October 16, 2019
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation Closing New York's Double Jeopardy Loophole, Authorizing the State to Prosecute Individuals Pardoned By a President

TOP Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation Closing New...

Loophole Protected Individuals from Being Prosecuted at the State Level for the Same Offense


Cuomo: "No one is above the law and New York will not turn a blind eye to criminality, no matter who seeks to protect them."


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced he signed legislation (S.4572/A.6653) to close New York's double jeopardy legal loophole that protects individuals who are pardoned by a President from being prosecuted at the state level for the same offense. This key reform, which was an Attorney General's program bill, gives New York prosecutors discretion to pursue prosecution of criminal acts where they have jurisdiction.


"No one is above the law and New York will not turn a blind eye to criminality, no matter who seeks to protect them," Governor Cuomo said. "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."


"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." 


The statutory change takes effect immediately and applies to future and past offenses, provided the person has not already been tried or entered a plea.


Senator Todd Kaminsky, a former federal corruption prosecutor, said, "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. 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."


Assembly Member Joseph Lentol said, "This legislation takes the incentive out of any scheme to thwart prosecution.  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."

Contact the Governor's Press Office
Contact the Governor's Press Office