New Hampshire Abolishes Death Penalty, Overriding Veto

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The New Hampshire Senate abolished the last death-penalty law in New England by voting to overturn a veto by Gov. Chris Sununu, reports the Wall Street Journal. Sununu sought to keep capital punishment on the books with his veto this month, the second year in a row he had struck down a repeal bill. This time the legislature—under Democratic control since the last election—had enough votes to push through a change. Four Republicans joined Democrats in support of Thursday’s override, which at 16-8 just reached the two-thirds necessary votes for an override. The House narrowly approved an override last week.

Death-penalty opponents have been trying for many years to change the state law. Sen. Melanie Levesque, a Democrat, called capital punishment archaic, costly and discriminatory during a debate on the Senate floor. Sen. Bob Giuda, a Republican who opposes the death penalty, said the issue supersedes politics. “I am a pro-life advocate, I believe that all life is sacred,” he said. Beyond New Hampshire, there have been Republican-led pushes in several solidly GOP-controlled states to abolish the death penalty. “Today’s victory is a tremendous milestone for the national movement to end the death penalty,” said Cassandra Stubbs of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Capital Punishment Project. “This is the first time in the modern death penalty era in which an entire region of the country has rejected this racially biased, unfairly applied, error-prone punishment.” Proponents of the death penalty, say it is used judiciously and that repeal would be an affront to police officers. While New Hampshire hasn’t executed anyone in 80 years, Michael Addison is on the state’s death row for murdering Manchester police officer Michael Briggs in 2006.

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