[Deathpenalty] death penalty news------N.H., NEB.
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Thu Dec 4 16:00:46 CST 2008
Emotional day for Addison in NH death penalty case
Michael Addison has shown little emotion throughout his capital murder
trial, but he wiped away tears and later broke into laughter as friends
and family took the stand yesterday.
The defense presented its first witnesses in the sentencing phase of
Addison's trial in hopes of convincing the jury of giving Addison life in
prison instead of the death penalty.
Addison was convicted last month of killing Manchester Police Officer
In court yesterday, Addison's aunts, his father and a childhood friend all
remembered Addison's mother, Cheryl Kiser, as violent and a heavy drinker.
As an aunt talked about the differences between Addison's childhood and
that of his siblings, a tear streamed down Addison's cheek and he wiped
He also smiled and laughed as a childhood friend talked about the scrapes
the two would get into.
(source: Associated Press)
The high cost of the death penalty in New Hampshire
Even though there has been a death penalty law on the books there hasn't
been an execution in New Hampshire for more than 50 years. While in the
abstract a majority of New Hampshire citizens may support the death
penalty there has been little or no recent public outcry to implement the
law, nor any sudden upswing in frequency of murders in the state that
might trigger a harsher response. The decision, it seems, has been an
administrative policy decision by the Attorney General's office.
In a time when the State is desperately short of cash it's curious that
the State would suddenly be instituting multiple charges of capital
The prosecution of such cases puts a tremendous financial burden on the
State and its taxpayers. There is not only the high cost of investigation
and prosecution, but also an absolute guarantee that there will be a
lengthy and expensive trial. No defendant is going to plead guilty and
voluntarily accept a death sentence. Since execution can be the result of
a guilty finding defense counsel are ethically required to pursue every
avenue of defense, resulting in extensive discovery, multiple pretrial
hearings, and more lengthy trials. If there is a guilty finding there are
further hearings to determine eligibility for the penalty and then the
penalty phase itself.
This requires untold hours of lawyer time, usually multiple lawyers for
both the State and the defendant, often with a number of experts on both
sides, and since the defendants are usually indigent all of this is at the
State's (taxpayer's) expense. Assuming a decision is made to impose the
death sentence there will certainly be an appeal sometimes a series of
appeals and again, the State pays. In New Hampshire, since we presently
have no "death house" so-called, there will be the additional cost of
creating a process and a facility for carrying out the sentence.
Added to this is the expense of judge's time, the use of court facilities,
security, stenographers and transcripts, the cost of maintaining a jury
for an extended period of time, and the delay of other pending cases while
a judge, prosecutors, jury, etc. are committed to the murder case. The
overall cost to the State and the judicial system (taxpayers) is enormous.
Nationwide, I believe the figure is estimated to be $2 million per
Take the ongoing case of Michael Addison. A serious, horrible crime to be
sure, but it's clear that Addison would have been willing to plead at the
outset to a charge of 2nd degree murder, and he almost certainly would
have received a sentence of life without parole.
This is not an argument on the morality of the death penalty. It's purely
financial. When New Hampshire still cannot guarantee statewide
kindergarten; when state programs for public health, the elderly, human
services, law enforcement, and environmental programs are being cut; when
our roads and bridges are falling into disrepair can we justify spending
millions of dollars on a process that ... at this time ... serves no
fundamental need or purpose?
In the upcoming executive/legislative dialogue on the question of
priorities this should be an important consideration.
(source: Opinion, Foster's)
Supreme Court could rule on Sandoval case next week
It could be next week before we know whether a convicted killer will have
his death sentence overturned.
That's when Nebraska supreme court justices could issue a ruling in the
case of Jose Sandoval. He's the convicted ringleader of the 2002 Norfolk
bank killings. In all, five people died inside the U-S Bank branch.
On Tuesday, his lawyers argued the high court should overturn Sandoval's
death sentence because Nebraska didn't have a valid death penalty law at
the time of the crime.
More information about the DeathPenalty