Weekly The Generation, Year 1, Issue 17
December 26, 2023
The New York governor, Kathy Hochul, vetoed a bill days before Christmas that would have made it easier for people who have pleaded guilty to crimes to challenge their convictions, a measure that was favored by criminal justice reformers but fiercely opposed by prosecutors.
The Democrat said the bill’s “sweeping expansion of eligibility for post-conviction relief” would “upend the judicial system and create an unjustifiable risk of flooding the courts with frivolous claims”, in a veto letter released on Saturday.
Under existing state law, criminal defendants who plead guilty are usually barred from trying to get their cases reopened based on a new claim of innocence, except in certain circumstances involving new DNA evidence.
The bill passed by the legislature in June would have expanded the types of evidence that could be considered proof of innocence, including video footage or evidence of someone else confessing to a crime. Arguments that a person was coerced into a false guilty plea would have also been considered.
Prosecutors and advocates for crime victims warned the bill would have opened the floodgates to endless, frivolous legal appeals by the guilty.
Source: The Guardian