NY Timeline


HELPFUL LINKS ON CURRENT CASES FROM DPIC

dot Federal Death Penalty Information - Zacarias Moussaoui

dot The Effect of Extensive Time on Death Row - Michael Ross

dot Military Death Penalty Information - Sgt. Hasan Akbar
A TIMELINE OF
NEW YORK'S
DEATH PENALTY 
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1600-1963
New York carries out 1,130 executions.

1890
First state to use the electric chair.

August 15, 1963
Last execution: Eddie Lee Mays

1965
Death penalty eliminated for most crimes.

July 1972
U.S. Supreme Court invalidates existing death penalty laws.

1974-1978
Attempts to reinstate the death penalty are struck down by the courts.

1978 - 1994
Death penalty legislation routinely passes the legislature, but is vetoed by Governors Hugh Carey and Mario Cuomo. The governors are consistently re-elected.

November 8, 1994
George Pataki is elected Governor and promises to restore the death penalty.

September 1995
Death penalty reinstated and life-without-parole sentencing option created.

June 2002
New York City Council calls for a moratorium on executions.

March 2003
A Quinnipiac University poll reveals 53% of New Yorkers prefer life without parole and only 38% favor the death penalty.

June 2004
State’s highest court rules statute unconstitutional. Seven people had been sentenced to death.

September 14, 2004
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver puts a hold on death penalty bill. A series of public hearings on capital punishment is announced.

December 2004 - February 2005
Five public hearings in New York City and Albany take place. Overwhelming majority of speakers opposes reinstatement of the death penalty.

April 4, 2005
Report of hearings published, citing numerous flaws in the death penalty.

April 12, 2005
The Codes Committee of the New York Assembly defeats the reinstatement bill, likely ending such efforts during this legislative term.

"The first time I voted for the death penalty, I thought of the law as majestic and that there was very little chance of a mistake. Then you grow up. Look at the DNA evidence -- you realize that people can make terrible mistakes. … Times change. I never thought I'd
vote against the death penalty.
But I've come to realize that no one's perfect, including judges and juries."

– New York Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol. (Washington Post, April 13, 2005)

New York Death Penalty Page
Recent Legislation