Democrat Governor Flips On Her Own Party

Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York (Marc A. Hermann / MTA), CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

( – New York Governor Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, made a significant decision on Friday by vetoing a bill aimed at expanding the avenues available to individuals with prior criminal convictions to contest the judgments handed down in their cases. This move stirred a contentious debate between Democrats, who championed the bill, and Republicans, who vehemently opposed it. Critics from both sides of the aisle voiced concerns about the potential consequences of this legislation.

Governor Hochul, in her veto letter issued on Saturday, expressed reservations about the bill’s far-reaching implications. She asserted that the “sweeping expansion of eligibility for post-conviction relief” could disrupt the judicial system and introduce an unjustifiable risk of inundating the courts with frivolous claims. Her decision highlighted the delicate balance between ensuring justice for those wrongfully convicted and preventing the abuse of legal processes.

Under current New York state law, individuals who have pleaded guilty to a crime typically face significant barriers when attempting to challenge their convictions, especially if they claim innocence without new DNA evidence. The vetoed bill sought to broaden the scope of admissible evidence, potentially allowing for cases where individuals were coerced into pleading guilty to be reconsidered.

The District Attorney’s Association of the State of New York expressed concerns back in June when the bill was initially passed. They believed that this legislation could pave the way for an influx of unwarranted appeals from individuals who were, in fact, guilty. Their stance emphasized the need for caution in altering a criminal justice system that, in their view, was not fundamentally flawed.

New York State Senator Zellnor Myrie, a Democrat and the bill’s sponsor, remains committed to the cause of justice. He is contemplating reintroducing the bill in the upcoming legislative session, with the aim of providing innocent individuals with a “fair chance to reverse a terrible wrong.” This ongoing debate underscores the complexities of criminal justice reform and the ongoing efforts to strike a balance between protecting the rights of the wrongfully convicted and preserving the integrity of the legal system.

Copyright 2023,