Law Enforcement Press Conference Addresses Gov. Sununu

[Audio & Video links below]

This morning, former Law Enforcement and Corrections officials in New Hampshire spoke out in favor of repealing the death penalty during a press conference in the Legislative Office Building in Concord.  Those speaking were: Representative Richard O’Leary, 33-year veteran of the Manchester Police Department; Bill McGonagle, former Assistant Commissioner for the NH Department of Corrections; and Paul Lutz, former Lieutenant with the Derry Police Department.  (Click on their names above to read their individual comments, or click here for all comments, including by those who were not present: Law-Corrections Presser Statements (PDF).)

The speakers directed their comments to Gov. Chris Sununu, who has vowed to veto the death penalty repeal bill. Sununu has cited his support for law enforcement as reason for his opposition, but has resisted meeting directly with any members of our group.

The primary arguments heard today were pithy and powerful. Boiled down, these were: 1) there is no evidence for its deterrent effect and so it does not protect law enforcement; 2) life in prison without parole is a harsh punishment and is all that is necessary; 3) the death penalty is costly – over $5.5 million spent on a single death row inmate to date – and that money could be better used both to support law enforcement and enhance public safety in a number of ways.

We had fairly good coverage by the press:

  • WMUR (1:45 video — also picked up by MSN News)
  • Union Leader – not very comprehensive, and wrongly attributed a live statement by John Breckinridge (he did write a statement, but was not on hand)
  • Associated Press (via NY Times, and picked up in various other places, such as Concord Monitor, US News and World Report, Seacoastonline, among others)
  • NHPR

Audio of the full press conference (about 26 minutes) can be heard here:

Watch the full video here:

(All photos courtesy of Arnie Alpert and Jeanne Hruska).


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