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N.H. death penalty opponents laud Maryland repeal

New Hampshire death penalty opponents are lauding the Maryland legislature’s vote to repeal the death penalty and vow an intense campaign to abolish capital punishment here during the 2014 session.

Maryland’s House of Delegates passed the repeal legislation yesterday and its Senate voted in favor of repeal last week. Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has pledged to sign it into law.

New Hampshire Democratic Rep. Renny Cushing of Hampton – whose father was murdered – said he and Manchester Republican Rep. Steve Vaillancourt will sponsor legislation to abolish the death penalty next session.

New Hampshire’s only death-row inmate is Michael Addison, convicted of killing Manchester police Officer Michael Briggs in 2006.

The last execution in New Hampshire was in 1939.

Gov. Maggie Hassan has said she would support repeal.

“The death penalty doesn’t work for crime victims, doesn’t work from a fiscal perspective, and doesn’t help public safety,” said Cushing, who is also the founder of Murder Victims Families for Human Rights. “Like Maryland, New Hampshire can live without the death penalty.”

New Hampshire lawmakers approved a bill to abolish the death penalty in 2000. It cleared the House by a vote of 191-163 and the Senate by 14-10, only to have it vetoed by then-Gov. Jeanne Shaheen.

Connecticut, Illinois, New Mexico, New York and New Jersey have repealed their death penalties in the past six years.

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