NH Council of Churches - Policy Alert: Extreme Death Penalty Expansion Vote January 4 2011

HB 162 a bill "relative to capital murder for purposely causing the death of another," will come up for a vote in the New Hampshire House of Representatives on January 4, 2012. If the bill is passed by the House, it will proceed to the Senate, which will assign it to a committee and schedule a public hearing later in the year.


Adoption of this bill will lead to a dramatic expansion in the use of the death penalty in New Hampshire.


Action Needed by January 4: Contact your State Representatives to urge them to vote "NO" on HB 162.



The bill is sponsored by Rep. Phil Greazzo (R-Manchester). It was considered at a Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee public hearing on February 1, 2011. It followed a hearing on another bill (HB 147 - expanding the death penalty to include homicides committed in the course of "home invasions"), which received far more attention and was signed into law earlier this year. HB 162 was "retained" in the committee for further study instead of being acted upon during the regular session.

The subcommittee that considered the bill in September recommended it be defeated. But when the full committee took it up, they voted 11 to 6 to recommend its passage.


What This Bill Would Do


Under current law, only specific categories of homicide can be prosecuted as capital murder. A guilty verdict for a crime committed from one of these categories can result in a sentence of execution by the state. The current law is narrow in scope and its use is relatively rare. The intent of HB 162 is to make the death penalty applicable to anyone who commits "purposeful" murder.

According to the NH Department of Justice, eight murders in 2008, ten murders in 2009, and five murders in 2010 would have likely been charged as capital murders had this law been in effect. 

New Hampshire currently has one person in prison with a death sentence. His case, still on appeal, has already cost NH taxpayers over $5 million, more than it would cost to jail him for 100 years.



Tell them:

* Passage of HB 162 will make NH's death penalty the most expansive in the US and cost NH taxpayers millions of dollars per year. At a time when funds for services such as education and health are being cut, the State cannot afford this measure.
* Expanding the death penalty will expand all its problems, including the conviction of innocent people, prosecutorial misconduct and discriminatory treatment.
* If you agree with Rep. Greazzo that the death penalty should apply to all homicides or to none, then join us in calling for its total repeal.  


Click here to find out how to contact your State Representatives.


Now is not the time to expand 

the Death Penalty.

NH can't afford it.


For more information on the death penalty go to The NH Coalition to End the Death Penalty's website at www.nodeathpenalty.org