Republican Gov. George Pataki used the pens of two slain police officers to sign legislation making New York the 38th state with a death penalty. Today's signing ceremony was a major victory for the state legislature, which had 18 straight death penalty bills vetoed by Democratic governors Hugh Carey and Mario Cuomo, who was defeated by Pataki in November. The law, which will take effect in September, defines about a dozen offenses punishable by lethal injection, including murders of on-duty cops. It does not apply to juveniles or the mentally disabled. "This law alone won't stop crime, but it is an important step in the right direction," Pataki said. Cuomo, now practicing law in Manhattan, told the Associated Press that he hopes the courts will find the law unconstitutional. "It's from fear, anger, shortsightedness and some cynicism coming together to overwhelm intelligence," Cuomo said of the measure.