Jill Gibbons’ Death Inspired Package
ALBANY – State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, today joined members of the Senate Republican Conference to unveil the “Victims’ Justice Agenda.”
The package of bills would reform the parole system to keep violent criminals behind bars without parole and ease the parole process for suffering victims, families and the public.
“To understand how this law would work you need to look no further than the murder of 18-year-old Gillian ‘Jill’ Gibbons in 1989 in Oneonta,” said Seward. “The convicted killer David Dart has had three parole hearing since 2014 and will be eligible for another next year.
“Dart is a confessed murderer who has threatened the victim’s sister and would be a danger to the community if he were released. There is no reason why criminals who have committed such heinous offenses should be allowed the privilege of a parole hearing every two years,” he said.
Among the bills included in the “Victims’ Justice Agenda” package, is Senate bill 4354 co-sponsored by Senator Seward which would allow the New York State Parole Board to extend the period of time between reconsidering parole board denials from two years to five years when the inmate was sentenced for a violent crime.
In many cases, especially murder and other violent offenses, parole is denied multiple times and extending the time frame for reconsideration would give the parole board greater discretion in setting hearing dates.
“Acts of traumatic violence take a toll on a family and forcing individuals to needlessly relive a horrendous crime like murder every two years is cruel and extreme. Victims and their families should be allowed to heal and this legislation is a very small measure to help with that process,” Seward added.
The Senate has passed this legislation in each of the last six years with bi-partisan support, but the assembly has never voted on the measure. Companion legislation (A.6483) has been introduced in the Assembly where it has nearly 40 sponsors.