On Thursday, March 15 the New Hampshire Senate voted to replace the death penalty with life imprisonment without parole.
The bill, SB 593, would not change the sentence for the one inmate currently on death row in New Hampshire, Michael Addison.
Bill supporters argue that the chance of executing an innocent person is too high. Others argue that killing a person – even if he or she has committed murder – is unavoidably inhumane and unjust.
“While there are strong opposing views on the issue of the death penalty, for me it comes down to just one argument: wrongful conviction that leads to execution.”
- Sen. Kevin Avard, prime sponsor of SB 593
Bill opponents – including Governor Chris Sununu – argue that the death penalty is an important deterrent in the justice system, particularly when it comes to violence against law enforcement. Addison is on death row for shooting a police officer, Michael Briggs.
“A top priority of my administration has been to strengthen laws for crime victims and their families. Repealing the death penalty sends us in exactly the wrong direction, and I will veto the bill if it reaches my desk. There is no doubt that the most heinous crimes warrant the death penalty.”
- Gov. Chris Sununu
SB 593 now heads to the House of Representatives.
When we asked our community about a death penalty repeal earlier this year, most commenters opposed a repeal. Click here to read a summary of that discussion.
Do you support a death penalty repeal? Let us know in the comments below.