Late last month, the New Hampshire House and Senate voted to repeal the state’s death penalty and replace it with a sentence of life without the possibility of parole. It is the first time a Republican-controlled legislature has passed a repeal bill in that state.
“Leadership came from the Republicans,” State Rep. Renny Cushing told DPF. “It’s thanks to a coalition of lawmakers who, for a variety of reasons, came to the conclusion that the death penalty is a failed public policy.” Cushing, whose father was murdered, is a longtime death penalty opponent.
The bill passed the House 223-116, just one vote short of the two-thirds super majority required to override the veto Republican Gov. Chris Sununu has promised. The Senate’s 14-10 vote in March was just two votes short of the 16 votes needed to override.
On Thursday, ABC affiliate WMUR reported that a group of retired law enforcement and corrections officials spoke in favor of repeal on the floor of the House. Former Assistant Commissioner of Corrections Bill McGonagle told the station, “Go to YouTube and just put a search in for botched executions in the United States. Just watch one, and you’ll be convinced that this is not a humane thing that we do.”
New Hampshire hasn’t executed anyone since 1939, and currently has only one prisoner, Michael Addison, on death row. If the repeal bill becomes law it will not be retroactively applied to him.