Senator Pam Helming is leading a charge against the proposed Elder Parole legislation, Senate bill S.2423, urging Democrat lawmakers to reconsider its implications.
The bill would grant incarcerated individuals aged 55 or older, who have served at least 15 years of their sentence, an automatic parole hearing, irrespective of their crime or original sentence.
This could lead to the early release of felons and effectively eliminate life sentences without parole, with parole hearings recurring every two years if initially denied.
Helming’s opposition to the bill was voiced alongside victims’ families, highlighting the personal impacts of such legislative changes. Among those present were Lynn Mazurkiewicz, wife of slain Rochester Police Officer Anthony Mazurkiewicz; Nikki Siplin, whose son was murdered; and Judy Tosh, mother of a young abduction and murder victim.
Their testimonies underscore the potential for re-victimization and the undermining of justice that the bill might bring. Helming criticized the bill for prioritizing criminals over victims, stating that it would abolish truth in sentencing and weaken the criminal justice system.
Key law enforcement and legal figures joined Helming in opposition. Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter emphasized the injustice of reducing sentences based on age, while Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt and retired Rochester Police Officer Dennis Cole highlighted the risks to community safety and the disregard for law-abiding citizens. The presence of Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley, Ontario County District Attorney James Ritts, and other officials underscored the broad concern over the bill’s potential consequences.
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