Death Penalty

New Hampshire Just Abolished the Death Penalty

State lawmakers reached across the aisle for a bipartisan push against capital punishment.


New Hampshire has just repealed capital punishment, the last of the New England states to do so. Today the state Senate voted to override Gov. Chris Sununu's veto of an anti–death penalty bill. The state House did the same last week, so the legislation will now become law.

Sununu belongs to the GOP, but this effort to end the death penalty was bipartisan. "Ending New Hampshire's death penalty would not have been possible without significant Republican support," says Hannah Cox, national manager of Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty. "Increasing numbers of GOP state lawmakers believe capital punishment does not align with their conservative values of limited government, fiscal responsibility, and valuing life."

"I believe more states across the nation, inspired by what New Hampshire accomplished, will recognize that the death penalty cannot exist in a society that aspires to true justice," adds Shari Silberstein, executive director of Equal Justice USA.

At least two of the bill's backers have experienced the murder of a loved one. State Rep. Renny Cushing (D–Rockingham) lost both his father and brother-in-law to criminals, but he calls the death penalty "ritual killing by government employees" that does nothing beyond filling "another coffin and widen[ing] the pain." State Sen. Ruth Ward (R–Stoddard) lost her father to a murderer when she was very young. She recounted her own experience just before voting for the legislation, saying: "My mother forgave whoever it was, and I will vote in favor of this bill."

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  1. I bet New Hampshire refuses to fix its broken criminal justice system, just like every other state.

    Prosecutors and judges working together to allow violations of non-excessive bail and fines (8A); violations of the 4A, 5A, 6A, and 7A; keep the Police and Nanny State humming along; and refuse to strike down unconstitutional laws. Appellate justices ignoring the Constitution protections and freeing more prisoners.

  2. that one dude fucking elated. but good to see it eliminated in one state.

    1. You mean the dude on death row? I’m pretty sure this law still allows him to be executed.

      1. ah, well then … sucks to be that guy … although I suppose NH still won’t kill him if they haven’t yet

  3. Question for the Anti-Death Folks (Not sure If I asked this before)

    Are you opposed to the Death Penalty because you don’t trust the gov’t to get it right (like most things)?

    And if so, what are your thoughts on the Death Penalty in Anarcho-LibertyLand where it’s meted out by competing private David Friedman-esqe protection agencies

    1. Yes you’ve already asked this question before.

      Yes that is the primary reason why I don’t support the death penalty, but not the only reason.

      And since I’m not an anarchist, I don’t accept the premise of your final statement.

      1. Obviously he wasn’t really talking to you, Jeff.

    2. I think the Death Penalty should be suspended until changes to the state and federal criminal justice system are made. Those changes are mainly lining up our system back with the US Constitution.

      Every Defendant getting non-excessive bail (including accused murderers), no stacking of charges to get pleas, all judges get impeached if they have more than a few instances of case reversal based on failing to follow the Constitution, all Felony Defendants are entitled to at least as much funds as prosecutors use for a criminal case, speedy trials should be held within a 60 or less day period, mistrials are acquittals, double jeopardy restricts federal and state charging for same conduct, and ALL confessions need to be videotaped to be used and minors need at least their parents (preferably lawyers) present in the room.

      There are too many defendants released from death row based on DNA evidence that confirmed their innocence.

      1. I am board with most of that, but not so sure about mistrials being acquittals with jeopardy attaching. That creates some very strong incentives for the defense or jurors to sabotage the trial. I’d be cool with mistrials caused by prosecutorial misconduct.

        1. Why should the prosecution get a do-over?

        2. I meant to clarify that because you are absolutely correct about defense counsel and/or defendants should not gett a mistrial based on their misconduct.

          Police misconduct, prosecutorial misconduct, and judicial misconduct – yes.

          1. How about hung juries? Not sure what I think of retrials in that case. Perhaps one chance a do-over for the prosecution.

            1. A hung jury is also an acquittal.

              The state should get one “fair” shot at trial to get a guilty verdict beyond a reasonable doubt.

              Anything else should result in the release of a defendant.

            2. A hung jury means that a jury could not find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by unanimous verdict, which means that at least one jury member was for a Not Guilty verdict.

              Either keep the jury until the provide a unanimous verdict or if the judge calls it and its a hung jury, then there was no conviction but the defendant endured criminal jeopardy and all that entails. The defendant should not have to endure it again.

              1. Sounds about right.

    3. Obviously the government cannot and will never do this “right” but my opposition is more fundamental. I don’t believe there’s any such thing as a “right” way to kill people. Except in cases of urgent self-defense, taking a person’s life is always avoidable and therefore should always be avoided.

      1. Food for thought:

        While imprisonment is not the same as the death penalty, the state is still enforcing its right to execute on a criminal case’s final judgment. The state is there to handle criminal disputes and carry out the sentence.

        If the state has the right to wage war, even under a strict NAP, war kills innocents.

        So trying to avoid murdering people is what we might want to strive for. Capital Punishment is not considered murder. Self-defense homicide is also not considered murder.

        1. Capital Punishment is not considered murder.

          I think that depends on how you define murder and who is doing the considering.
          It seems to me that if you want to compare it to war, capital punishment is like bombing your enemies after they have surrendered.
          As I said last time Minderbinder asked this question, war is what happens when the rules of civilized society break down. War is sometimes necessary, but always bad. Executions in the normal justice system are never necessary in the way war sometimes is.

          1. Executing a surrendered enemy after a summary court martial is acceptable. If there is a reason so extreme that it is an acceptable punishment.

            A streamlined appellate system for death row inmates and then getting a fair trial, would be cheaper for the taxpayer to execute them. Plus, you avoid the risk of ever having such a dangerous person out.

            If murderers are not dangerous enough to get rid of, then why is the crime of murder treated so harshly?

            In society, someone murdering one of your family can cause a huge burden on your family. Hence the societal taboo about murder.

            Stealing horses used to be a death sentence because you could die if you had no food or water or ability to get to the next civilization miles away. Now stealing horses is a petty theft offense or minor felony if an expensive horse.

            1. >>If murderers are not dangerous enough to get rid of, then why is the crime of murder treated so harshly?

              mho there are different types of murderer – like some are obvious one-timers and some would just because – they should be sentenced differently

              rapists should treated more harshly than they are now.

            2. I wouldn’t be terribly opposed to the death penalty if I could be reassured that no one was wrongly executed and the system was fair. But I still think that all else being equal it is better not to kill someone when other effective options are available.

          2. the “Capital Punishment is not…” line bothered me also. murder in the name of the state. totes premeditated.

        2. Regarding imprisonment vs execution, degrees matter. Killing is morally distinct from imprisonment. Plus not only does our constitution ban cruel and unusual punishment, execution leaves no room for remediation in cases of false conviction.

          And yes reality is messy but I believe avoiding murder is definitely something “we might want to strive for” – a good way to strive for that is to not murder when offered the choice.

          1. You are right about remediation in cases of false conviction, which is why fair trial are so important.

            With that being said, the courts lean toward not disturbing the final judgment of non-death penalty cases for various reasons. Prisoners should not be able to waste taxpayer money for bullshit reasons for ever.

            Homicide does not equal murder. Since society by and large does not consider the death penalty murder, it is what it is.

            1. It’s impossible for any trial system to be 100% fair, wrongful convictions are inevitable. With the death penalty in place, execution of innocent people is a guarantee.

              And my whole point is that execution should be considered murder, or at least prohibited homicide. That’s exactly what I mean when I say killing is wrong and we shouldn’t be doing it voluntarily.

        3. f the state has the right to wage war, even under a strict NAP, war kills innocents.

          An important distinction is intent and objective.

          In war, killing is the means, but it is not the objective. Killing innocents is not the intent or objective, it is an accident.

          With the death penalty, killing is the means, intent, and objective all rolled into one.

          So you can believe in the idea of a just war without believing in a just death penalty.

          1. So what is the objective of war?

            1. I believe Ghengis Khan said it best

              “to conquer one’s enemies; to pursue them; to deprive them of their possessions; to make their beloved weep; to ride on their horses; and to embrace their wives and daughters.”

              Pretty much boils down to that.

              1. Or that. It’s more poetic that way.

            2. If you think that killing people is the objective of war, I don’t know what to say.
              The objective of war is generally either to defend the territory of a nation state, to overthrow or remove a government or to take control of the territory of another political entity or force them to act in some way.

    4. 1) I don’t trust the government to get it right.

      2) I don’t trust a vigilante mob to get it right either.

      3) Removing a murderer from society is sufficient for the needs of society. No need to actually kill him. Life imprisonment is fine with me.

      4) The legal system, government or anarchic, should not be about revenge.

      5) The deterrence effect has been shown to be a myth.

      6) That said, I would not hesitate to kill the murderer of a family member. My personal feeling during times of deep anguish do not overlap neatly with my rational political beliefs.

    5. (1) Yes (but not necessarily restricted to that reason alone)

      (2) The consensus is that it is unlikely that such a sentence would be available, and very unlikely that it would be actually carried out (i.e. in the unlikely event that such a sentence was available and selected, it would probably only be in-name, not in fact. The reasoning here is primarily economics-based, but see historical examples of private prosecutions in 19th century England and sentencing in imperial China as supporting empirical evidence.)

    6. Yes.

      And as a hypothetical, I don’t really trust private corporations to get it right either.

      1. I think most of us on here would agree that companies should not be killing anyone without that person’s expressed permission.

    7. It serves no useful social function in a civilized society.

    8. i have no problem with the notion that certain acts should render someone’s life forfeit.

      but the government is far too inept/malicious to deserve having that arrow in its quiver

  4. Law and order types should get over their death penalty fetish as it reveals that they are not really for law and order.

    Those who yelp for the death penalty without demanding accountability for LEOs love to suck Stalin’s scrotum.

    1. I do demand accountability for cops (and prosecutors) I think a lot of them should be in jail and a bunch of others should be in another line of work.

      But I also think that Dylan Roof, The Younger Boston Bomber Brother, Colin Ferguson, Major Hassan, John Allen Muhammad & Ted Bundy all deserve(d) execution.

      1. Plenty of people who oppose the death penalty believe some persons deserve the death penalty.

      2. Just because some people deserve death doesn’t mean the state should be empowered to kill them.

  5. Update the plates: Live free or life in prison.

  6. Does this apply to unborn children too?

    1. No it doesn’t apply to fetuses and zygotes. They are not people. They have the brainwaves of dead people or less. Move to Iran if you want Sharia Law theocrat.

    2. Death penalty of fetuses is different.

      Plus, we cannot have a rational discussion about positions on this matter because a women’s body is sacred but a girl baby’s body is not.

  7. Well now all I can hope for is these scumbags get executed on the “job”.

  8. […] legislative majority in New Hampshire, the final state in the region to enforce capital punishment, voted to override Gov. Chris Sununu’s (R) veto of a bill abolishing the death penalty. At the […]

  9. […] legislative majority in New Hampshire, the final state in the region to enforce capital punishment, voted to override Gov. Chris Sununu’s (R) veto of a bill abolishing the death penalty. At the […]

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