Letter to Assembly Members Opposing Death Penalty

Dear Assemblymember:

Lambda Independent Democrats (LID) is united in its opposition to the reintroduction of the Death Penalty in New York State subsequent to its having been declared unconstitutional in 2004.

We reject the idea of a legislative "quick fix" to bring back a wasteful, ineffective, unjust law, which has been shown time and again not to be a deterrent to homicide or other violent crimes. We note that in Rochester where the Death Penalty has been frequently sought, the homicide rate has risen significantly since the 1995 re-introduction of the Death Penalty, while in Manhattan where the Death Penalty has never been entertained, homicide rates have fallen dramatically.

New York State has wasted over $170 million dollars on expenses related to the Death Penalty, only to find that the law does not work. Nationally over 113 people on death row have been found to be innocent and freed, while in New York many of those convicted of serious crime (including murder) have been exonerated years after their imprisonment. While not one execution has taken place, New York's history of wrongful conviction presents an unacceptable risk when applied to any Death Penalty legislation.

LID believes it is impossible to design a death penalty law in new York State which is fairly administered, consistently applied, is free from racial, economic, ethnic or geographic bias, and which prevents the conviction of the innocent.

We therefore urge you to vote against any new Death Penalty legislation and to urge your legislative leadership to resis its re-consideration.


Gary Parker, MSW
Lambda Independent Democrats

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