Attorney General James Applauds Signing Of Double Jeopardy Law

Attorney General James Applauds Signing of Double Jeopardy Law

NEW YORK – Attorney General Letitia James applauded today’s signing of a new law to close New York’s “double jeopardy” loophole. The law addresses an unintended loophole in New York’s double jeopardy protections that could deny the state the ability to pursue justice in cases where the president has used his or her pardon power for corrupt purposes. The new law, which was introduced by Attorney General James, takes effect immediately.

“We have a responsibility to ensure that individuals who commit crimes under New York state law are held accountable for those crimes,” said Attorney General Letitia James. “This critical new law closes a gaping loophole that could have allowed any president to abuse the presidential pardon power by unfairly granting a pardon to a family member or close associate and possibly allow that individual to evade justice altogether. No one is above the law, and this commonsense measure will provide a reasonable and necessary check on presidential power today and for all presidents to come.”

“No one is above the law and New York will not turn a blind eye to criminality, no matter who seeks to protect them," said Governor Andrew Cuomo. "The closure of this egregious loophole gives prosecutors the ability to stand up against any abuse of power, and helps ensure that no politically motivated, self-serving action is sanctioned under law. I thank the Attorney General for her work to advance this much-needed reform and by signing it into law we are taking another step toward a stronger, fairer and more just Empire State for all."

“With the President all but pledging to corruptly abuse his pardon power to allow friends and associates off the hook, it is crucial that we have closed the Double Jeopardy loophole and preserved the rule of law in New York,” said Senator Todd Kaminsky. “I commend Attorney General James for her outstanding leadership on this important issue and thank Governor Cuomo for signing this measure to protect New Yorkers’ pursuit of justice.”

“This legislation takes the incentive out of any scheme to thwart prosecution,” said Assembly Member Joseph Lentol. “Congress is unable to address the pardon problem; therefore, states must respond. I thank the Governor for signing this legislation as it sends a clear message no one will be off the hook of prosecution.”

The new law, which was sponsored by Senator Todd Kaminsky and Assembly Member Joseph Lentol, establishes an additional exception to the state’s “double jeopardy” that would ensure that New York’s criminal laws continue to apply to individuals who receive a presidential pardon and also have a connection to the president either by family or close professional relationship, or through a narrow set of other criteria. Today’s bill signing represents the thirteenth exception to the “double jeopardy” law enacted by the State Legislature.