NY to regain death penalty
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.
That's some guestlist! Stunning images show huge dynastic wedding between Ultra-Orthodox Jewish families which attracted 25,000 guests
Emergency landing at Heathrow sparks further controversy over London airport capacity
Two bailed after arrest over Woolwich attack Twitter comments
Exclusive: Woolwich killings suspect Michael Adebolajo was inspired by cleric banned from UK after urging followers to behead enemies of Islam
Men arrested after RAF jet is scrambled to escort Pakistan Airlines passenger plane to London Stansted Airport
- 1 Liam Gallagher slams Daft Punk: 'I could have written Get Lucky in an hour'
- 2 What, let gays get married? We must be bonkers
- 3 'Something passed underneath us, quite close': Airbus A320 has close encounter with UFO
- 4 Lord of the Sings: Sir Christopher Lee, 91, to release heavy metal album
- 5 Two bailed after arrest over Woolwich attack Twitter comments
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.