 1995, no person in New York has been executed.

“I’m very pleased,” said Albany’s Roman Catholic bishop, Howard Hubbard, after the committee vote. “I think the death penalty has not proven effective and is morally repugnant.” While he has been a death penalty supporter in the past, state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, has cooled to the policy in recent months.

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