Cop-Killers Not Gaming System PBA’s ‘Parole-Shopping’

Cop-Killers Not Gaming System PBA’s ‘Parole-Shopping’ Claim An Urban Legend
Posted: Monday, December 6, 2010 5:00 pm
Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch has gotten a lot of mileage in the media in recent weeks (see The Chief, Dec. 3 issue: “PBA: Stop Cop Killers’ Parole-Shopping”) with the allegation that cop-killing inmates are gaming the parole system by postponing their interviews until they get a panel to their liking. Unfortunately, Mr. Lynch is factually inaccurate.
In support of his argument, Mr. Lynch cites five inmates (four named in last week’s article in The Chief and another cited to the New York Daily News) whom he accuses of “parole-commissioner shopping,” contending that each of them was able to postpone a scheduled appearance before the Parole Board in an apparent effort to stack the deck in their favor. I reviewed each of those cases and found that none of the individuals requested a postponement.

“Finally, I would like to stress that it is the Legislature — not the Board of Parole — that has made “cop killers” eligible for parole.

The Legislature could have mandated that those who kill police officers serve a sentence of life without parole. There was no such law at the time the inmates above were sentenced, and there is still no such law (although a life without parole sentence is now possible, as a judicial option, in certain cases). It is not the role of the Parole Board to impose a sentence that was neither authorized by the Legislature nor pronounced by the court. Rather, it is the Parole Board’s role is to apply the law as is written and give fair consideration to anyone serving a parole-eligible sentence, even those involved in the homicide of a police officer. That is what the Board does, and must continue to do, until and unless the Legislature directs otherwise. ”

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