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NY lawmakers to vote on death penalty

[JURIST] The New York State Assembly Codes Committee [official website] will vote Tuesday on a measure to reauthorize the state's death penalty, which was declared unconstitutional in June. The New York State Assembly recently released a report [official text] detaling five full days of public hearings on the death penalty, featuring testimony from 170 witnesses. The decision [opinion text, PDF] from New York's highest court stated that life without parole was the maximum sentence which could be imposed under current law. Public opinion polls in New York show a large majority preferring a life sentence over the death penalty as the maximum sentence. New York's move away from the death penalty would add to a national focus on the issue, highlighted by the US Supreme Court's recent decision [opinion text] to ban juvenile executions. Last month, legislators in Connecticut voted on a bill [AP report] to ban death penalty. Also in March, a bill to abolish New Mexico's death penalty [bill text] was approved by the state House, but died in committee [Albuquerque Tribune report] before reaching the Senate floor. New York was the most recent state to reinstate the death penalty, and seems likely to be the first to decide that the experiment has failed. The New York Daily News has arguments from state legislators both for and against sending the bill to the full Assembly.

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