New Hampshire Bar Journal
2011 Spring, Pg. 20.
Death Penalty Considered, Part 1
New Hampshire Bar JournalVolume 52, No. 1Spring 2011Death Penalty considered, part 1There has been support for, and also discomfort with, the death penalty for centuries, as evidenced by Quentin Blaine's historical survey of the death penalty in New Hampshire, a reprint of a Bar Journal article from Spring 1986 (Vol. 27, #3).
While New Hampshire has had a death penalty statute on the books for most of the 20th century, there have been few executions, none since 1939. But in 2008 two men involved in separate incidents were tried for capital murder, and one, Michael Addison, was sentenced to death. While Addison's death penalty appeals continued, the state was shocked by a brutal home-invasion murder in late 2009 that brought new attention to the issue. While the Legislature repeatedly has considered and rejected calls to abolish the death penalty, this recent homicide has fueled an effort to expand the crimes eligible for capital punishment. At the same time, the Legislature created a Commission to Study the Death Penalty in New Hampshire. Chaired by retired Superior Court Chief Justice Walter Murphy, the Commission in 2010 met monthly for almost a year, taking testimony from experts from inside and outside the state on the subject. In December 2010, it issued a report, or rather, two reports with findings. The majority, in a report signed by 12 of the 22 Commission members, voted to retain...