Capital Punishment

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N.H.'s Death Penalty Faces a Last Repeal Attempt for the Year

Although the matter seemed settled for the year after the State Senate tabled a repeal bill, longtime opponents of capital punishment in the House are making one last attempt. 

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The legislature is again considering a repeal of the state’s capital punishment statute. While supporters say that their cause has gained momentum over recent years, others argue that the death penalty still plays an important role in state’s justice system.


The New Hampshire Supreme Court has issued its ruling in the case of the only man on death row in the state - Michael Addison, who was convicted in 2008 of capital murder for shooting and killing Manchester Police Officer Michael Briggs.

To explain the ruling we turn to Buzz Scherr, law professor at the University of New Hampshire School of Law.  He speaks with All Things Considered host Brady Carlson.

In light of today's State Supreme Court ruling on the Addison case, here is an abbreviated timeline of the history of New Hampshire's death penalty.

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In a highly-watched decision yesterday, the justices upheld Addison’s conviction of “capital murder” for killing a police officer. But the court said at a later date would it rule on Addison’s death sentence itself. We’ll look at this decision and its possible ramifications.


  • John Greabe – professor at UNH School of Law, specializing in constitutional law
  • Josh Rogers - NHPR's senior political reporter


Court proceedings wrapped up recently in the state’s only Capital Punishment case, meanwhile a new Governor and Legislature could re-examine our death penalty statute.  We’ll find out how Granite Staters on both sides of this argument might be gearing up for another look at death sentencing. 


On Wednesday, the New Hampshire Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case of Michael Addison.  Four years ago, a jury found Addison guilty of first degree murder in the 2006 shooting death of Manchester police officer Michael Briggs.  The jury then sentenced Addison to death.

Addison’s lawyers have appealed to the state Supreme Court, and the court will hear a full day of arguments beginning at nine this morning.