NY to regain death penalty

Three decades after the last inmate on death row at New York's infamous Sing Sing prison was dispatched in the electric chair, the state is poised to reintroduce capital punishment - though the method of execution will change.

On the urging of George Pataki, New York's new Republican governor, members of the state assembly in Albany are expected to finalise negotiations on a death-penalty bill within days. Its final approval and signature by the Governor is certain to follow swiftly.

Barring any blocking action by the courts, the measure will bring New York into line with the 36 US states that have brought back the death penalty since its reintroduction was sanctioned by the Supreme Court in 1973.

The Sing Sing chairs - otherwise known as "Old Sparkies" - will not be taken out of mothballs, however. Mr Pataki, whose other mission is to cut the state's budget deficit, reportedly hopes to sell them at auction for as much as $250,000 (£160,000) each.Instead, execution by lethal execution is proposed.

The state Department of Correction is gearing up for its new duty. Advice has been sought from other states, notably Texas and Missouri. A minute-by-minute guide to procedure is likely to be copied directly from Missouri. The details make grim reading. Prisoners would be invited to choose the menu, within limits, for a last meal to be served between 5.30 and 6pm, prior to the execution at 12.01 the next morning. At the moment of the injection, blinds on windows in the execution chamber would be opened to allow witnesses on raised platforms outside to see in.

Mr Pataki made the death penalty's reintroduction a centre-piece of his election campaign last year. Mario Cuomo, whom he defeated, was indefatigably opposed and vetoed previous efforts to bring back the executioner.

Nor has Mr Pataki lost much time since taking office at the start of last month. Running through his programme in his inaugural speech, he won greatest applause for confirming his pledge. Shortly afterwards, he sent Thomas Grasso, an inmate convicted formurders in both New York and Oklahoma, to Oklahoma to face execution in that state - a measure Mr Cuomo had refused to take when he was governor.

For opponents of the death penalty - and Mr Cuomo is still active among them - the only hope seems to be the courts. Though a challenge is almost inevitable, it is not likely to succeed.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Experienced Bookkeeper - German Speaking - Part Time

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm of accountants based ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£30000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a financial services c...

Ashdown Group: Field Service Engineer

£30000 - £32000 per annum + car allowance and on call: Ashdown Group: A succes...

Recruitment Genius: Sales & Marketing Co-Ordinator

£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Well established small company ...

Day In a Page

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk
Nepal earthquake: One man's desperate escape from Everest base camp after the disaster

Escape from Everest base camp

Nick Talbot was sitting in his tent when the tsunami of snow and rock hit. He was lucky to live, unlike his climbing partner just feet away...
Adopting high fibre diet could dramatically cut risk of bowel cancer, says study

What happened when 20 Americans swapped diets with 20 Africans?

Innovative study in the US produces remarkable results
Blake Lively and 'The Age of Adaline': Gossip Girl comes
of age

Gossip girl comes of age

Blake Lively is best known for playing an affluent teenager. Her role as a woman who is trapped forever at 29 is a greater challenge
Goat cuisine: Kid meat is coming to Ocado

Goat cuisine

It's loved by chefs, ethical, low in fat and delicious. So, will kid meat give lamb a run for its money?
14 best coat hooks

Hang on: 14 best coat hooks

Set the tone for the rest of your house with a stylish and functional coat rack in the hallway
Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?