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February 14, 2013

Notable account of capital realities when death penalty is truly rare

In California and some other states, various challenges presented by the administration of the death penalty might be traced to the fact that there are too many capital cases and not sufficient human resources to deal with them all soundly.  This new AP story from New Hampshire, in contrast, discusses challenges presented by having so very few capiral cases.  The piece is headlined "NH officials discuss the prospect of execution," and here is how it starts:

New Hampshire — which last executed an inmate more than 70 years ago, by hanging — would likely carry out an execution in a prison gymnasium rather than construct a costly death chamber for its lone death row prisoner, Corrections Commissioner William Wren said Wednesday.

Addressing a symposium on the death penalty at the University of New Hampshire School of Law, Wren said he and his staff are ‘‘dusting off’’ execution protocols from the 1930s but the $1.8 million needed to build a lethal injection chamber isn’t in the cards in a state where inmates are so rarely condemned to death.

The symposium offered a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the case of Michael Addison, sentenced to death in 2008 for gunning down Manchester Police Officer Michael Briggs following a violent crime spree. If the state’s highest court upholds his conviction and death sentence, Addison could be the first convict executed in New Hampshire since 1939.

Wren said Addison doesn’t really live on "death row" because the state no longer has one. He is housed in the state prison’s maximum security unit, living alongside other convicts.

The last person executed in New Hampshire was Howard Long, an Alton shopkeeper who molested and beat a 10-year-old boy to death. He was hanged — still a viable form of execution in New Hampshire if lethal injection is not possible.

Panelists made it clear Addison’s case threw a curve at a state criminal justice system that had no modern-day experience with capital litigation.

Attorney Chris Keating, who supervised Addison’s defense, said there was no legal "infrastructure" in place for a death penalty case — no bank of motions built from other cases, no expertise and a severe dearth of resources to handle the astronomical costs of such a case. He likened it to being told to build a nuclear bomb for the first time. "The stakes are really high if I get it wrong," he said.

Keating said he and former Attorney General Kelly Ayotte had to approach the Executive Council to fund their case. "The difference was, Ayotte was welcomed and people were very anxious to provide her with the funding necessary," Keating said. "I had to sheepishly ask for my $137,000 for initial spending."

February 14, 2013 at 05:15 PM | Permalink

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Addison's murder victim:
Briggs was married and the father of two young sons.
Briggs was a Marine, former Correction Officer, a Manchester PD Officer when killed, who
was awarded the Congressional Law Enforcement Award in 2005 for saving residents from a
burning building, and may have also saved Addison's life in treating his gunshot wounds, in 2003.
.............-------------.............
Addison's previous crimes:
--- --- "On August 10, 1996 he beat Cheryl Kiser (his birth mother) and threatened to kill her….delinquent threatening
and delinquent assault and battery against Kiser."
--- --- "In 1996 when he pointed a revolver in another Dorchester high school student's face [Manuel Andrade]. The
gun misfired."
--- --- "[March 20, 1997:] "According to court records, while out on bail awaiting trial…Addison was charged with
armed robbery and two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon when he robbed, kicked, and
stabbed Tredaine Purdy with a knife in the lower back…"

--- --- 2000-2001: Addison skipped town whilst on probation and later failed to appear for the hearing, prompting "a
2nd bench warrant."
--- --- "In 2002, Addison was arrested…In March 2003, Addison received first aid from Briggs [HIS LATER MURDER VICTIM]
after a shooting incident…[which] may have saved Addison's life."

--- --- "In October 2003, Addison was arrested…and charged with false imprisonment, criminal restraint, prowling and
criminal threatening…sentenced to six months….[and] two to six months…for violating the terms of his probation."
--- --- "[2006;] According to court records, Addison was convicted of participating with Antoine Bell-Rogers in
three separate felonies in the six days preceding the Briggs shooting."
.............-------------.............

Addison's day of murder & felonies:
"OCT. 10, '06 "Addison robs a customer at knifepoint of $300 and a cell phone."
"OCT. 11, '06 Addison holds female clerk at 7-Eleven convenience store in Hudson at gunpoint while Bell-Rogers steals $280."
"OCT. 15, 2006 Addison and Bell-Rogers are involved in a gunfire incident…Addison was later convicted of
two armed-robberies and a drive-by shooting."

"Jurors found that Addison shot Briggs in the head at close range to avoid arrest."

"Addison was extradited back to New Hampshire and denied his role in the murder.
During a taped interview, Addison told his story 6 different times before confessing to authorities that he shot…" ~boston.com/news/2012/11/14, wikipedia

Posted by: Adamakis | Feb 15, 2013 10:50:52 AM

"Outside the courthouse Wednesday, death penalty opponents held signs in a silent vigil."

"The justices peppered the lawyers with questions, but the tenor of the arguments was *even, calm and dispassionate.*
New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union Attorney Barbara Keshen thought they were too dispassionate.

‘‘The dispassion might be what’s necessary,’’ Keshen said. ‘‘But it lacks the core understanding that what we’re talking about is executing a human being.’’"~boston.com/news/2012/11/14

Too dispassionate. Core understanding.

ACLU: lies, injustice, and the Soviet way


Posted by: Adamakis | Feb 15, 2013 10:53:36 AM

I can already tell you from the 2 or 3 intelligent sentences he strung together, and his obvious appreciation of the seriousness of his job, that I'd take that defense attorney over 60% of the trial attorneys representing capital clients in my southern death belt state... Build a nuclear bomb? I've seen guys in court who couldn't build a bottle rocket if you gave them the rocket and the bottle.

Posted by: anon | Feb 15, 2013 12:07:04 PM

anon --

The problem is not with the in-court behavior of the attorney. It's with the out-of-court behavior of the client. The emphasis on the attorney is just a clever way of shoveling money to him. Run that meter!

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 15, 2013 2:14:29 PM

Tremendous things here. I’m very glad to see your article. Thanks so much and I’m looking forward to contact you. Will you please drop me a mail?

Posted by: Runescape Money | Feb 18, 2013 10:08:18 PM

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In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB