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May 6, 2018

Leading newspaper in New Hampshire advocates "Governor, end the death penalty"

I have not blogged about the recent votes by New Hampshire’s legislature to repeal the state's rarely used death penalty because of reports that New Hampshire's Governor was sure to veto the repeal and there were not sufficient votes to override a veto. But since the veto has yet to take place, I figured I might note this new editorial in the Concord Monitor headlined "Governor, end the death penalty." Here are excerpts:

For the second time since the death penalty was reinstated by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1977, both houses of New Hampshire’s Legislature have voted to repeal the state’s capital punishment law.  The first attempt died in the face of a threatened veto by then-Gov. Jeanne Shaheen.  It was a dark hour in the state’s history.  New Hampshire is the only New England state to countenance the death penalty, indeed the only Eastern state north of Virginia whose laws call for putting transgressors to death.

This year’s repeal vote faces a promised veto by Gov. Chris Sununu.  We urge the governor to let the will of the people, as represented by the majority vote of their representatives, be expressed.  He should sign the bill or let it become law without his signature.  If he does neither, lawmakers should override his veto.  In the House, one more vote would have given repeal proponents a veto-proof majority.  In the Senate, just two more votes would have done the same.

John Breckenridge, a Manchester police officer who watched his partner, Michael Briggs, die from a bullet fired by Michael Addison, the only inmate on New Hampshire’s death row, spoke against the death penalty four years ago when the New Hampshire House voted to abolish capital punishment.  “As a Catholic, I could not justify the very pre-meditated act of executing someone who -- for all the evil of his crime and all the permanent hurt he caused others -- still lives . . . in the possibility of spiritual redemption.”

This year, another former Manchester police officer, Rep. Richard O’Leary, once the Queen City’s deputy chief, voted for repeal.  “I don’t believe we have the right under any circumstances, except immediate self-defense, to take a life.  Once the criminal has been subdued, arrested, segregated from society and rendered defenseless, I cannot see where the state has any compelling interest in executing him.  It’s simply wrong.”

It is also costly.  Because he was sentenced to death the state will spend millions to prosecute Addison for Briggs’s murder.  That’s money that could be put to far better use.  We urge Manchester Sens. Lou D’Allessandro and Kevin Cavanaugh to heed the words of Breckenridge and O’Leary and, if it comes to that, vote to override a Sununu veto.  Others who voted against repeal should change their vote and at long last put New Hampshire on the right side of moral history....

A wrongful death committed in society’s name cannot be undone.  It’s time for New Hampshire to join the enlightened states and nations that have abolished capital punishment.

May 6, 2018 at 01:01 PM | Permalink


Twenty-four people were executed in NH ... since 1739 ... the last in 1939.

“As a Catholic, I could not justify the very pre-meditated act of executing someone who -- for all the evil of his crime and all the permanent hurt he caused others -- still lives . . . in the possibility of spiritual redemption.”

So Michael Addison not being executed is not an insult of at least one victim, I guess. But, I rather not speak for victims. They aren't all alike. They have different sentiments. And, the law here isn't just for one victim. The should treat the needs of victims, but it is for the people at large. And, justice for all, including the victims, does not to me net warrant capital punishment.

Posted by: Joe | May 6, 2018 1:31:28 PM

I agree with the editorial. End the death penalty across the nation.
Fire the death penalty appeal racket. Start the far more effective and cheap Italian Death Penalty, in all the States.

Posted by: David Behar | May 6, 2018 3:15:05 PM

DB ... vaffanculo, va, stronzo ...

Posted by: Claudio Giusti | May 6, 2018 3:30:52 PM

CG: Pro-criminale buffone e masturbarsi.

Posted by: David Behar | May 6, 2018 4:50:52 PM

Behar's back. I'm gone! Bye.

Posted by: Ella | May 6, 2018 9:49:07 PM

Ella. Are you a licensed lawyer?

Posted by: David Behar | May 7, 2018 11:06:24 AM

Capital punishment is not justice. Capital punishment is a masturbation of justice.

Posted by: Claudio Giusti | May 7, 2018 2:00:04 PM

Since 1792, every 100 years, someone invents a new device with the intent to make executions more palatable for the viewers, not the condemned.
First France, where doc Joseph Ignace Guillottin improved an old renaissance killing machine. Than New York, where Mr Thomas Alva Edison introduced modern technology in the field of state homicide. (Actually Edison was against capital punishment, but he was much more against Mr George Westinghouse. Anyway, nobody can stop science.)
Third arrived lethal injection, with the clear advantage of the disappearance of the hangman and the breaking of the butchery between the visible and the concealed. With lethal injection the work is dispersed in many parts and there is no more the actual executioner as in the traditional executions, where the audience perceives the cries, the trap-door’s bang, the shoots, the burned flesh smell. More, the bloody part, the needles insertion, is made out of sight, and the condemned is presented in a surgical way as a patient of a sanitizing outcome.

Posted by: Claudio Giusti | May 7, 2018 2:19:58 PM

Claudio. I agree. It is much better to get stabbed multiple times, even in the back, as the guards look away in Italy. Then, call the death as a suicide.

Posted by: David Behar | May 7, 2018 2:58:33 PM

DB is an idiot.

Posted by: Claudio Giusti | May 8, 2018 8:30:33 AM

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