EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


January 1, 2014

Letter: New Hampshire should abolish the death penalty

To the editor:

I would urge New Hampshire lawmakers to repeal the death penalty this year. My arguments are practical, and not religious. I respect those who would say Adolf Eichmann deserved death for helping carry out the worst genocide in history.

But capital punishment is a failed American and New Hampshire policy. New evidence has saved more than 130 innocent people from execution since 1973. They were convicted by mistaken eyewitnesses, by forced confessions, by shoddy forensics and by bad defense lawyering.

The death penalty will always be racist, costly, inconsistent and flawed. Whites avoid execution for killing blacks. Blacks charged with killing whites face a presumption of guilt at trial. Rich defendants fare much better than poor ones.

While convicted murderer Michael Addison awaits death, the cost to defend and prosecute him has passed $5 million, with many years of additional state and federal appeals still coming. That money could better pay for programs to help parolees succeed.

As a prison volunteer and criminal justice reformer, I’ve seen bad people change for the very much better, even murderers, even men like Addison.

Chris Dornin

Concord, N.H.

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