CONCORD – New Hampshire, a state that has not executed anyone in 70 years, has officially removed the death penalty from its book of punishments.
Last week, the House voted to override Governor Sununu’s veto of the death penalty, and on Thursday, a 16-8 vote gave the Senate the two-thirds majority necessary to override.
There are few scenarios in New Hampshire where the death penalty is applicable, and with only one inmate on death row in the state, it is unclear whether that law would be grandfathered for Michael Addison, the prisoner who faces execution for killing Michael Briggs in 2006, who was a Manchester Police Officer.
Puerto Rico, District of Columbia and twenty other states have scrapped their death penalty laws. Pennsylvania and California have moratoriums on executions. States seem to be shying away from killing inmates, which will cause America’s already discorded judicial system to collapse even further.
Sununu, who lauds himself as a centrist, defends the penalty. He believes that “those who would commit heinous offenses should not receive leniency in return”, and stated that repealing the death penalty would deprive victims’ families of justice.
Senators Ruth Ward, Bob Guida, Harold French and John Reagan joined a wave of Democrats ready to abolish the practice, which provided the necessary two-thirds vote. With the bipartisan vote removing capital punishment from the books, sentences will cap out at life in prison without parole.
The veto caps a relentless campaign that combined the efforts of religious activists, libertarians, and progressives. Spearheading the movement to abolish the death penalty was the New Hampshire chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. Representative Renny Cushing (D) lost both a brother-in-law and father to
Governor Sununu called the decision “disappointing”.