Villarini & Henry, L.L.P.
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Does New York have the death penalty?

When someone is convicted of a violent crime, he or she faces some of the most severe punishments that the legal system can hand down. In some states, this means such a conviction could get you the death penalty. However, in New York, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, there is no death penalty.

The state has had a varied history with the death penalty and has used it in the past. The last execution was in 1963, but at that time the penalty was still being used in the state and there was a death row. The first time it was abolished was in 1860, but that was only because hanging was outlawed and there was no other method used for executions at that time, so it was reinstated in 1861. Throughout the 1970s, '80s and '90s, the death penalty was not in use, but in 1995 it was reinstated. However, in 2004 it was finally abolished for good in the state, being determined it was unconstitutional. This last move was made permanent when all execution equipment was removed from prisons in 2008 under the governor's orders.

The last death sentences handed down by judges in the state were in 2003. There was a peak in the late 1990s. However, all death sentences given were reduced to life in prison in 2007. With no death penalty option in the state, if you are accused of a violent crime, such as murder, that would have carried a death sentence, you will instead face life in prison. This information is for education only and is not intended to be legal advice.

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