state of civil and political rights:
death row: 0 (as of December 4, 2007)
year of last executions: 0-0-0
death sentences: 0
international treaties on human rights and the death penalty:
The method of execution is lethalinjection. The sentence is determined by a jury. The death row is located at Dannemora. As for the clemency process, the Governor has sole authority to grant clemency.
On June 24, 2004, the state's highest court declared that the New York's capital punishment statute violates the state constitution. According to the ruling the death penalty law is unconstitutional because it might coerce jurors into voting for death for defendants when jurors do not want to.
In New York, judges must tell jurors during the penalty phase of capital trials that they can choose between death or life without parole for defendants. Judges also must say that if jurors deadlock between the 2 punishments, the law orders judges to sentence defendants to between 20 and 25 years to life in prison, a sentence that carries with it the possibility of parole.
The deadlock instruction gives rise to an unconstitutionally palpable risk that one or more jurors who cannot bear the thought that a defendant may walk the streets again, will join jurors favouring death in order to avoid the deadlock sentence.
On April 12, 2005, a legislative committee rejected a bill aimed at reinstating the state's death penalty.