Addison Challenges Constitutionality Of N.H.'s Lethal Injection Law

Sep 28, 2015

Michael Addison
Credit AP/FILE

An attorney for Michael Addison is asking the courts to declare the state’s death penalty law unconstitutional. Addison is condemned to death for shooting a Manchester police officer in 2006. 

Public Defender David Rothstein’s argument is this -- New Hampshire statute specifies that executions must be conducted with a specific drug – the ultra-short acting barbiturate, or by hanging. In a recent filing, Rothstein contends that hanging is incompatible with modern decency. And, he says, the European company that manufactures the drug specified in the state statute? They won’t provide it for executions.

Among other things, Rothstein writes that recent executions in Oklahoma and Ohio bring back into question whether lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment. The risk of pain and suffering is especially high in New Hampshire, where statute requires the use of a paralytic drug, which could mask signs of pain.

The motion also notes that to comply with the US 8th amendment, California was required to build a lethal injection chamber in 2007, at a cost of about $1 million dollars.

The New Hampshire Supreme Court upheld the death sentence for Addison in April. Rothstein will be filling an appeal to U.S. Supreme Court next month.