Court Says New York’s Death Penalty Is Unconstitutional
Posted: June 25, 2004
New York’s highest court has ruled that a provision of the state’s capital punishment statute violates the state constitution, a decision that appears to invalidate the sentences of all four men on New York’s death row. In New York, if a jury deadlocks, the judge imposes a sentence of 20-25 years to life, giving the possibility of parole. In its 4-3 ruling, the Court of Appeals said that these sentencing rules might unconstitutionally coerce jurors into voting for a death sentence rather than risk a deadlock by holding out for life without parole. The Court advised the legislature to correct the sentencing problem if the state is to continue trying defendants on capital charges. (Associated Press, June 24, 2004) Read the DPIC Summary of the case. See Life Without Parole.