M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives

ARCHIVES OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND POLICY

Finding Aid for the
GUIDE TO THE NEW YORK ASSEMBLY DEATH PENALTY HEARINGS, 2004-2005
(APAP-206)

For reference queries contact the Grenander Department Reference staff

Finding Aid Compiled by
Sean Heather McGraw
August 2006



 
 
 
 
 
 

M. E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives 
University Libraries / University at Albany / State University of New York 
1400 Washington Avenue / Albany, New York 12222 / (518) 437-3935


VOLUME: 1.6 cubic ft.

ACQUISITION: All items in this manuscript group were donated to the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department Special Collections and Archives, by Eugene G. Wanger.

ACCESS: Access to this record group is unrestricted.

COPYRIGHT: The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Administrative History

Scope and Content Note

Series Descriptions

Box and Folder List:


Death Penalty in New York Testimony
Administrative History

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The Death Penalty in New York Testimony Collection contains records of a succession of public hearings by New York State Assembly Standing Committees on Codes, Judiciary and Correction held in December 2004 through February 2005. The hearings took place in reaction to the June 24, 2004, decision by the New York Court of Appeals to strike down the New York's capital punishment law enacted in 1995. The decision, rendered in People v. LaValle, struck down New York's "deadlock" instruction provision, which had been proposed by Governor Pataki and passed by the New York State Senate in 1995. The "deadlock" instruction provision ordered juries to be instructed that they give one of only two sentencing options, death or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole and that they be further instructed that in the event of a jury deadlock that the defendant would be sentenced to a minimum of 20-25 year and a maximum of life imprisonment. It was the decision that jurors might feel coerced into choosing the death penalty to avoid the court deciding to give a defendant a minimum 20-25 year sentence.

When the New York Court of Appeals struck down the "deadlock" provision it completely forbade the operation of the death penalty. However, the Court did agree that life without the possibility of parole was a fair alternative sentence. The decision by the New York Court of Appeals left the New York State Assembly the charge to enact legislation that would reinstate the death penalty, modify the death penalty, or abolish the death penalty. The committees acknowledged that the death penalty in New York had been ineffective. The committees recognized that in the ten years since the law was enacted more than $170 million had been spent in pursuit of death penalty cases, yet no one was executed. In total, four sentences were struck down by the New York Court of Appeals, one sentence was converted to life without parole, and two cases were still in the sentencing process. The committees noted that numerous death row exonerations due to DNA testing had been occurring in the previous ten years and also observed a change in public opinion. The New York State Assembly Standing Committees on Codes, Judiciary and Correction decided that it would formally review New York's death penalty law including its history, the needs of defendants, and the wishes of constituents.

The committees heard oral testimony from 146 witnesses and read written testimony from another 24 witnesses, both of which combined to more than 4,000 transcribed pages. The documents in this collection, however, do not give an indication of the New York State Assembly Standing Committees on Codes, Judiciary and Correction's final decision about capital punishment in New York State. However, the Death Penalty Information Center (http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org) indicates that the Assembly did vote to eliminate the death penalty on April 12, 2005. To read the text of Bill A00851, which repeals the death penalty in New York State, see the laws on the New York State Assembly's web site (http://assembly.state.ny.us/leg).


Death Penalty in New York Testimony
Scope & Content Note

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The Death Penalty in New York Testimony Collection includes testimony given to the New York State Assembly Standing Committee on Codes, Assembly Standing Committee on Judiciary, and Assembly Standing Committee on Correction, on December 14, 2004, January 21 and 25, 2005, and February 8 and 11, 2005. The collection includes testimony from 137 witnesses, including officials from grass roots organizations, practicing lawyers, law professors, concerned citizens, religious leaders, former inmates, and families of victims. The collection also includes the Public Hearing reports for each day of hearings, recorded verbatim; a copy of the 1965 Committee for the Revision of the Penal and Criminal Legal Code Special Report on Capital Punishment; and an amicus brief ("friend of the court"), People v. McCoy, filed by Stewart F. Hancock.

This collection lacks biographical information about most of the witnesses, as well as the New York Assembly Committee members. It also lacks a comprehensive timeline for the final decision of the New York State Assembly Committee.

Related collections in the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives can be found in the subject guides for the National Death Penalty Archive and Criminal Justice and Prisons.


Death Penalty in New York Testimony
Series Descriptions

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Series 1: Witness Testimony, 2004-2005, 0.6 cubic ft. Arranged chronologically by date of hearing and alphabetically by name.

This series contains copies of handwritten testimony and the original typewritten testimony of 137 witnesses, including published articles submitted as testimony by University at Albany School of Criminal Justice professors, James Acker and Charles Lanier. Other witnesses include: Dr. Alice Green, Albany human rights activist; Hon. Robert Morgenthau, District Attorney of New York County; Bill Babbitt, brother of executed death row inmate Manny Babbitt; David Kaczynski, Executive Director of New Yorkers Against the Death Penalty and brother of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski; Robert Meeropol, son of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg; and Bishop Dominick Lagonegro of the Archdiocese of New York. A complete list of witnesses can be found in the Box and Folder List.

Series 2: Hearing Reports, 1965-2005, 1.0 cubic ft. Arranged chronologically.

This series includes the reports from each hearing day, published by the New York Assembly Standing Committee on Codes, Assembly Standing Committee on Judiciary, and Assembly Standing Committee on Correction. The final reports, compiled from the proceedings of all five days of testimony, are also included. The series also includes two amicus briefs, People v. McCoy and People v. Cahill, filed by Stewart F. Hancock. An amicus brief, a brief filed by "a friend of the court," is filed to advise the court in its consideration of the case. Hancock is a retired Justice of the New York State Court of Appeals and was asked by the group People Against the Death Penalty, Central New York, to file an amicus brief for consideration by the New York Court of Appeals using the cases of the People v. Cahill and People v. McCoy to demonstrate support for commuting death sentences to life without parole.

This series also includes a published booklet by the Capital Punishment Committee of Michigan about the New York hearings, entitled A Guide to the New York Death Penalty Hearings, 2004-2005. This booklet, which lists witness names, was written by Eugene G. Wanger, who also testified. Finally, also in this series is the 1965 Committee for the Revision of the Penal and Criminal Legal Code Special Report on Capital Punishment.


Death Penalty in New York Testimony
Box and Folder List

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Series 1: Witness Testimony, 2004-2005

Box 1
Folder

1. Witness Testimony, A-F, December 15, 2004
Bill Babbitt, Family Member of executed death row inmate Manny Babbitt
David Baldus, Professor of Law, University of Iowa College of Law
Robert Blecker, Professor, New York Law School
Camille D’Arienzo, Co-Founder, The Cherish Life Circle, Brooklyn
James E. Fitzgerald, Minister for Social Justice, Riverside Church, New York City
Eric M. Freedman, Hofstra University

2. Witness Testimony, G-Z, December 15, 2004
Isaiah S. Gant, Federal Capital Resource Counsel
Ernest Shujaa Graham, Campaign to End the Death Penalty
Madison Hobley, Exonerated Death Row Prisoner
Dominick J. Lagonegro, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of New York
N. J. L’Heureaux, Executive Director, Queens Federation of Churches
Robert M. Morgenthau, District Attorney, New York County
Russell Neufeld, Defense Attorney
Patricia J. Perry, Family Member of Police Officer
Barry C. Scheck, Co-Director, Innocence Project
S. Jean Smith, The Cherish Life Circle, Brooklyn
Thomas P. Sullivan, Ryan Commission, Jenner & Block
Christina Swarns, NAACP Legal Defense Fund

3. Witness Testimony, A-H, January 21, 2005
Xavier Amador, Columbia University
Ursula Bentele, Professor, Brooklyn Law School
Colleen Brady, Legal Aid Society, New York City
Chloe Breyer, Associate Minister, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
Jeffrey Fagan, Professor, Columbia University
Bennett L. Gershman, Professor, Pace University Law School
Marc A. Gruber, Reform Jewish Voice of New York State
William E. Hellerstein, Professor, Brooklyn Law School
Clare Laura Hogenauer, Attorney
Ron Honberg, Legal Director, National Alliance for the Mentally Ill

4. Witness Testimony, I-Z, January 21, 2005
Christine Japely, Assistant Professor, Norfolk Community College
Jeffrey Kirchmer, Association of the Bar of the City of New York
James S. Liebman, Professor, Columbia University School of Law
Evan J. Mandery, Assistant Professor, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Jim Morgan, Convenor, Vigil to End the Death Penalty, Brooklyn
Michael B. Mushlin, Professor, Pace University Law School
Michael J. Palladino, President, Detectives’ Endowment Association, Inc.
Robert Perry, Legislative Director, New York Civil Liberties Union
Bettina B. Plevan, President, Association of the Bar of the City of New York
Dorit Radzin, Advocacy Associate, Human Rights Watch
Edward Rodriguez, Associate Professor, Seton Hall University
Sundiata Sadiq, 1st Vice President, NAACP, Ossining Chapter
William F. Schulz, Executive Director, Amnesty International USA
Ron Stalling, Retired Officer, Uniformed Division of U.S. Secret Service
Robert J. Walker, Brethren Church
Patricia Webdale, Mother of Murder Victim
Hal Weiner, Convenor, St. Saviour Chapter Episcopal Peace Fellowship
Evelyn Wyfka, Sister to Sister, Human Rights

5. Witness Testimony, A-M, January 25, 2005
James R. Acker, Professor, School of Criminal Justice, University at Albany, SUNY
John H. Blume, Cornell University Law School
Linda Chidsey, Clerk of Yearly Meeting, New York Religious Society of Friends
Richard C. Dieter, Death Penalty Information Center
Samuel J.M. Donnelly, Professor, Syracuse University School of Law
Sonia Ivette Dueno, Racial Economic & Gender Justice Fellowship Reconciliation
William J. Fitzpatrick, Onondaga County District Attorney
Diane-Marie C. Frappier, Concerned Citizen
Stephen P. Garvey, Cornell University Law School
Bruce Grieshaber, Parent of Murder Victim
Janice Grieshaber, Parent of Murder Victim
Michael C. Green, Monroe County District Attorney
Stewart F. Hancock, Jr., Retired Justice, New York State Court of Appeals
Bishop Howard J. Hubbard, Roman Catholic Bishop of Albany
Debra Jaeger, Sister of Murder Victim
Sheri Lynn Johnson, Cornell University Law School
David Kaczynski, New Yorkers Against the Death Penalty
Kathryn M. Kase, Texas Defender Association
Ruth S. Klepper, Executive Director, Interfaith Impact of New York State
Karen E. Mallam, Poughkeepsie Religious Society of Friends
Marguerite Marsh, Family Member of Murder Victim
Carolyn McCarthy, United States Representative, D-NY, 4th Congressional District
Bishop Jack M. McKelvey, Episcopal Diocese of Rochester
Russell Murphy, Professor, Suffolk University School of Law

6. Witness Testimony, N-Z, January 25, 2005 and undated
Roy Neville, Member, Board of Directors, National Alliance on Mental Illness, New York State
Lillian Roberts, Director Labor Union, District Council 37, New York City
Lillian Rodriguez-Lopez, President, Hispanic Federation
George Rosquist, Executive Director, Freedom Now
Stephen Saloom, Policy Director, Innocence Project
Ajamu K. Sankofa, New York City Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility
James Coy Sheehan, Priest, Archdiocese of New York
Stephen Singer, Co-Chair, Criminal Courts Committee, Queens County Bar Association.
Scott Turow, Attorney
Eugene G. Wanger, Michigan Committee Against Capital Punishment
Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York
Jonathan D. Zimet, Supreme Court, New York County

7. Witness Testimony A-L, January 25 and February 8, 2005
Robert K. Corliss, Associate Director for Criminal Justice, National Alliance on Mental Illness, New York State
Rudy Cypser, CURE-NY
Hazel N. Dukes, President, New York State NAACP
Louise de Leeuw, Poughkeepsie Monthly Meeting of the Religious Soc. of Friends
Jose A. Garcia, Policy Analyst, Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund
Alice Green, Executive Director, Center for Law and Justice, Inc.
Samuel R. Gross, Professor of Law, University of Michigan
Jeff Frayler, President, New York State Association of PBAs, Inc.
Richard Harcrow, President, New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association
Evan Kelley, Capital Punishment Seminar, Fall 2004
Charles S. Lanier, Co-Director, Capital Punishment Research Initiative, University at Albany, SUNY
Alexander Lesyk, Northern Franklin County Public Defender

Box 2
Folder

1. Witness Testimony, A-F, February 8, 2005
Gary Abramson, Legal Aid Society of Orange County
Barbara Berry, Tompkins County Coalition Against the Death Penalty
Geoffrey Black, President, New York State Council of Churches
William Bowers, Professor, Capital Jury Project, Northeastern University
Ann M. Brandon, League of Women Voters of New York State
Sean M. Byrne, Executive Director, New York Prosecutors Training Institute
Dominic Candido, Clerk, Matinecock Monthly Meeting, Religious Society of Friends
Robert M. Carney, District Attorney, Schenectady County
Scott Christianson, Author
Cheryl Coleman, Former Albany County Assistant District Attorney and former Albany City Court Judge
John Dunne, Former New York State Senator and Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice

2. Witness Testimony G-Z, February 8, 2005
Wanda Goldstein, Restorative Justice Group, Unitarian Universalists, Kingston
Jonathan E. Gradess, New York State Defenders Association
Daniel B. Hahn, Director, Lutheran Statewide Advocacy
Lee Haring, Religious Society of Friends, Oswego
Raymond A. Kelly, Jr., New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
George H. Kendall, Senior Counsel, Holland & Knight
John Marsh, Unitarian Universalists for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, Utica
Robert Meeropol, Rosenberg Fund for Children
Anita Paul, Religious Society of Friends, Schenectady
John Restivo, Exonerated Death Row Prisoner
Ronald J. Tabak, New York Lawyers Against the Death Penalty
Marsha Weissman, Executive Director, Center for Community Alternatives
Michael Whiteman, Former Counsel to Governors Nelson Rockefeller and Malcolm Wilson
Barbara Zaron, Reform Jewish Voice of New York State

3. Witness Testimony, February 11, 2005
Catherine M. Abate, Former New York State Senator, Commissioner of Corrections
Myron Beldock, Lawyer for Yusef Salaam
Bell Gale Chevigny, Professor Emerita, Purchase College
Stephen Dalsheim, Superintendent (ret.), Sing Sing and Downstate Correctional Facilities
George R. Goltzer, Board of Directors, New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
Mark Green, Former New York City Public Advocate, President New Democracy Project
Linda Guillebeaux, Free Mumia Abu Jamal Coalition, New York Chapter
Bianca Jagger, Goodwill Ambassador for the Fight Against the Death Penalty
Darryl P. King, Darryl King Defense Committee
William Mordhorst, Concerned Citizen
Lawrence C. Moss, Democratic State Committee
John Payne, President, New York State Chapter Democrats for Life
Frederic Pratt, Legal Aid Society Capital Division
James A. Rogers, President, Association of Legal Aid Attorneys
Sharonne Salaam, People United for Children
Yusef Salaam, Former Inmate
Liliana Segura, Campaign to End the Death Penalty
Leonara Wengraf, Campaign to End the Death Penalty


Death Penalty in New York Testimony
Box and Folder List

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Series 2: Hearing Reports, 1965-2005

Box 3
Folder

1. New York State Assembly Standing Committees on Codes, Judiciary, Corrections, Public Hearing on the Death Penalty, December 15, 2004, Part 1
2. New York State Assembly Standing Committees on Codes, Judiciary, Corrections, Public Hearing on the Death Penalty, December 15, 2004, Part 2
3. New York State Assembly Standing Committees on Codes, Judiciary, Corrections, Public Hearing on the Death Penalty, January 21, 2005, Part 1
4. New York State Assembly Standing Committees on Codes, Judiciary, Corrections, Public Hearing on the Death Penalty, January 21, 2005, Part 2
5. New York State Assembly Standing Committees on Codes, Judiciary, Corrections, Public Hearing on the Death Penalty, January 25, 2005, Part 1
6. New York State Assembly Standing Committees on Codes, Judiciary, Corrections, Public Hearing on the Death Penalty, January 25, 2005, Part 2
7. New York State Assembly Standing Committees on Codes, Judiciary, Corrections, Public Hearing on the Death Penalty, February 8, 2005, Part 1
8. New York State Assembly Standing Committees on Codes, Judiciary, Corrections, Public Hearing on the Death Penalty, February 8, 2005, Part 2
9. New York State Assembly Standing Committees on Codes, Judiciary, Corrections, Public Hearing on the Death Penalty, February 11, 2005
10. Amici Briefs, People v. Cahill and People v. McCoy, Stewart F. Hancock, Jr., 2003
11. Amici Briefs, People v. McCoy, Supplemental Brief, Stewart F. Hancock, Jr., 2003
12. The Death Penalty in New York, A Report on Five Public Hearings, New York State Assembly Standing Committee on Codes, Judiciary, Corrections, 2004-2005, released April 2005
13. Guide to the New York Assembly Death Penalty Hearings 2004-2005, Eugene G. Wanger, Michigan Committee Against Capital Punishment
14. State of New York, Temporary Commission on Revision of the Penal Law and Criminal Code Special Report on Capital Punishment, 1965


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Last updated January 22, 2013