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November 6, 2013

Unanimous Supreme Court of New Hampshire upholds state's first modern capital conviction (with proportionality review to follow)

As reported in this AP piece, "New Hampshire's top court upheld the sentence of the state's only death row inmate, clearing the way for a convicted cop killer to become the first person executed in New Hampshire since 1939."   Here are more of the basics:

Michael Addison, 33, was convicted of gunning down Michael Briggs in 2006 as the 35-year-old Manchester police officer was attempting to arrest him on a string of armed robbery charges. The high court's unanimous ruling came nearly a year after it heard unprecedented daylong arguments in the first death penalty appeal to come before it in 50 years....

Of all 22 issues raised by Addison's lawyers on appeal, the justices concluded, "We find no reversible error."

The Supreme Court will next schedule arguments on its fairness review — weighing Addison's sentence against those meted out in 49 cases around the country between 2000 and 2009 in which a police officer was shot in the line of duty.

Addison's lawyers objected to the scope of the comparison, saying it ignores the only other New Hampshire capital case in recent history. That case involved a wealthy white man — John Brooks — who plotted and paid for the killing of a handyman he thought had stolen from him. Brooks was spared a death sentence in 2008 — the same year Addison was sentenced to die....

Attorney General Joseph Foster said the magnitude of the court's 243-page ruling is appropriate given the magnitude of the loss suffered by the Briggs' family. He did not comment on the ruling itself, noting that aspects of the case remain pending.

Briggs was 15 minutes from the end of his shift on Oct. 16, 2006, when he and his partner — both on bicycle patrol — confronted Addison in a dark alley. Jurors found that Addison shot Briggs in the head at close range to avoid arrest. Addison was later convicted of going on a violent rampage in the days before Briggs' death, including two armed robberies and a drive-by shooting....

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.

As the AP piece revelas, the massive ruling in NH v. Addison (available here) does not conclusively affirm the defendant's death sentence.  Here is why, as the NH Supreme Court explains in the introduction to its lengthy opinion:

With respect to the issues raised by the defendant on appeal, we find no reversible error. Accordingly, we affirm the defendant’s conviction for capital murder. Furthermore, we conclude that the sentence of death was not imposed under the influence of passion, prejudice or any other arbitrary factor, and that the evidence was sufficient to support the jury’s findings of aggravating circumstances.  We note that our review of the defendant’s sentence is not yet complete.  Only after additional briefing and oral argument on comparative proportionality under RSA 630:5, XI(c) will we conclude our review of the defendant’s sentence of death, at which time we will issue a further opinion.

November 6, 2013 at 04:40 PM | Permalink

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Comments

The opinion is lawyer gibberish and sophistry. Waste of time and money at tax payer expense. Preserves no real civil right. A direct action group of victims and family of murder victims should being the violence to the lawyer traitor and tax money thief. Lash the judges that protected this predator from age 3.

The appellant likely committed hundreds if not thousand of violent crimes, under the protection of the lawyer.
He should be water boarded full time to solve the innumerable violent crimes that the worthless police has not been able to solve. The police is, of course, hobbled by the lawyer, except where the lawyer lives. There the police arrive in droves within 2 minutes, blasting, with the death penalty dealt at the scene. Result? Virtually no crime where the lawyer lives, only a few miles from Fallujah ghettos. Massive criminality exposure for everyone else.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Nov 6, 2013 11:45:32 PM

All the opinions in Furman v. Georgia combined are around the length of Part 1 of this one.

Posted by: Joe | Nov 6, 2013 11:54:40 PM

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