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NYCLU Hails Ruling That Federal Death Penalty Is Unconstitutional

The NYCLU today hailed federal District Judge Jed Rakoff’s ruling that the federal death penalty is unconstitutional because it will lead to the “fully foreseeable execution of innocent people.”

Donna Lieberman, the executive director of the NYCLU said, “Judge Rakoff’s ruling, is fully supported by a long list of innocent people sentenced to death row.”

She added, “We expect that this ruling will add momentum to the movement for a moratorium on state sponsored execution that has been building nationwide as a result of several DNA — related exonerations, and numerous studies that document the racial, economic and geographic inequities that permeate the administration of the death penalty. Just last week, the New York City Council overwhelmingly endorsed a moratorium on executions and similar proposals are pending before the state legislature.”

Though New York has not yet executed anyone since it reinstituted the death penalty in 1995, our state executed more innocent people than any other state while the prior death penalty statute was in effect.

Six individuals are currently on death row and the state’s highest court will soon render a decision in, the first death sentence to come before it.

Lieberman added, “The NYCLU opposes the death penalty because it is barbaric, inhumane and, by definition, a travesty of justice. We believe Judge Rakoff’s ruling confirms that the death penalty cannot be administered in a manner that respects the essential constitutional protections of due process.”

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