Death penalty repeal bill fails in New Hampshire House

Death penalty repeal bill fails in New Hampshire House

[JURIST] The New Hampshire House of Representatives [official website] voted Tuesday to reject proposed legislation [HB 607 text] which would have effectively ended the death penalty [JURIST news archive] in the state. Had it passed, the proposed law would have set the maximum penalty for capital crimes at life in prison without parole. The debate was emotionally charged by the recent shooting of a police officer for which his assailant now faces execution. Opponents of the bill said overturning capital punishment so soon after the death of Officer Michael Briggs [memorial website] would be an insult to the state's police officers.

The New Hampshire legislature attempted to repeal the state's death penalty in 2000 and again in 2001, but the first attempt was vetoed by then-Governor Jeanne Shaheen [university profile] and the second try failed to pass the legislature. Current governor John Lynch [official website] has threatened to veto any legislation which would end executions in the state. Eleven US states have recently suspended the death penalty for reconsideration. Most recently, the Montana Senate voted [JURIST report] to repeal the practice. AP has more.