Addison's appeal: Kudos to the Supreme Court
On Wednesday the New Hampshire Supreme Court spent all day hearing a single appeal. A devotion of that much time to one case is extraordinary. It also was entirely justified.
The appellant was Michael Addison, convicted murderer of Manchester Police Officer Michael Briggs, whom Addison shot in a dark Manchester alley in 2006. Addison is New Hampshire's only death row inmate. His attorneys have argued ever since his 2008 conviction that he did not receive a fair trial.
On Wednesday Addison's attorneys got to make their case to New Hampshire's highest court. To ensure that the defense would have ample time to make every point, and the state ample time to respond, the court reserved the entire day for the case. Without question that was the right call.
Addison's attorneys had 22 complaints, and they got to air each of them (half of them verbally, half in writing) before the court. The issues ranged from the silly - the trial was unfair because the courthouse sits so close to the police station - to the serious: questions about the wording of the state's death penalty statute and the types of evidence jurors were allowed to see.
The justices have to review thousands of pages of case materials before making a decision, which could take a year for them to reach. This is a huge amount of time for our state's top judges to spend on one case. And it is entirely warranted. A man's life hangs in the balance, after all. We are glad to see that the justices are going to such lengths to make sure they get this one right.