The New Hampshire Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling yesterday upholding the death sentence imposed on Michael Addison for the two thousand six murder of Manchester Police Officer Michael Briggs. Addision’s defense argued that the imposition of the death sentence was a punishment that did not fit the crime. They prevailed on the court saying that mitigating factors were not considered in sentencing and that the imposition of the death penalty in similar cases around the country was rare. Passion, prejudice and other arbitrary factors led to Addison’s death sentence, not the reasoned application of law and precedent, they argued.
Not so, said the court. Reading from the decision quote: “…our function is to identify an aberrant death sentence, not to search for proof that a defendant’s sentence is perfectly symmetrical with the penalty imposed in all other similar cases. Our review of the cases does not support a finding that the death penalty is only rarely imposed for the murder of a law enforcement officer acting in the line of duty. Rather, the cases reveal “a pattern of jury verdicts” imposing death in similar cases. We hold that the death sentence imposed upon the defendant in this case is not “excessive or disproportionate to the penalty imposed in similar cases, considering both the crime and the defendant”. Accordingly, the defendant’s sentence of death is affirmed.” End quote.
We’ve published the court’s opinion at Girard at Large dot com and linked to it from this newscast. Assistant Manchester Police Chief Nick Willard will be in studio this morning to discuss the ruling.
The New Hampshire Supreme Court also affirmed a trial court decision finding Edward Bacon, a Michigan man who acted negligently while hiking the Franconia Ridge Trail in the White Mountains, liable for the cost of his rescue by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. New Hampshire law requires a hiker to pay for the cost of a rescue if the hiker’s negligence caused the need for the rescue. Mr. Bacon had undergone multiple hip surgeries, had an artificial hip that had dislocated five times including twice in the past year, had trained in a city park that was nowhere near as challenging as the terrain in the White Mountains, had chosen to hike in high winds and heavy rains that had been forecasted, and had chosen to attempt to jump over a rock ledge despite his past hip dislocations. The resulting rescue, in dangerous weather conditions, required 15 Fish and Game officers and 35 volunteer rescuers, and took more than 14 hours to complete, including throughout one night. The Supreme Court upheld the award of $9,186.38 in costs to the Fish and Game Department for saving Bacon’s bacon.
News from our own backyard continues after this.
The New Hampshire Senate passed House Bill 662, which allows a property tax exemption for properties rented by a public charter school. The bill allows local legislative bodies to create a tax exemption for public charter schools who pay property taxes through their lease agreements. Charter school advocates had pushed for the bill arguing it put publicly funded charter schools on equal footing with traditional public schools and removed a formidable cost burden that either endangered the survival or prevented the formation of charter schools. Senate Education Committee Chairman John Reagan, Republican from Deerfield, said quote “it is important that we create a level playing field for all of the state’s public education institutions.”
Meanwhile, the Senate also approved a bill that would ban the use of tanning facilities by people under the age of eighteen. Currently, the state bans the use of tanning booths for those under the age of fourteen and requires parental consent for kids between ages of fourteen and eighteen. It passed on a voice vote and nobody issued any statement hailing the passage of the bill, which is now on its way to the governor’s desk. Not sure why nobody wants to take credit for the bill or its passage. It makes New Hampshire a state where a fourteen year old can have an abortion, not a tan. If the the governor does veto the bill, the law that remains unchanged means a fourteen year old needs a parents permission to get at tan, but that same fourteen year old can get an abortion without parental permission or notification.
That’s news from our own backyard, Girard at Large hour ___ is on deck!