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N.H. Senate To Vote on Suspending State's Death Penalty

Allegra Boverman for NHPR
The senate chamber at the N.H. Statehouse

New Hampshire's state Senate is slated to vote on suspending the use of the death penalty. According to the bill's lead sponsor, Republican Kevin Avard, suspending the death penalty is good sense.

Avard once supported capital punishment, but says there are too many examples of the people improperly ending up on death row to remain confident the punishment is worth the risk.

“You know we are all capable of fallibility, and if you have 156 people who have been exonerated, we should take a real sober look at this.”

Under the bill, capital punishment would be suspended until "methods exist to ensure that the death penalty cannot be imposed on an innocent person."

The bill is not drafted to undo the sentence of NH's lone death row inmate, Michael Addison, who was convicted of killing a police officer in 2006. But the bill's critics of the bill say it could have that effect.

New Hampshire has not executed anyone since 1939 but it is the lone New England state where the death penalty remains on the books. An effort to repeal the death penalty in 2014 failed when the senate deadlocked 12-12.

Josh has worked at NHPR since 2000.
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