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Former Chief Justice Says N.H. Should Repeal Death Penalty

NHPR Staff

Former Supreme Court Chief Justice and current UNH Law School Dean, John Broderick told lawmakers that  NH is better than countries like Iran, Iraq, North Korea, where the death penalty is used.

Broderick said anyone who's spent time in a prison knows it's a hopeless and demeaning place, and asked lawmakers to consider what it would be like to by laying on a gurney,  a lethal injection headed your way, knowing you were innocent.

Broderick stressed mistakes can happen.

“I never believed having sat for a judge for 15 years on an appellate court here I never believed a sentence should be administered that does not have an eraser – we can make that happen.”  

The repeal bill easily cleared the Democratically-controlled House but faces a tougher hurdle in the GOP-led Senate.

This debate comes with N.H. having a man on death row for the first time in decades.

Michael Addison was sentenced to death for the 2006 killing of Manchester Police officer Michael Briggs.

Governor Maggie Hassan has said she’d sign a repeal as long as it’s allows Addison’s sentence to stand.

Police groups say the death penalty is a necessary deterrent.

Some also say if the repeal becomes law it increase the chance that Addison’s sentence is overturned on appeal.

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000.

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