87 A.3d 1 (N.H. 2013), 2008-945, State v. Addison

Docket Nº:2008-945
Citation:87 A.3d 1, 165 N.H. 381
Opinion Judge:Per Curiam.
Party Name:The State of New Hampshire v. Michael Addison (Capital Murder)
Attorney:Michael A. Delaney, attorney general (Peter Hinckley, assistant attorney general, Janice K. Rundles, senior assistant attorney general, and Thomas E. Bocian, assistant attorney general, on the brief, and Elizabeth C. Woodcock, assistant attorney general, Mr. Hinckley, and Ms. Rundles orally), for...
Judge Panel:DALIANIS, C.J., and HICKS, CONBOY, LYNN and BASSETT, JJ., concurred. Dalianis, C.J., and Hicks, Conboy, Lynn and Bassett, JJ., concurred.
Case Date:November 06, 2013
Court:Supreme Court of New Hampshire
 
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87 A.3d 1 (N.H. 2013)

165 N.H. 381

The State of New Hampshire

v.

Michael Addison (Capital Murder)

No. 2008-945

Supreme Court of New Hampshire

November 6, 2013

Argued November 14, 2012.

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Hillsborough-northern judicial district.

Michael A. Delaney, attorney general (Peter Hinckley, assistant attorney general, Janice K. Rundles, senior assistant attorney general, and Thomas E. Bocian, assistant attorney general, on the brief, and Elizabeth C. Woodcock, assistant attorney general, Mr. Hinckley, and Ms. Rundles orally), for the State.

David M. Rothstein, deputy chief appellate defender, Christopher M. Johnson, chief appellate defender, Richard C. Guerriero, New Hampshire public defender, and Heather S. Ward, New Hampshire public defender, of Concord, on the brief, and Mr. Rothstein orally, for the defendant.

DALIANIS, C.J., and HICKS, CONBOY, LYNN and BASSETT, JJ., concurred.

OPINION

Per Curiam.

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[165 N.H. 409] TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. THE CAPITAL MURDER................................ 412
II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY................................ 415
III. PROCEDURE IN CAPITAL MURDER....................... 417
[165 N.H. 410] IV. APPELLATE STANDARDS OF REVIEW................ 418
V. VENUE AND JURY SELECTION REVIEW............. 419
A. VENUE 421
B. PEREMPTORY CHALLENGES 440
C. CHALLENGES FOR CAUSE 444
VI. GUILT PHASE REVIEW........................... 453
A. RULE 404(B) PRIOR CRIMES EVIDENCE 458
B. REASONABLE DOUBT INSTRUCTION 475
VII. SENTENCING PHASE REVIEW.......... 480
A. ELIGIBILITY PHASE TRIAL 488
Page 35 1. ADDISON'S STATEMENT 489
B. SENTENCE SELECTION PHASE TRIAL 499
1. VICTIM IMPACT EVIDENCE 501
2. CONDITIONS OF CONFINEMENT AND MODE OF EXECUTION 514
3. PRIOR CRIMES 527
4. CLOSING ARGUMENT 545
VIII. CONSTITUTIONAL AND STATUTORY REVIEW....... 563
A. DEATH PENALTY CHALLENGE UNDER STATE CONSTITUTION 564
B. STATUTORY AGGRAVATING FACTORS (NARROWING FUNCTION) 576
C. STATUTORY BURDENS OF PROOF 586
D. INAPPLICABILITY OF RULES OF EVIDENCE 597
E. IMPACT OF RACE IN CAPITAL SENTENCING 602
F. DEATH-QUALIFIED JURY 619
G. NON-STATUTORY AGGRAVATING FACTORS (SEPARATION OF POWERS; GRAND JURY INDICTMENT; DUPLICATIVE FACTORS) 627
H. POST-VERDICT REQUEST FOR DISCOVERY 642
IX. MANDATORY SUPREME COURT REVIEW............ 654
A. PASSION, PREJUDICE OR OTHER ARBITRARY FACTOR. 654
[165 N.H. 411] B. EVIDENCE OF AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCES 656
X. APPENDIX
A. SPECIAL FINDINGS FORM 658
B. SPECIAL VERDICT FORM 663

The defendant, Michael Addison, was convicted in Superior Court ( McGuire, J.) of the capital murder of Manchester Police Officer Michael Briggs and sentenced to death. This is the first death sentence imposed in New Hampshire since the enactment of the current statutory scheme in 1977. See Laws 1977, 440:2. The defendant appeals his conviction and his sentence. S.Ct. R. 7. The capital sentencing statute also requires independent review by this court when a defendant has been sentenced to death. RSA 630:5, X-XII (2007). On appeal, the defendant contends that numerous errors undermine his conviction and sentence. This opinion addresses each of the twenty-two issues briefed by the defendant. Regarding his capital murder trial, the defendant's claims of error relate to venue, peremptory challenges and challenges for cause to prospective jurors, prior crimes evidence under New Hampshire Rule of Evidence 404(b), and the jury instruction on reasonable doubt. Regarding sentencing, the defendant's claims of error relate to his custodial statement, victim impact evidence, evidence of conditions of confinement, evidence of and jury instruction on mode of execution, prior crimes evidence, and closing argument. He also raises several constitutional and statutory issues that relate to the constitutionality of the capital punishment statute, the narrowing function of the statutory aggravating factors, the statutory burdens of proof, the inapplicability of the rules of evidence, the impact of race in capital sentencing, the process of " death qualifying" the jury, the non-statutory aggravating factors' compliance with certain constitutional requirements, and his post-verdict request for discovery. Page 36 In addition, we are statutorily required to address: (1) whether the sentence of death was imposed under the influence of passion, prejudice or any other arbitrary factor; (2) whether the evidence supports the jury's finding of an aggravating circumstance, as authorized by law; and (3) whether the sentence of death is excessive or disproportionate to the penalty imposed in similar cases, considering both the crime and the defendant. RSA 630:5, XI. Only the first two statutory questions are before us at this stage of the proceeding; we will address the third question after further briefing and oral argument. [165 N.H. 412] With respect to the issues raised by the defendant on appeal, we find no reversible error. Accordingly, we affirm the defendant's conviction for capital murder. Furthermore, we conclude that the sentence of death was not imposed under the influence of passion, prejudice or any other arbitrary factor, and that the evidence was sufficient to support the jury's findings of aggravating circumstances. We note that our review of the defendant's sentence is not yet complete. Only after additional briefing and oral argument on comparative proportionality under RSA 630:5, XI(c) will we conclude our review of the defendant's sentence of death, at which time we will issue a further opinion. I. THE CAPITAL MURDER The following facts are based upon the evidence adduced at the guilt phase of the trial and upon the jury's findings and verdict. On October 16, 2006, the defendant shot Officer Briggs in the head in order to evade apprehension by the police. The shooting occurred at approximately 2:45 a.m. in Litchfield Lane, an alley in Manchester. The defendant fled the crime scene, but the police located him later that day at his grandmother's home in Massachusetts and took him into custody. Officer Briggs died the following day. During the week before the shooting, the defendant committed several violent crimes in the area. On October 10, he and Antoine Bell-Rogers robbed the El Mexicano Restaurant in Manchester. The defendant, a convicted felon, was armed with a knife, and Bell-Rogers fired his semiautomatic handgun twice during the robbery. After the men fled the scene, Manchester police officers recovered two empty shell casings from the floor and a bullet lodged in the ceiling. The following morning, the defendant and Bell-Rogers robbed at gunpoint the clerk of a 7-Eleven convenience store in Hudson. As the defendant brandished the same weapon that had been used in the restaurant robbery, Bell-Rogers took the cash drawer, and the men fled. A store surveillance camera recorded the robbery. In the early morning of October 15, the defendant and Bell-Rogers drove to an apartment complex on Edward J. Roy Drive in Manchester. They approached the building, at which Bell-Rogers fired several rounds, and the two men fled. Manchester police recovered shell casings, bullet fragments in a parked car, and a bullet lodged in the bedroom wall of an apartment. The police later found a bullet lodged in the living room floor of another apartment. Prior to the shooting of Officer Briggs, the defendant knew that the police were searching for him, and throughout the...

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