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Schneiderman announces support for legislation to close 'Double Jeopardy Loophole'


ALBANY -- Today, Attorney General Schneiderman announced his full support for legislation introduced today by Assembly Codes Committee Chairman Joseph Lentol (D-North Brooklyn) and Senator Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) to close New York's double jeopardy loophole (A.10422). The loophole, identified in a letter by AG Schneiderman on Wednesday, would enable a president to essentially exceed his constitutional authority by pardoning any individual for both federal and state crimes.

New York's double jeopardy laws go well beyond constitutional requirements and the standards used by many other states – and could unintentionally insulate someone pardoned by the president from subsequent prosecution for state crimes. Lawmakers have amended New York's double jeopardy statute 12 times in recent years to close other loopholes.

"I thank Assembly Speaker Heastie, Assembly Codes Committee Chairman Lentol and Senator Kaminsky for taking swift action towards closing this unnecessary and hazardous loophole," said Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. "New York's current double jeopardy loophole is a recipe for trouble that would essentially allow any president to pardon individuals for state and federal crimes with a single stroke of the pen. New York lawmakers can close that loophole—and substantially reduce the threat of lawless White House action—by passing this important legislation. New York prosecutors must be able to enforce our laws, and ensure that no one who breaks New York law will escape accountability merely because of a strategically-timed presidential pardon. Long ago, the Supreme Court made clear that presidents cannot pardon for state crimes—now it's time for New York law to do the same."

"The ability to effectively enforce the laws is imperative to a civil society. This bill will ensure that the President does not have free reign to circumvent state law. I am hopeful that this bill will pass and close the double jeopardy loophole, while also protecting our state from those that break the law," said Assemblyman Joseph R. Lentol.

"No one should be able to get away with breaking New York's laws because of a presidential pardon. I am introducing a bill today to reform our state's Double Jeopardy statute so that no person is above the law. Attorney General Schneiderman's leadership in ensuring that justice is obtainable in every case is pivotal, and I am proud to join this effort," said Senator Todd Kaminsky.

Bill Text:
AN  ACT  to  amend the criminal procedure law, in relation to the prosecution of certain offenses when a reprieve, pardon or  other  form  of clemency for such offense has been granted The  People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assembly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section 1. Section 40.30 of the criminal procedure law is  amended  by
     2  adding a new subdivision 5 to read as follows:
     3    5.  (a) Despite the occurrence of proceedings specified in subdivision
     4  one, a person is not deemed to have  been  prosecuted  for  an  offense,
     5  within the meaning of section 40.20, when such person has been granted a
     6  reprieve,  pardon or other form of clemency for such offense pursuant to
     7  the authority granted in section two of article two of the United States
     8  constitution.
     9    (b) Paragraph (a) of this subdivision shall not apply to  a  reprieve,
    10  pardon  or  other  form  of  clemency  for  an offense if the person was
    11  convicted and sentenced for such offense and  the  reprieve,  pardon  or
    12  other  form  of  clemency  was granted five years or more after entry of
    13  judgment for such offense.
    14    § 2. This act shall  take  effect  immediately,  and  shall  apply  to
    15  offenses  committed  on  or  after  such  date  and  shall also apply to
    16  offenses committed before such date where the proceedings  specified  in
    17  subdivision  1  of  section 40.30 of the criminal procedure law have not
    18  occurred as of such date.

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