By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
In the wake of the shootings of three police officers, state Sen. Marty Golden (R-Bay Ridge-southern Brooklyn) said he’s going to keep pushing to reinstate capital punishment for cop killers in New York until a new law is on the books.
Golden, a retired cop, said he’s renewing his call to reinstate the death penalty for criminals who kill police officers. Golden had previously introduced legislation to bring back the death penalty. His bill passed the state senate, but not the assembly.
“As a former New York City police officer, I know there is evil walking on the streets of the city and state of New York, endangering the lives of every single police officer,” Golden said. “It is our responsibility to re-establish the death penalty. We can no longer sit back and watch ruthless murderers take the lives of police officers. New York needs the death penalty to protect our society and our police officers who risk their lives every day for our safety and well-being. We must not let danger rule our streets.”
Golden’s made his statement in the aftermath of the two violent incidents in which three cops were shot and injured in separate incidents on Jan. 3.
Off-duty P.O. Juan Pichardo was shot at his family's Bronx car dealership and less than two hours later transit officers Michael Levay and Lukasz Kozicki were injured in a shootout on the N train near the Fort Hamilton Parkway subway station. NBC News reported that officers approached the suspect because he was walking in between the subway cars.
In October, Nassau County cop Arthur Lopez was shot to death near Belmont Park. Police arrested convicted a suspect, Darrell Fuller, and charged him with killing Lopez and shooting an innocent motorist while fleeing police.
“Police officers all across this state put their lives on the line every day to protect the people of New York. We must toughen our laws to protect police from becoming targets for violent criminals,” Golden said.
Golden’s proposed legislation would establish the death penalty for the intentional murder of a police officer, peace officer or an employee of the New York State Department of Correctional Services.
There had been a capital punishment law in New York State until 2004, when the state’s Court of Appeals ruled that the death penalty was unconstitutional. The state’s highest court court ruled that judges were improperly required to instruct jurors in capital cases that if they were deadlocked and failed to reach a verdict during the penalty phase of a trial, the judge would impose a sentence that would leave the defendant eligible for parole after 20 to 25 years.
The website deathpenaltyinfo.org reported that in 2008, then-governor David Patterson ordered all capital punishment equipment removed from the state’s correctional facilities.
Under Golden’s bill, a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole would be imposed if a jury in a capital case is deadlocked and unable to agree on the death penalty sentence.