Posted in civil liberties, death penalty with tags michael addison, new hampshire on January 17, 2009 by Jason Wells
Michael Addison’s defenders quickly questioned his capital murder sentence, given last month. They assert that the jury ignored the judge’s instructions for deliberation and based their decision not on fact but on emotional appeals to Addison’s perceived “lack of remorse.”
Read it here. Below is my “newspaper clipping,” as nothing lasts forever on the UL website:
By MARK HAYWARD
MANCHESTER – Defense lawyers yesterday asked a judge to call back the jury that sentenced Michael Addison to death, claiming jurors improperly based their verdict on Addison’s lack of remorse and his silence during the trial.
The lawyers quoted from media interviews with jurors, particularly foreman John Luongo, and said the basis for the death verdict violated instructions issued by trial judge Judge Kathleen A. McGuire.
In paperwork filed in Hillsborough County Superior Court yesterday, Addison’s three lawyers asked McGuire to reconvene the jury to”develop the record” in light of Luongo’s comments.
“It makes no sense to treat the jury’s deliberations like a ‘black box’ that can never be opened, even when a juror makes voluntary comments, shortly after the verdict, to an objective source, that reasonably raise questions about the process,” the lawyers wrote.”The first death verdict this State has seen in decades should not be haunted by such questions.”
On Jan. 22, Addison was sentenced to death for the shooting death of Manchester police Officer Michael Briggs in an alley two years earlier. It was the first death-penalty verdict in New Hampshire since 1959.
The state Supreme Court has launched a separate, automatic review of the trial and verdict. The motions filed yesterday will be first heard by McGuire and set the stage for appeals.
The Concord Monitor published Luongo’s comments the day after McGuire officially issued the verdict.
The newspaper directly quoted Luongo saying,”It’s hard to feel compassion for somebody who has no feelings.”
Luongo noted Addison’s criminal history and said:”And it was just confirmed when there was no sense of remorse, no emotion during the whole trial. Just cold, he was cold.”
Finally, the newspaper paraphrased the foreman who said the jury had trouble feeling sympathy for a defendant who never spoke and showed no emotion.
Defense lawyers noted that McGuire instructed the jury to ignore Addison’s silence during their deliberations. She instructed the jury to consider the lack of remorse in only one specific issue”" whether Addison would be a danger to others if sentenced to life in prison. The jury, in fact, found that prosecutors had not proved Addison’s future dangerousness.
Public defenders David Rothstein, Richard Guerriero and Caroline Smith raised other challenges to the verdict:
–Prosecutors did not prove that Addison killed Briggs on purpose. Nor did they prove his future dangerousness. Without those findings, retribution remains the only reason for the verdict, the lawyers wrote.
“The court should recognize that retribution is not a sufficient reason to start our state’s entire criminal justice system down the path of capital punishment,” the lawyers wrote.
–The court improperly scheduled trials on three Addison felonies before the Briggs trial.
Addison’s recent convictions for two robberies and a shooting were”improper and arbitrary factors” for the jury to hear, the lawyers said. The convictions allowed the state to argue that Addison would already serve a lifetime in prison, so a life sentence for the Briggs killing would be meaningless.
–The death penalty violates contemporary standards of decency. Lawyers had made that argument before. Since then New Jersey and the countries of Albania, Rwanda and Uzbekistan have abolished the death penalty, they said.
–Media articles and tapes. In efforts to challenge decisions of venue and jury selection, defense lawyers submitted more examples of media reporting. They included WMUR broadcasts of the verdict, New Hampshire Union Leader editorials, and The Union Leader’s designation of Attorney General Kelly Ayotte as person of the year,”based largely on her prosecution of Addison for capital murder.”