Data covers the
period 9/1/95 - 12/31/03
How many capital cases have there been in New York State since
- District Attorneys formally investigated seeking the death penalty
in 816 cases
- District Attorneys precluded seeking the death penalty against
- District Attorneys dropped charges against eight defendants.
- District Attorneys are evaluating whether to seek the death
penalty in 23 cases.
- District Attorneys filed notice that they were seeking the death
penalty 52 times.
What is the status of the 52 death notice cases?
- Six cases are pending.
- After a penalty trial, seven defendants were sentenced to death
by lethal execution. All have been appealed to the New York Court
of Appeals (NYCA). On July 9, 2002, the NYCA vacated the sentence
of Darrell Harris, the first defendant to be sentenced to death.
The remaining six cases are pending before the NYCA.
- After a penalty trial, seven defendants were sentenced to life
- Two defendants accepted a plea to a sentence of life without
parole after a jury found them guilty of First Degree Murder but
before the penalty phase of the trial began.
- One defendant was convicted of less than First Degree Murder.
- One defendant, who was convicted of First Degree Murder, was
sentenced, by the judge, to 115 years to life after the jury at
the penalty phase was unable to reach a unanimous decision regarding
- District Attorneys withdrew the death notices in four cases
and went on to prosecute the defendants on First Degree Murder
charges. Two of these defendants were found guilty at trial and
sentenced to life without parole. One defendant plead to First
Degree Murder and was sentenced to life without parole and the
remaining defendant was acquitted.
- 23 defendants pled guilty prior to trial and received sentences
ranging from 25 years to life to life without parole.
- One defendant committed suicide prior to the disposition of
How many capital trials occurred?
- There have been 18 capital trials since September 1, 1995.
- 15 of these cases proceeded to both a guilt and penalty phase.
- Defendants in two of the three remaining cases accepted a plea
to life imprisonment without parole after the guilt trial but
prior to the penalty phase. The defendant in the third case was
convicted of less than First Degree Murder.
Who represented the defendants in 816 cases?
- 475 defendants were represented by private, capitally-qualified
attorneys assigned pursuant to section 35-b of the Judiciary Law.
- 176 defendants were represented by CDO staff attorneys.
- 88 defendants were represented by public defender organizations
or legal aid societies.
- 76 defendants were represented by retained counsel.
- 1 defendant represented himself.