Posted by on July 10, 2015

Today, Assemblyman Gary D. Finch (R,C,I-Springport) took a compassionate stand in support of families who have been devastated by the most profound tragedy any parent can experience: the murder of their child.

He joined colleagues from both houses of the legislature and on both sides of the aisle at a press conference in the Capitol to advocate for the passage of A.1680, legislation that would extend the time murderers and the most violent felons have to wait before applying for parole. The bill would allow up to five years between parole hearings for the worst assailants.

“To ask families to re-live unspeakable horrors every two years is brutally excessive,” said Finch. “As a member of the Assembly Committee on Corrections, I can tell you that our discourse is dominated by the rights of the incarcerated. We need to remember victim’s rights. We need to pass sensible legislation to help their parents find some semblance of peace,” added Finch.

Finch noted that he can’t think of a good reason to table or reject this legislation.

“I understand the Majority is seeking criminal justice reforms and some sentencing reforms. That is certainly their prerogative. However, I can’t imagine that they want to center their reforms on helping murderers and rapists accelerate the parole process. If they reject this bill, it could only be for shamefully political purposes,” said Finch.

Finch was joined at the press conference by Bruce Grieshaber and Janice Grieshaber Geddes of Onondaga County. They are the parents of Jenna Grieshaber. Jenna was murdered on November 6, 1997 by Nicholas Pryor. Tireless advocates, Bruce and Janice fought hard for the 1998 sentencing reform that bears Jenna’s name.

Other parents who had to bury their children after they were victimized by senseless violence shared their own heart-wrenching stories.

“This legislation transcends political ideology. Rarely, if ever, do I encounter a bill with absolutely clear moral implications. It is wrong to put parents through the emotionally draining process of asking for support letters and testifying at a parole hearing every two years. It is wrong to ask brothers and sisters to re-live the worst day of their life every two years. It is wrong to perpetuate a system that might allow for the release of some of society’s most deranged and heartless criminals after only two short years,” concluded Finch.

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