New Hampshire Heads towards Abolition of Death Penalty…Except for One Cop Killer

Saturday, March 15, 2014
Renny Cushing (AP Photo)

Lawmakers in New Hampshire are moving close to abolishing the death penalty. But even if the law is changed, the state’s only Death Row inmate will not be spared.


One half of the legislature, the House, overwhelmingly approved legislation this week to repeal the state’s death penalty. The vote was 225-104 in favor.


The measure now goes to the Senate, where it is uncertain if supporters have enough votes to pass it. Democratic Governor Maggie Hassan has said she will sign the bill if it reaches her desk.


The repeal would not apply to the death sentence of Michael Addison, who was convicted of killing Manchester Police Officer Michael Briggs in 2006. He is scheduled to be the first person to be executed in New Hampshire in 75 years. Hassan’s support of the bill is contingent on Addison’s life not being spared; otherwise she promised to veto it.


Some lawmakers attempted to attach an amendment to the bill that would have spared Addision, the state’s only inmate currently facing execution.


Republican Representative Steve Vaillancourt, who introduced such an amendment, told his colleagues that voting for the repeal but rejecting the amendment would be disingenuous. “You just want to score a cheap political victory,” he said. “We sell our souls if we don’t pass this amendment.”


The amendment failed 245-85.


Backers of the death penalty tried to attach their own amendment that would have continued executions in New Hampshire and expanded them to include anyone convicted of murdering a child under 13 years of age. That amendment, too, failed, by a vote of 247 to 83.


The repeal bill was authored by Democratic Representative Robert “Renny” Cushing, who has fought to end executions in his state for 16 years. He has done so despite having his father and brother-in-law murdered in separate incidents.


Retaining the death penalty “would only give more power to the murders, more power to the killer,” Cushing said. “If we let those who kill turn us into killers, evil triumphs, violence triumphs.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

New Hampshire House Votes to Repeal Death Penalty (by Lynne Tuohy, Associated Press)

House Overwhelmingly Adopts Death Penalty Repeal (by Garry Rayno, New Hampshire Union Leader)

Would We Execute Addison after Repealing the Death Penalty? (by Mike Pride, Concord Monitor)

Americans’ Support for Death Penalty at 40-Year Low (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


Dudley Sharp 4 years ago
Astounding that Cushing doesn't know the obvious moral differnces between crime and sanction, guilty murderer and innocent victim, execution and murder, theft and fines, kidnapping and incarceration. Killing Equals Killing: The Amoral Confusion of Death Penalty Opponents

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