April 12, 2019
In 1998, a bill was introduced in the New Hampshire State House to outlaw the death penalty in the Granite State. The bill was defeated, 195-155.
Yesterday, the New Hampshire State Senate voted, 17-7, to eliminate the death penalty. Coupled with the State House’s previous passage of the bill (by a 297-88 margin), the bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Chris Sununu. Although Sununu has vowed to veto the measure, it passed both houses with veto-proof majorities. New Hampshire is on the verge of becoming the 21st state to ban capital punishment.
Interestingly, the repeal effort was led by Republican State Rep. Renny Cushing, whose father was murdered in 1988, and whose brother-in-law was murdered in 2011. He has been fighting to end the death penalty for decades.
New Hampshire hasn’t executed anyone since 1939 and, although it currently has one death-row inmate (Michael Addison, an African-American man convicted of the 2006 murder of a Manchester police officer), the State does not currently possess the means to put Addison to death.
The law is not retroactive but, once enacted, it will almost certain open the door for Addison to make a valid legal argument that he is being denied equal protection of the law.