Posted on February 8, 2005

Even Killers Should Vote

Joe Mahoney, New York Daily News, Feb. 4

Taking up a cop killer’s cause, a top lawyer’s group said yesterday the state law banning convicted felons from voting should be overturned because it disenfranchises a disproportionate number of minorities.

The New York City Bar Association jumped into the debate, contending the statute violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The group made its argument in a brief filed yesterday in the 2nd Circuit Federal Appeals Court in Manhattan in support of convicted cop killer Jalil Muntaqim.

“There is a vast body of evidence showing that African-Americans and Latinos are arrested more often, convicted more often and given harsher sentences than members of other racial groups who commit the same types of crimes,” the bar association wrote.

Lawyers for Muntaqim argue the New York law is discriminatory because about 80% of New York’s prisoners are African-American or Latino, while those groups make up less than 30% of the state’s population.