Governor Chris Sununu signaled he'd veto the death penalty repeal long before lawmakers sent one to his desk. So, at the event his press team billed as an announcement on the repeal bill, the only real suspense was over how many police officers Sununu could squeeze into his office to witness his veto.
"So the desk doesn't move, unfortunately, so I will sit down and suck it in and we will tuck in as best we can here."
And police weren't the only invited guests. Family members of murder victims were also on hand. Sununu said for the worst sort of crimes, the death penalty remains what he called the "ultimate justice."
"Abolishing the death penalty in New Hampshire would send the wrong message to those who would commit the most heinous offenses, namely, that New Hampshire is a place where a person who would commit the unthinkable crime may be guaranteed leniency."
New Hampshire hasn't put a criminal to death since 1939, and remains the only state in the northeast with a death penalty. The last time a repeal bill reached a governor's desk here was in 2000. Then-Governor Jeanne Shaheen vetoed it.