Case A Test of New NY Parole Law


Nearly a half century after the Kitty Genovese murder shocked the conscience of New York City and became a national symbol of urban apathy, her killer is coming up for parole for the 15th time, says the New York Law Journal. This year the deal is a bit different for her assailant, Winston Moseley. For the first time since he became eligible for parole in 1984, Moseley will appear before a board that is being directed to look beyond his crime and criminal record, and consider if the 76-year-old who committed crimes 47 years ago is the same person seeking freedom.

A new state law requires the parole board to establish and apply “risk and needs principles to measure the rehabilitation of persons appearing before the board” and the likelihood of success should the offender be released. In the past, the board “could” consider those factors; now it “must” consider them. Moseley will be among the first inmates evaluated under the revised system when he meets the parole board the week of Oct. 31. Advocates who have long promoted parole reform are watching the process closely. “The devil is in the details and it will depend on what regulations actually get written, but the change both rationalizes and modernizes the parole laws in ways that are long overdue,” said Columbia law Prof Philip Genty.

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