Why Does New Hampshire Have the Death Penalty?

November 6, 2008

A jury in New Hampshire has just sentenced a white millionaire businessman named John Brooks to life without parole for the capital murder of Jack Reid in 2005. This was New Hampshire’s first death penalty trial in 49 years; New Hampshire has no one on death row and has not carried out an execution since 1939, and the refusal of this jury to vote for a sentence of death begs the question:  why does New Hampshire have the death penalty?

A second death penalty trial is also underway in New Hampshire, where African American Michael Addison is charged with killing Manchester police officer Michael Briggs.  If Addison is convicted, it will be interesting to see what the jury will decide … a failure to vote for death would add to the argument that the death penalty in New Hampshire has little point, while a vote for death might raise eyebrows, given that today a white millionaire was spared execution.