Saturday, November 15, 2008

More On The Verdict

Since Thursday, when the verdict on Michael Addison came down, I've taken some time to process it. While I think I'm pretty clear on my views on the whole matter, there are considerations that come into play with any situation like this. I do believe that the jury will have an awful lot to think about in determining whether or not he gets the death penalty.

My own view on this has been pretty clear: I believe what he did warrants a death sentence. In saying this I know I am making a strong statement, but I've thought about it a lot and my view really hasn't changed. However, regardless of my feeling on this, it is not up to me. And, that said, will it really make a difference? I'm not certain it will. After all, it has been two years. And Michael Briggs is still, unfortunately, dead. Executing Michael Addison will not bring him back to his family, his friends, or the people of Manchester that he served.

But what would a sentence of life without parole do? What I suspect would happen, if he gets life, is that he will become an icon within the population of the New Hampshire State Prison. The inmates will look at him as a hero - after all, he's a cop killer, and cons love cop killers. Would he ultimately end up in the general prison population or would he spend that life sentence in the SHU? As of now, nobody knows the answer to that question.

The other thing that many, many people who are familiar with this case hold the view that we as taxpayers should not be shouldered with the burden of having to pay for his stay. I can't disagree with that. However, in the case of John Brooks, also found guilty of capital murder recently, he was given a life-without-parole sentence. A sentence I personally disagree with; after all, he plotted to kill a man he believed stole from him - a charge that was never proven. By killing him, he stole him from his family.

A couple of other issues with this that I'm having trouble with. First, John Brooks is a man of considerable means. He was a successful businessman before his crime, he has money, and he has influence, something he used to his advantage while he was being held before and during his trial. And we will be paying for his imprisonment.

Michael Addison is from Dorchester. He is from a poor family, his father ran out on him when he was a child, and his mother is a known crack addict. He was raised by his grandmother, but even with her influence on him (which was reported to be quite positive), he still wound up in the 'hood. He has a considerable criminal record prior to the murder of Officer Briggs. In fact, he and his buddy, Antoine "Twizz" Bell-Rogers, were being sought as suspects to a string of armed robberies and a shooting at a Manchester apartment complex. And we have been paying for his imprisonment.

The question begs to be asked: is it right? Why should one man convicted of capital murder be allowed to live the rest of his life in prison while another is potentially going to be given the needle? Shouldn't both be afforded equal punishment for the crimes they were convicted of?

I wish I knew the answers to these questions. And I hope the jury is able to make the right choices with what they are faced with.

1 comment:

Ellie said...

I don't envy the jury on this one. It is a classic moral and social question. I wouldn't be terribly sad if they shot him in the head, but is it really for me (or us) to decide? 'An eye for and eye makes the whole world blind.' Such tricky questions you present in this entry.