New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his intention to advance a legislation to abolish capital punishment from state law.
The governor made his decision after Pope Francis declared that the death penalty is unacceptable in all cases. On Thursday, the Vatican said the Catholic Church will “work with determination towards the abolition of death penalty.”
In a statement yesterday, Cuomo said he is united with Pope Francis on this issue.
Cuomo Says Death Penalty is ‘Morally Indefensible’
“Today, in solidarity with Pope Francis and in honor of my father, I will be advancing legislation to remove the death penalty — and its ugly stain in our history — from state law once and for all,” Cuomo said. “Pope Francis is ushering in a more righteous world for us all. The death penalty is morally indefensible and has no place in the 21st century.”
Furthermore, he said that the pope’s declaration is a “validation” of his father’s belief that capital punishment was wrong. During his term as governor, the late Mario Cuomo vetoed (12 times) legislation reinstating the death penalty.
Cuomo noted that former Gov. George Pataki reinstated the death penalty in New York, but the courts halted it 2004.
“In his final years, my father continued to advocate for eliminating the law from the books, calling it a stain on our conscience,” Cuomo said.
New York Assembly Speaker Supports Cuomo
Meanwhile, New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie supports Cuomo. He said he will work with the governor to make sure that capital punishment is not implemented in the state.
In a statement, Heastie noted that in 2004, the New York State Court of Appeals ruled that the reinstatement of the death penalty was unconstitutional. Since then, the murder rate in the state has declined by 39 percent.
“Today, 31 states continue to impose the death penalty,” Heastie said. “New York is not one of them, and I will work with Gov. Cuomo to ensure the death penalty will not be imposed in our state.”
Last year, President Donald Trump called for capital punishment for a terrorist who committed a deadly truck rampage in New York.