N.H. Abolishes Death Penalty, As Legislature Overturns Governor's Veto

May 30, 2019

Rep. Renny Cushing, prime sponsor of the death penalty repeal bill, embraces Senate President Donna Soucy after N.H. lawmakers ended capital punishment.
Credit Josh Rogers / NHPR

New Hampshire has abolished capital punishment.

The state Senate voted Thursday morning to override Gov. Chris Sununu's veto of the bill to repeal the death penalty. The vote follows the New Hampshire House's vote last week to overturn the veto.

Capital punishment is "archaic, costly, discriminatory, and final," said Sen. Melanie Levesque, a Democrat from Nashua. "This is time to end it."  

[READ MORE: For Death Penalty Opponents, Repeal Victory a Long Time Coming] 

The Senate vote to overturn Sununu's veto was bipartisan, with four Republicans joining 12 Democrats to support an end to capital punishment.

Sen. Lou D'Allesandro of Manchester was one of two Senate Democrats to vote against repealing the death penalty. He cited the 2006 murder of Manchester Police Officer Michael Briggs and his killer Michael Addison, the only person on death row in New Hampshire.

Sen. Martha Fuller Clark embraces Rep. Cushing following the death penalty repeal vote.
Credit Josh Rogers / NHPR

"Our law enforcement people see this as a deterrent," D'Allesandro said. "I believe strongly we have to, we have to support them."

The Legislature passed a repeal bill last year, which Sununu also vetoed but lawmakers then were unable to overturn it.

New Hampshire has not executed anyone since 1939. The state now joins the rest of New England in banning the death penalty.

Credit Death Penalty Information Center