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NH Senate passes death penalty repeal

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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.

Visit our death penalty issue page to learn more about the debate over capital punishment.

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.


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To: Governor Chris Sununu and staff
Executive Council
Atty. Gen. Joseph Foster and staff
Senate, House & Staff
NH Supreme Court & Judicial Council
Police, Prosecutors & Media throughout the state
Victims' Groups

Subject: Death Penalty: Protecting More Innocents

Re: Sen. Avard: Dead Wrong on Death Penalty

REBUTTAL of: Another View -- The price of innocence is too high, By KEVIN AVARD, Union Leader, March 12. 2018,…

From: Dudley Sharp

Sen. Avard says that we must end the death penalty because of risk to innocents.

By fact and reason, as detailed, below, the death penalty is a greater protector of the innocent than is life without parole (LWOP)

The seriousness of dealing with innocents slaughtered by known murderers requires detailed fact checking and investigation.

I. The "Exoneration" Frauds

The "innocent" and "exoneration" frauds, perpetrated by the anti death penalty movement, have been very well known since 2000 (1,2,3).

That movement decided to redefine both "innocent" and "exonerated", as if they had redefined lie as truth (1,2,3).

Possibly, there may be 40 proven innocents identified and released from death row, that being 0.4% of those so sentenced under the Gregg v Georgia decision (1976) (1, 2, 3).

That is 1 out of every 250 cases - not the 1 out of 10 described by Sen. Avard.

II. Innocents harmed

a) Due Process

The death penalty has the greatest of due process protections, meaning that all other sanctions are more likely to convict actual innocents, not discover them on appeal and have them die, with extended incarcerated, than is the death penalty (1).

Sen. Avard is unaware?

b) Criminal Custody

5000 persons die within US criminal custody, every year. We average 35 executions per year, since 1976 (1).

By Sen. Avard's illogic, that we should end the death penalty, because we MIGHT execute one innocent person, means that we should end all other criminal custodies, first, because the death penalty is, obviously, that custody, least likely to allow actually innocent deaths (1).

Sen. Avard is unaware?

c) Repeat offenders

Large numbers of innocents are harmed, by rapes, murders and attempted murder, etc., within the criminal justice practices of release by bail, bond, parole, probation, quick and early release and failure to incarcerate known violent offenders.

Those numbers are in the millions, nationwide, since 1976 (1).

Possibly, we may have proof of an actual innocent executed as recently as the 1930's (not in New Hampshire).

Yet. Sen. Avard wants to end, only, the death penalty/execution, which is the best possible way of ending repeat offenders.

Do you see where the innocents at risk problems are?

How is it possible that Sen. Avard is unaware that living murderers can and do murder, again, in prison, after escape and after improper release, but that executed murderers do not? He isn't.

d) The Deterrent Effect

Has it ever been proven that criminal sanctions and the potential for negative outcomes do not deter some?

No, nor can it be (1,4).

The only reason anti death penalty folks say the death penalty does not deter, is that they don't want you to know that by allowing more murderers to live, they allow more innocents to be murdered.

Contrary to Sen. Avard, nearly 100% of those subject to the death penalty do all they can to avoid the death penalty and, seek, life instead (1,4).

Of course, those murderers were not deterred, at least that time, but it does tell us that life is preferred over death and that death is feared more than life.

Such is the case, for the overwhelming majority of us all.

What we prefer more, deters less. What we fear more deters more. Understood by all.

All arguments that the death penalty deters none have been defeated, by fact or reason (1,4).

1) The Death Penalty: Saving More Innocent Lives…

2) The Innocent Frauds: Standard Anti Death Penalty Strategy

3) The 4.1% "Innocent" on Death Row: More Nonsense

4) All additional deterrence topics, also, found in footnotes of the below paper

99.7% of murderers tell us "Give me life, not execution"…

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