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Keep the death penalty: Sustain Gov. Sununu’s veto

September 11. 2018 10:33PM

Some crimes are so heinous, so destructive to the fabric of civil society, that the only just punishment is death.

New Hampshire’s capital murder statute is narrowly drawn to apply to only the most vile crimes, such as the murder of a police officer or judge, murder for hire, and murders committed during the commission of a rape, robbery, or home invasion.

The lone occupant of New Hampshire’s death row shot a police officer to avoid arrest. Without the death penalty on the books, violent criminals who see the police closing in would have every incentive to shoot their way out.

Senate Bill 593 would abolish the death penalty in New Hampshire entirely. It passed the Senate and the House, but not by margins large enough to overcome Gov. Chris Sununu’s veto.

In his veto message on SB 593, Sununu wrote:

“Abolishing the death penalty in New Hampshire would send the wrong message to those who commit the most heinous offenses within our state’s borders, namely that New Hampshire is a place where a person who commits an unthinkable crime is guaranteed leniency.”

New Hampshire has only invoked the death penalty once since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976. It remains a rare but appropriate punishment, reserved only for criminals who have demonstrated a wanton disrespect for the lives of others.

We urge legislators to sustain Sununu’s veto of SB 593, and keep the death penalty on the books.


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