In The News – Road to Repeal Press Conference

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Editorial: Portsmouth Herald supports repeal of N.H. death penalty: Portsmouth Herald, October 25, 2013

Excerpt:
We agree with Judge Walter Murphy, who served in 2009 as chairman of the Commission to Study the Death Penalty in New Hampshire.

“There is no assurance that the death penalty does what its advocates claim is its purpose; nor is there any reason to believe it is necessary for public safety,” Murphy wrote in the commission’s final report. “The alternative, that is, life without the possibility of parole, offers the same protection without the attendant risks of mistakes and without the vast expense both monetary and otherwise.”

Because the risk of error is too high, the cost is exorbitant, it doesn’t help victims heal and has not been proven a deterrent to crime, we support repeal of the death penalty in New Hampshire.

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Editorial: We support the repeal of death penalty in N.H.: Exeter News-Letter, October 25, 2013

Excerpt:
Cushing was joined in Concord by the Catholic and Episcopal bishops, law enforcement representatives and crime victim advocates. We join them in voicing our support of death penalty repeal.

In our view, the death penalty is simply not justice. While we understand and respect the arguments in favor of putting to death those convicted of the worst capital crimes, we’re convinced by the evidence that the damage capital punishment inflicts on society far outweighs the good.

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New Hampshire bishop supports state bill to repeal death penalty: Catholic News Service, The Pilot, November 1, 2013

Excerpt:
“But the death penalty neither deters others, nor brings this perpetrator to understanding, but instead, in the worst of ironies, publicly validates the very act of taking a human life. The death penalty does not help the criminal to understand the magnitude of what he or she has done; it reinforces, instead, the terrifying notion that there is, ultimately, no sacrilege in the taking of human life.

Catholic teachings, Bishop Libasci said, “recognize that the imposition of the death penalty signals neither a firm commitment to the sacredness of human life itself nor the desire for the betterment of society, but signals a collapse into defeat by a society that tries to make itself believe falsely that we can defend life by taking life.”

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On the Road to Repeal NH’s Death Penalty: Arnie Alpert, InZaneTimes, October 26, 2013

Excerpt:
Today the government of Iran executed 16 so-called “rebels” by hanging, reportedly in retaliation for the killing of 14 guards at the Pakistani border.  Barbaric, isn’t it? Hanging is still a permitted method of execution in the State of New Hampshire, too.  Sound barbaric?  Think all forms of state-sponsored execution are barbaric? If you said “yes,” then it’s time to join a growing campaign to wipe the death penalty off New Hampshire’s law books for good.

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Group renews push to repeal N.H. death penalty: Connie Eppich, Foster’s Daily Democrat, October 25, 2013

Excerpt:
Coalition board member and House Rep. Robert “Renny” Cushing, D-Hampton, led a news conference in Concord announcing the coalition’s renewed effort to pass a bill repealing the death penalty in New Hampshire. Cushing, whose father was murdered in 1988, said that support for the abolition of capital punishment is cutting across classic political divides.

Speaking on behalf of the bill were Roman Catholic Bishop Peter A. Libasci of the Manchester Diocese, Episcopal Bishop A. Robert Hirschfeld (Diocese of New Hampshire), retired Chief Justice of the New Hampshire Superior Court Walter L. Murphy, and Ray Dodge, retired police chief for the town of Marlborough.

Reasons given for abolishing the death penalty included sanctity of life, its high cost, lack of crime deterrence and the possibility of executing an innocent person.

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Rep. Cushing leads bid to end N.H. death penalty: Nick B. Reid, Seacoast Online, October 25, 2013

Excerpt:
A renewed movement was born in Concord to repeal capital punishment in the state, as a bipartisan group of lawmakers, law enforcement, religious leaders and judiciaries on Thursday spoke out against the death penalty.

State Rep. Renny Cushing, D-Hampton, is sponsoring a bill that would remove capital punishment from the books in New Hampshire. He said repeal has been inevitable, but we’re now in a “moment of history” in which he expects New Hampshire to be the seventh state in as many years to stop “ritual killings by public employees,” as Cushing refers to the death penalty.

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Father’s murder inspired legislator’s crusade: Nick B. Reid, Hampton Union, October 25, 2013

Excerpt:
Long before he served his first term in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, Cushing testified as an advocate for victims’ rights. He said most of his work after the murder went toward ensuring victims had rights to information and state assistance; at the time, he said, “everything was focused on the offender” with little help available for victims.

He said there was a “crime spree” in the 1990s that led then-Attorney General Philip McLaughlin to seek an expansion of the death penalty in 1998. It was at that time Cushing decided to introduce a bill alongside state Rep. Clifton Below to repeal the death penalty.

Cushing notes that there were more votes for repeal than expansion, and McLaughlin is now “urging” death penalty repeal.

“Times have changed,” he said.

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State Rep. Cushing: N.H. can live without capital punishment: Lynne Tuohy, Seacoast Online, October 25, 2013

Opponents to death penalty unite in Concord in attempt to repeal state law to execute murderers: Kevin Landrigan, Nashua Telegraph, October 25, 2013

N.H. group announces effort to repeal death penalty: Lynne Tuohy, Boston Globe, October 25, 2013

Death penalty foes gather to alter attitudes: Garry Rayno, Union Leader, October 24, 2013

Excerpt:
In 1834, Democratic Gov. William Badger was the first to ask the Legislature to abolish the death penalty, and the 2014 General Court will try again.

Lawmakers, religious leaders, law enforcement and judicial officials, and families of murder victims made their case Thursday to abolish the death penalty in an event to begin a campaign to abolish the death penalty in New Hampshire.

Rep. Robert “Renny” Cushing, D-Hampton, whose father was gunned down by an off-duty Hampton police officer, is the prime sponsor of a 2014 bill to abolish capital punishment.

“This is a remarkable effort that cuts across the classic political divide,” said Cushing at a press conference attended by well over 50 people, “to make sure New Hampshire lives without capital punishment.”

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NH Rep. Cushing: Dad’s murder didn’t change view on ending death penalty: Nick B. Reid, Seacoast Online, October 24, 2013

Excerpt:
He said there exists a “widespread societal assumption” that all family members of murder victims want the death penalty for the killer. But for him, even as his father opened his front door one day to be met with “two shotgun blasts that rang out and turned his chest into hamburger right in front of my mother,” he maintained his opposition to capital punishment.

If he hadn’t, he said, it wouldn’t have just been his father who was taken from him, but his values as well. He didn’t immediately become an activist — he said that he preferred not to talk about the incident — but his position imposed on him an obligation to speak out, “lest my silence on the issue be seen as me agreeing with the presumption (that I’d want the death penalty).”

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Anti-Death Penalty Group Launches Repeal Effort: Josh Rogers, New Hampshire Public Radio, October 24, 2013

Hampton Rep. Cushing to unveil bill to abolish N.H. death penalty: AP, Seacoast Online, October 24, 2013

Injustice of death penalty in N.H. is black and white: D. Arnie Arnesen, Seacoast Online, October 22, 2013

NH Group Announcing Effort To Repeal Death Penalty: New Hampshire Public Radio, October 21, 2013

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