New York's Death Penalty: 1936-1962

Susan D. Ehrhard, University at Albany
Jeanna Mastrocinque, University at Albany
Lisa N. Sacco, University at Albany

This paper provides an historical analysis of capital punishment in New York between 1936 and 1962. It examines public opinion, politics, and legislation during this period to provide the social and historical context in which executions were taking place in the state. It further examines more than 200 state-sponsored executions, as well as the cases of death-sentenced prisoners who ultimately were not executed, focusing in particular on whether systematic differences emerge between the executed offenders and those who were spared execution by judicial or gubernatorial action. The paper concludes with observations about the relevance of this history to contemporary and future capital punishment in New York.

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Updated 05/20/2006