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Two Former N.H. AGs Back Death Penalty Repeal

orangesparrow via Flickr CC

Former Attorney Generals Phil McLaughlin and Greg Smith both told the House Criminal Justice Committee they’d prosecuted dozens of murders in their careers, and had they’ve come to believe the death penalty is wrong.

McLaughlin said the very rarity of capital punishment in N.H. is an argument for its basic unfairness.

"If punishment supposed to be neither cruel nor unusual, how do you take 1 in a 1000 over 75 years and persuade people that’s not unusual?"

Greg Smith went even further.

"We have had two capital punishment cases in the recent past. The white man got life without parole, the one who was a black man got the death penalty. I find that deeply troubling."

But Nick Willard, a Deputy Police Chief in Manchester who helped investigate the killing of police officer Michael Briggs defended the law and the prosecution of Michael Addison.

He told lawmakers he spoke for Micheal Briggs and that eliminating the death penalty would hurt Briggs’ family.

As drafted, repeal bill is prospective, and would only apply to cases brought after it became law.

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000.
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