Addison’s fate: Find justice, not comparisons
Read it here. Full text below, as nothing lives forever on the Union Leader website:
On Thursday, a jury convicted Michael Addison of capital murder for the slaying two years ago of Manchester Police Officer Michael Briggs. Now comes the hard part. What punishment does he receive?
Justice demands one answer: death.
Addison killed not in haste, but with cold premeditation. A fugitive felon on a crime spree, Addison knew that apprehension would change his life forever. It would mean years and years behind bars. With the decision to kill any police officer who found him, he vowed that would never happen. Jurors in his sentencing trial should make sure it does not.
On its merits, this is not a difficult call. Addison followed through on a plan to murder a police officer. If that is not justification for capital punishment, nothing is.
But this decision is complicated by an outside factor. Shortly before Addison was found guilty of capital murder, Jay Brooks, convicted on Oct. 16 of two counts of capital murder, was sentenced to life in prison. Brooks is white, Addison black.
Already commentators are saying that Addison must not receive a death sentence. It would give the appearance that New Hampshire juries are racist, some say. In light of the Brooks verdict, it would be unjustifiable, others argue.
Those arguments are unsound. What was unjustifiable was the jury’s decision to give Brooks life.
The question is whether that injustice is reason to commit a second. It is not.
The Addison jury must weigh nothing but the factors directly relevant to his case. The Brooks verdict is not among them.
Addison intentionally murdered a police officer.
Relaxing his punishment because of his skin color or because a separate jury failed to do its duty in a separate case would be to commit a gross injustice. Michael Briggs’ family deserves better than that. The people of Manchester deserve better than that.