Thursday, 4 August 2016

John MacKenzie's request to you

John Shido MacKenzie 7/22/1946 – 8/4/2016

In 1975 John MacKenzie unintentionally shot Nassau County police officer Matthew Giglio at the scene of a late-night break-in in Hempstead, Long Island. Officer Giglio died from his injuries ten weeks later.

John served almost forty-one years of a twenty-five years to life sentence. He took full responsibility for his crime, yet in spite of his genuine and heartfelt remorse, his complete rehabilitation, his spotless disciplinary record and his impressive accomplishments and achievements, he was denied parole ten times for the one thing he could never change — the nature of his crime.

In a recent New York Supreme Court decision in John's case, Judge Maria G. Rosa stated:

It is undisputed that it is unlawful for the parole board to deny parole solely on the basis of the underlying conviction. Yet the court can reach no other conclusion but that this is exactly what the board did in this case... It is undisputed that this petitioner has a perfect institutional record for the past 35 years. This case begs the question, if parole isn't granted to this petitioner, when and under what circumstances would it be granted? (Matter of MacKenzie v. Stanford, 2789/15)

John was found dead in his prison cell on the morning of Thursday, 4 August 2016, a few days after receiving his tenth parole denial. Repeated parole denials and the harsh conditions in Fishkill Correctional Facility extinguished his hope and he took his own life. There was an immediate outcry with tributes and messages of support from parole reform advocates, devastated by John's death and outraged by the unlawful actions of the New York State Parole Board.

John MacKenzie's request to you is to never let him be forgotten. This web page is a tribute and a record of some of his many achievements during his long years of incarceration, including the unique Victims Awareness Program he researched, initiated and led in honor of Matthew Giglio and his family. John's lifetime's work as an advocate for victims' rights, parole justice and reform will be continued by all those who knew and loved him.

John, we will always remember you. Your courage is an inspiration for us all.

New York Times report:
Merciless End for a Long Island Cop Killer, by Joseph Goldstein (New York Times, October 28 2016)

New York Times editorials in support of John MacKenzie:
False Hope and a Needless Death Behind Bars, editorial by Jesse Wegman (New York Times, September 6 2016)
A Challenge to New York’s Broken Parole Board, by the Editorial Board (New York Times, June 13 2016)

A final note:

Successful decision in John MacKenzie's contempt case against the New York State Parole Board, May 1 2019. Parole Board denied release solely due to underlying conviction; contempt affirmed:
Matter of Ferrante v. Stanford, 2019 NY Slip Op 3334 - NY: Appellate Div., 2nd Dept. 2019