Senators act on cue

It did not take members of the New Hampshire Senate long to follow our advice to end the state’s death penalty.

Thursday morning, prior to the 16-8 Senate vote to override Gov. Chris Sununu’s veto to end capital punishment in New Hampshire, The Telegraph’s editorial board asked them to do just that.

“Again, our asking the Senate to override Sununu’s veto and eradicate New Hampshire’s death penalty has nothing to do with our opinion of the morality of the death penalty. Instead, we believe the Legislature has spoken in such a strong way that it is simply time for the Granite State to move on from this issue,” we stated in our Thursday morning edition.

Before lunchtime, the Granite State’s death penalty was but a memory, as the Senate followed through with the 16-8 vote, the exact number of votes required to override a veto.

As previously stated, our largest problem with the New Hampshire death penalty was that, even though it had not been used for 80 years, it remained a strong point of contention in Concord. The advocacy groups who lobbied so strongly to see capital punishment abolished were not going to give up until they succeeded.

Now, those in Concord should have more time to devote to fixing problems such as the opioid epidemic, the high cost of housing and utilities, etc.

Some death penalty proponents are angered by the developments, including state Sen. Sharon Carson, R-Londonderry. She believes inmate Michael Addison, who was sentenced to death for killing Manchester police officer Michael Briggs in 2006, will see his sentence converted to life in prison.

Also reflecting her disappointment in the death penalty repeal was former U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., who had served as the prosecutor in Addison’s case.

Via Twitter Thursday, Ayotte stated: “Very disappointed and angry that the NH senate failed to sustain the Governor’s veto of the death penalty repeal. Police killer Michael Addison is the happiest about their vote today.”

We respect Ayotte’s opinions and often agree with her, but we are not sure why Addison would be happy. Even if his sentence is changed from death to life in prison, we don’t see how he is getting out of anything. As an attorney who knows the New Hampshire court system as well as anyone, Ayotte has to know that the chances of Addison ever actually being executed were always minuscule.

If New Hampshire had an execution chamber with dozens of death row inmates awaiting their doom, we could see more of a reason for capital punishment proponents to be angry. The facts are the state does not have a death chamber, has only one death row inmate, and has not actually killed anyone since 1939.

Case closed.