<%@LANGUAGE="VBSCRIPT" CODEPAGE="1252"%> Untitled Document
Capital Punishment in New York State:

Statistics from Eight
Years of Representation

1995 - 2003

Prepared by: The Capital Defender Office
August, 2003

Capital Defender Office
217 Broadway
New York, NY 10007, 9th Floor
212-608-3352 ext. 215
www.nycdo.org

Introduction

The death penalty was returned to the criminal statutes of New York State by Chapter 1 of the Laws of 1995, which took effect on September 1, 1995. The new law expanded the crime of murder in the first degree and provided two penalties for persons convicted of this crime: death and life in prison without the possibility of parole (LWOP).

The new law also established an independent entity--the Capital Defender Office (CDO)-- and charged it with ensuring that persons who are accused of crimes punishable by death and who are “financially unable to obtain adequate representation or investigative, expert or other reasonably necessary services,” are adequately represented by qualified counsel and helped by experts and investigators. The CDO was also charged with establishing and maintaining a wholly new capital defense system for New York State.

Governance

The CDO is governed by a three-member board of directors who serve three-year terms. The Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, the Majority Leader and President Pro Tem of the New York State Senate and the Speaker of the New York State Assembly each appoints one director. Peter L. Zimroth, appointed by the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, chairs the Board of Directors. The other two members of the Board are Michael J. Hutter, appointed by the Majority Leader and President Pro Tem of the New York State Senate and Frederick J. Jacobs, appointed by the Speaker of the New York State Assembly. Past board members include the late Arthur L. Liman, the founding chairman; the Honorable John Dunne, the Honorable Richard Simons, Christopher E. Stone and the Honorable John T. Casey.

Leadership

In 1995, the Board of Directors appointed Kevin M. Doyle as the Capital Defender. Under Mr. Doyle’s direction, the CDO operates three offices across the State. The CDO’s main office is located in New York City. The downstate office handles cases in the five boroughs of New York City and four counties in the surrounding metropolitan area. The First Deputy Capital Defender in New York City, Susan H. Salomon, oversees appeals in capital cases throughout the State. The CDO operates two regional offices: Albany, which handles cases in a 29 county area in central New York and Rochester, which handles cases in a 24 county area in western New York. The First Deputy Capital Defenders in Albany and Rochester are Mark Harris and William “Bill” Easton, respectively.

Funding

The office is funded by an appropriation from the State Operations budget. In the 2003-2004 fiscal year, the Legislature appropriated $13,095,000 for all capital defense in New York State. The CDO has 75 established staff lines that includes trial staff, appellate staff and administrative staff.

Statistics

The remainder of this report offers statistics showing how the 1995 law has been implemented in New York State.(Note 1). The statistics show:


Section One: The Number of Cases and the Representation Provided

Since September 1, 1995, District Attorneys have investigated 799 First and Second Degree Murder cases with the possibility of seeking the death penalty. Of those cases, District Attorneys sought the death penalty 50 times. Capital trials occurred in 18 cases

The number of capital cases in New York State since 1995

The number of capital trials

The status of the 50 death-noticed cases

First Degree Murder and Life Without Parole

Who Represents Defendants (Note 2)

Representation in the four pending capital cases

Representation in the 41 death-eligible cases

Representation in the six death penalty appeals

Representation in the 40 closed capital cases

Representation in the 700 death-precluded cases

SECTION TWO: GEOGRAPHIC ISSUES (data are for the period 9/1/95 - 6/30/03)

Geographical Disparities

The following chart shows the number of murder arrests, indictments for First Degree Murder and the rate of capital cases by county.

County

Murder 1 & 2 Arrests*
% Of Total Arrests
Murder 1 Indictments
Murder 1 Indictments (% of Murder 1 & 2 Arrests)
Death Notices
Death Notices (% Of Murder 1 Indictments)
Death Notices (% Of Murder 1 & 2 Arrests)
Death Sentances
Death Sentances (% Of Murder 1 & 2 Arrests)
Death Sentances (% Of Murder 1 Indictments)
Death Sentances (% Of Death Notices)
ALBANY
118
2.0%
8
6.8%
2
25.0%
1.7%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
ALLEGANY
7
0.1%
0
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
BRONX
1037
17.8%
80
7.7%
1
1.3%
0.1%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
BROOME
32
0.6%
8
25.0%
4
50.0%
12.5%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
CATTARAUGUS
6
0.1%
0
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
CAYUGA
4
0.1%
2
50.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
CHAUTAUQUA
17
0.3%
4
23.5%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
CHEMUNG
8
0.1%
2
25.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
CHENANGO
8
0.1%
1
12.5%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
CLINTON
7
0.1%
2
28.6%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
COLUMBIA
8
0.1%
1
12.5%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
CORTLAND
1
0.0%
1
100.0%
1
100.0%
100.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
DELAWARE
2
0.0%
0
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
DUTCHESS
38
0.7%
4
10.5%
2
50.0%
5.3%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
ERIE
204
3.5%
15
7.4%
2
13.3%
1.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
ESSEX
6
0.1%
3
50.0%
1
33.3%
16.7%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
FRANKLIN
10
0.2%
3
30.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
FULTON
6
0.1%
1
16.7%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
GENESEE
6
0.1%
2
33.3%
1
50.0%
16.7%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
GREENE
16
0.3%
1
6.3%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
HERKIMER
1
0.0%
0
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
JEFFERSON
6
0.1%
1
16.7%
1
100.0%
16.7%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
KINGS
1496
25.7%
89
5.9%
7
7.9%
0.5%
1
0.1%
1.1%
14.3%
MADISON
2
0.0%
0
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
MONROE
193
3.3%
15
7.8%
5
33.3%
2.6%
1
0.5%
6.7%
20.0%
MONTGOMERY
3
0.1%
0
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
NASSAU
153
2.6%
17
11.1%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
NEW YORK
818
14.1%
65
7.9%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
NIAGARA
25
0.4%
0
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
ONEIDA
49
0.8%
2
4.1%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
ONONDAGA
106
1.8%
17
16.0%
2
11.8%
1.9%
1
0.9%
5.9%
50.0%
ONTARIO
5
0.1%
0
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
ORANGE
53
0.9%
6
11.3%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
ORLEANS
4
0.1%
0
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
OSWEGO
9
0.2%
0
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
OTSEGO
4
0.1%
3
75.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
PUTNAM
3
0.1%
0
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
QUEENS
741
12.7%
31
4.2%
5
16.1%
0.7%
1
0.1%
3.2%
20.0%
RENSSELAER
13
0.2%
5
38.5%
2
40.0%
15.4%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
RICHMOND
110
1.9%
3
2.7%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
ROCKLAND
27
0.5%
4
14.8%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
ST. LAWRENCE
5
0.1%
0
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
SARATOGA
11
0.2%
0
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
SCHENECTADY
44
0.8%
12
27.3%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
SCHOHARIE
6
0.1%
3
50.0%
3
100.0%
50.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
SCHUYLER
2
0.0%
1
50.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
SENECA
3
0.1%
0
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
STEUBEN
3
0.1%
0
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
SUFFOLK
145
2.5%
18
12.4%
3
16.7%
2.1%
3
2.1%
16.7%
100.0%
SULLIVAN
19
0.3%
5
26.3%
3
60.0%
15.8%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
TIOGA
3
0.1%
0
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
TOMPKINS
8
0.1%
1
12.5%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
ULSTER
22
0.4%
2
9.1%
1
50.0%
4.5%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
WARREN
7
0.1%
0
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
WASHINGTON
3
0.1%
0
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
WAYNE
12
0.2%
1
8.3%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
WESTCHESTER
148
2.5%
11
7.4%
1
9.1%
0.7%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
WYOMING
14
0.2%
3
21.4%
1
33.3%
7.1%
0
0.0%
0.0%
0.0%
TOTAL
5817
100.0%
453
7.8%
48
10.6%
0.8%
7
0.1%
1.5%
14.6%

* ARREST DATA INCLUDES ONLY THOSE MURDERS COMMITTED ON OR AFTER 9/1/95 AND EXCLUDES DEFENDANTS <18

 

SECTION THREE: RACE AND GENDER ISSUES

Race of the Defendant

Race of the Victim

Gender Disparities

SECTION FOUR: THE DURATION OF CASES

Time Between Arrest and Disposition for Murder One Trials 1991 - 1994,
Non-Capital Murder One and Capital Trials 1995-2003*

  Number of Cases Average Duration
First Degree Murder Trials 1991-1994 9 21 Months
Non-Capital First Degree Murder Trials Since 9/1/95 162 21 months
Full Capital Trials Since 9/1/95 15* 26 months

* In Kings County two capital cases concluded with pleas to sentences of life without parole after jury verdicts of guilty but prior to the penalty phase and in one case the defendant was convicted of less than First Degree Murder.


Note 1: Unless otherwise indicated, the statistical information is based on information for the period 9/1/95 through 8/15/2003. Data on First and Second Degree Murder arrests is from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). Data on First Degree Murder Indictments is from the New York State Office of Court Administration (OCA) and the CDO. All other data is from the CDO.

Note 2: In addition to providing direct trial and appellate-level capital representation, The Capital Defender Office (CDO), also provides consultation services and assistance in capital and potentially capital cases that are represented by 35-b attorneys, Contract Defenders or retained attorneys.

Note 3: Arrest data includes only those murders committed on or after 9/1/95 and excludes defendants <18 years of age.