NH House Defeats Death Penalty Expansion Bill

(Concord NH) The New Hampshire House of Representatives tonight soundly agreed, without debate​ ​and with an overwhelming voice vote, to accept the House Criminal Justice Committee’s recommendation to reject HB 1552. HB 1552 proposed to expand the death penalty to include terrorists and those murdered in the exercise of their civil liberties. Here is the barely-30-second video record​ ​(from the House’s livestream feed)​:

Full House 1552 VidCap

“We are very pleased with the House’s loud rejection today of HB 1552. House members agreed that this bill is totally unnecessary since federal law clearly gives jurisdiction for prosecuting acts of terrorism to the federal government,” said Barbara Keshen, former prosecutor for the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office and current chair of the New Hampshire Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

“The bill is also overly broad and could potentially turn any murder case into a capital murder case,” added Keshen. “It would have made NH’s death penalty statute one the most far-reaching in the country.”

“Like other terrorism trials around the country, prosecuting each case under this bill would have cost the state tens of millions of dollars,” said Rep. Robert Cushing. “As terrible as murder is, killing the killer rarely brings healing and it fails to do the one thing victim families want: to have their loved ones back again,” Cushing added.

Many thanks to all those who reached out to their Reps to ​urge them to ​defeat the bill. They heard you loud and clear! Though we have not yet passed repeal, it’s clear that most folks agree that NH can live without the death penalty.

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