[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----N.H., ARIZ., NEB.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Thu Sep 27 20:26:09 CDT 2007
Judge strikes down more challenges to death penalty in officer shot case
A judge has rejected more motions filed by lawyers challenging the death
penalty on behalf of their client, who is charged with fatally shooting a
Manchester police officer.
"Given how frequently the death penalty has been debated and how
consistently the . . . government (has) upheld it, the court concludes
that capital punishment does not offend general community standards of
decency in this state," Judge Kathleen McGuire wrote in a ruling last
Michael Addison, 27, is charged with capital murder in the shooting death
of Officer Michael Briggs. Briggs, a 35-year-old Concord father of two,
was shot while on patrol almost a year ago.
If convicted, Addison, who is being held in Concord without bail, could
face the death penalty.
McGuire, who is presiding over Addison's case in Hillsborough County
Superior Court, rejected 4of Addison's 15 challenges to the state's death
penalty law this month.
In addition to the challenge regarding cruel or unusual punishment,
McGuire threw out two arguments about the unfairness of aggravating and
mitigating factors in the case. She also dismissed an argument that
calling the jury's sentencing decision a "recommendation" is misleading.
Addison's challenge that the death penalty is indecent was the first filed
by his lawyers in June. They argued that the penalty violates the state
Constitution, which bans cruel or unusual punishment.
But McGuire ruled that the framers of the Constitution never meant to
prohibit the death penalty when they adopted the document in 1784.
Addison's lawyers also argued that the death penalty violates current
standards of decency in New Hampshire. They pointed to neighboring
Massachusetts, whose high court banned the penalty in 1980. New Hampshire,
they argued, modeled its Constitution on Massachusetts' and should follow
McGuire disagreed, writing, "The legislative history of capital punishment
in this state demonstrates that a consensus has not been reached that
capital punishment is cruel or unusual."
She noted lawmakers' amendments of the death penalty law. In 1988, it was
expanded to include those convicted of the murder of a parole officer. In
1990, the death penalty was amended to include murders committed before or
after rape. In 1994, the murder of a judge. In 1986, the method of
execution was changed to lethal injection to increase use.
McGuire also said that 2days after Briggs died, lawmakers gave $420,000 to
the attorney general's office to prosecute the crime. They also approved
extra funds for Addison's defense.
(source: Associated Press)
Cop killers deserve death penalty
I am a citizen who has lived in the Valley for 38 years. I'm sick and
tired of seeing our police officers being killed.
The police represent a barrier between the good citizens and the bad ones.
Killing or wounding a policeman or policewoman shows that the crooks have
no respect for the law and therefore that barrier is broken down.
Let's get tough with police killers! We've got to quit coddling this
I would like to see the state of Arizona pass a law where if you shoot,
wound or kill a police officer you automatically get the death penalty and
without the privilege of waiting around 17 years before they execute you.
(source: Letter to the Editor, Arizona Republic)
Death Row Interview With Convicted "Boys Don't Cry" Killer
He is on death row for a murder so notorious, it was made into an Academy
Award winning movie. Now John Lotter may get another chance.
The 36 year-old is asking for a new trial based on new testimony from the
man who helped put him behind bars. Tom Nissen is now 35, serving a life
sentence and has confessed to the triple murders.
In an interview with Action 3 News Reporter Michelle Bandur Lotter says,
"I've been labeled by default as a liar, the killer, this monster of
Lotter's appearance has changed in the 11 years he's been on death row.
He's older now. He's 36. He is balding and no longer has long hair. But
his story has always stayed the same. Lotter says, "The person who killed
her is not on death row."
>From the day of his arrest in early 1994, Lotter has always said he's
He claims it was Tom Nissen, a man he only knew one week, who shot and
killed Teena Brandon, Lisa Lambert and Phillip Devine.
"That's all it's ever been. His word against mine. I was convicted by a
jury, sentenced to death based on this man's word, " Lotter told Bandur
from the Tecumseh State Prison.
Nissen cut a deal with prosecutors; his testimony against Lotter in
exchange for escaping the death penalty. He told the jury Lotter was the
shooter. But now, Nissen has changed his story.
In the motion for a new trial for Lotter, Nissen signed a sworn affidavit.
In the court documents, he said his testimony against Lotter was false.
Nissen writes, "I am the person who shot and stabbed Teena Brandon. I am
the person who shot Phillip Devine. I am the person who shot Lisa
Bandur asks Lotter, "Why didn't you come forward in the beginning and say
he was the trigger man?" Lotter answers, "Nobody wanted to listen to me.
They hitched their trailer on Nissen and wouldn't listen to me. It was too
In a July mental health interview, Nissen confessed to his counselor and
said Lotter didn't shoot anyone. That initially the murders were Lotter's
idea, but when they got there, Lotter's gun jammed and Nissen did the
shootings. He said he is upset Lotter is trying to appeal his death
sentence by saying that he, Lotter, was not present during the murders.
Nissen said he did not having any problem admitting to the murders, but
Nissen wants Lotter to acknowledge his, Lotter's involvement with their
crimes. He wants Lotter to take responsibility for being present during
Bandur asks, "Were you there?" Lotter says, "My lawyer told me not to talk
about it, I can't answer that."
The murders and story of victim Teena Brandon, a transgender, a girl, who
lived her life as a man was made into the movie, "Boys Don't Cry." Actress
Hilary Swank played Brandon and won an Academy Award in 1999 for her role.
Prosecutors say the men killed Teena because she was transgendered.
Lotter says, "I get a lot of people writing letters that say 'I watched
that "Boys Don't Cry" movie and I know the truth.' That "Boys Don't Cry"
movie, that couldn't even come close to any truth in that movie." Lotter
admits he has never seen the movie but has watched clips and been told
what the movie portrays. He says one day he wants to sue the filmmakers.
Bandur also asked him about his 15 year old daughter, "If your daughter
came to you and wants to live her life as a man, how would you handle
that?" Lotter says, "I wouldn't have a problem with that, whatever she
wants." He says the movie has left people with misconceptions about him.
He says he never had a problem with Brandon and never once thought she was
a woman. He wouldn't say if he raped her a week before her murder. Brandon
had gone to the Richardson County Sheriff December 26, 1993 and said
Nissen and Lotter raped her. The men were questioned and let go. Deputies
arrested the pair after the murders in Humboldt.
He believes if he ever walks out of prison, people will always think of
him as a cold blooded killer that shot three people execution style on New
Year's Eve 1993 in a Humboldt farmhouse. But he says that doesn't matter
"I know I didn't kill her," Lotter said, "It's all lies, everything that
happened and when I get my chance, if I get my chance, it will all be laid
out and people can judge for themselves."
Lotter also says he has new information that will clear his name. But he
couldn't discuss it during the interview. He says he hasn't communicated
with Nissen since his trial in '95. Nissen, meantime, is serving a life
Attorney General Jon Bruning gave this statement about the new testimony:
"Neither Nissen nor Lotter should ever see the light of day beyond prison
walls. Both of these men are clearly guilty of 1st degree murder under
Nebraska law. If Mr. Nissen's latest statement is true, it's possible the
state would need to reexamine the aggravating factors that resulted in his
sentence of death. Procedurally, Nissen cannot be re-sentenced due to the
constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy."
A judge will hear Lotter's motion for a new trial October 16th in
(source: Action 3 News)
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