Only Inmate to Receive Federal Death Penalty in New York Again Sentenced to Death

On July 24, Ronell Wilson was re-sentenced to death by a federal jury in New York. Despite numerous capital prosecutions by the Department of Justice, no other person in the state has been given the death penalty since the federal death penalty was reinstated in 1988. New York’s state death penalty law was found unconstitutional by the state Court of Appeals in 2004. By 2007, all seven of those sentenced to death under the state law had their sentences overturned. Wilson was first sentenced to death in 2007 for the murder of two undercover detectives in 2003, but the sentence was overturned in 2010. Wilson’s lawyers argued that he suffered from mental retardation and was ineligible for capital punishment, but that motion was denied. His mother was an alcoholic and a drug addict. A judge is expected to formally sentence Wilson in the fall. There are currently 59 people on the federal death row, counting Wilson. No case in New York, state or federal, has resulted in an execution since 1963.

(M. Secret, “Killer of Two Undercover Detectives is Sent Back to Death Row,” New York Times, July 24, 2013). See Federal Death Penalty.