Family pushes for 'Jilly's Law' by YNN Buffalo, May 2012.
The New York death penalty hearings on whether the State should restore capital punishment after its invalidation by the highest court of the State were, and still are, historic.
Testimony was taken over the course of five full days of hearings. In number, the 146 witnesses constituted the largest and most comprehensive examination of death penalty issues in U.S. history. All sides and all points of view were presented, from such notable figures as legendary advocate for capital punishment N.Y. Law School Professor Robert Blecker; famed N.Y.C. prosecutor Robert Morganthau; wife of Mick Jagger, Bianca Jagger, for Amnesty International; Richard Deiter of the Death Penalty Information Center; author Scott Turrow; William Fitzpatrick, prosecutor of Jeff Cahill; Bud Welch, father of victim of McVeigh's bombing in Oklahoma City; the author of VOICES; several exonerated death row inmates; and many others.
VOICES organizes this testimony around all of the issues raised by capital punishment, presents both sides, and includes lengthy narrative explanations of the facts, laws and opinions offered during the hearings.
In addition to pushing for New York's historic hearings on whether the state should return to capital punishment, the family of Jill Russell Cahill, and especially Jill's sister Debra Jaeger, started a lengthy campaign to reform the state's bail and domestic violence laws. That effort resulted in the inclusion of "Jilly's Law" in comprehensive legislation dealing with domestic violence in New York. According to the sponsor of the legislation, judges will now be required "to consider well-established risk factors when determining recognizance or bail for a defendant charged with an offense" involving acts of domestic violence. Such a provision would have kept Jeff Cahill in jail after his vicious attack on Jill. And that would have saved her life. This is law reform in action.