State v. Addison, No. 2008–945

CourtSupreme Court of New Hampshire
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM.
Citation165 N.H. 381,87 A.3d 1
Decision Date06 November 2013
Docket NumberNo. 2008–945
Parties The STATE of New Hampshire v. Michael ADDISON

165 N.H. 381
87 A.3d 1

The STATE of New Hampshire
v.
Michael ADDISON

No. 2008–945

Supreme Court of New Hampshire.

Argued: November 14, 2012
Opinion Issued: November 6, 2013
Rehearing Denied April 4, 2014.


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.

(CAPITAL MURDER)

PER CURIAM.

165 N.H. 409

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. THE CAPITAL MURDER... ––––

II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY... ––––

III. PROCEDURE IN CAPITAL MURDER... ––––

165 N.H. 410

IV. APPELLATE STANDARDS OF REVIEW... ––––

V. VENUE AND JURY SELECTION REVIEW... ––––

A. VENUE... ––––

B. PEREMPTORY CHALLENGES... ––––

C. CHALLENGES FOR CAUSE... ––––

VI. GUILT PHASE REVIEW... ––––

A. RULE 404(B) PRIOR CRIMES EVIDENCE... ––––

B. REASONABLE DOUBT INSTRUCTION... ––––

VII. SENTENCING PHASE REVIEW... ––––

A. ELIGIBILITY PHASE TRIAL... ––––
87 A.3d 35
1. ADDISON'S STATEMENT... ––––

B. SENTENCE SELECTION PHASE TRIAL... ––––

1. VICTIM IMPACT EVIDENCE... ––––

2. CONDITIONS OF CONFINEMENT AND MODE OF EXECUTION... ––––

3. PRIOR CRIMES... ––––

4. CLOSING ARGUMENT... ––––

VIII. CONSTITUTIONAL AND STATUTORY REVIEW... ––––

A. DEATH PENALTY CHALLENGE UNDER STATE CONSTITUTION... ––––

B. STATUTORY AGGRAVATING FACTORS (NARROWING FUNCTION)... ––––

C. STATUTORY BURDENS OF PROOF... ––––

D. INAPPLICABILITY OF RULES OF EVIDENCE... ––––

E. IMPACT OF RACE IN CAPITAL SENTENCING... ––––

F. DEATH–QUALIFIED JURY... ––––

G. NON–STATUTORY AGGRAVATING FACTORS (SEPARATION OF POWERS; GRAND JURY INDICTMENT; DUPLICATIVE FACTORS)... ––––

H. POST–VERDICT REQUEST FOR DISCOVERY... ––––

IX. MANDATORY SUPREME COURT REVIEW... ––––

A. PASSION, PREJUDICE OR OTHER ARBITRARY FACTOR... ––––
165 N.H. 411
B. EVIDENCE OF AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCES.... 225

X. APPENDIX

A. SPECIAL FINDINGS FORM... ––––

B. SPECIAL VERDICT FORM... ––––

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. Sup.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.

87 A.3d 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 week he told friends that

165 N.H. 413

if the police approached him he would shoot. On the day of the Roy Drive shooting, Manchester police interviewed several people associated with the defendant and Bell–Rogers. A friend warned the men that the police were nearby looking for them; the defendant and Bell–Rogers responded by declaring that they were "out for blood."

87 A.3d 37

That afternoon, the men brought the car that they had used in two of the previous crimes to a friend so that he could "wipe it out," and they made plans to leave the state.

That evening, Officer Briggs and his partner, Officer John Breckinridge, reported to the Manchester Police Department for the 6:30 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. shift. Their shift began with a roll call and briefing during which they learned that the defendant and Bell–Rogers were wanted in connection with a shooting. The officers received physical descriptions and photographs of the defendant and Bell–Rogers, as well as information about the people, places, and vehicles associated with them. A detective told the officers that the defendant and Bell–Rogers likely were armed and dangerous and that, if apprehended, they should be held for questioning. Officer Briggs was familiar with the defendant as a result of a prior encounter with him.

Officers Briggs and Breckinridge were assigned to bicycle patrol on the east side of Manchester. They were in uniform and wearing bicycle helmets marked "Police." Numerous officers in patrol vehicles were canvassing the area, searching...

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23 practice notes
  • State v. Komisarjevsky, SC 18973
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • April 12, 2021
    ...some knowledge of the facts of an important and tragic incident like this one.'' (Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Addison, 165 N.H. 381, 431, 87 A.3d 1 (2013); see State v. Gribble, supra, 165 N.H. 20 (describing difficulty of estimating exposure to pretrial publicity given publ......
  • State v. Stillwell, No. 2017-0361
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of New Hampshire
    • September 18, 2019
    ...N.H. 226, 233, 855 A.2d 549 (2004). "[W]e consider the challenged remarks in the context of the case." State v. Addison (Capital Murder), 165 N.H. 381, 548, 87 A.3d 1 (2013) ; see also United States v. Robinson, 485 U.S. 25, 33, 108 S.Ct. 864, 99 L.Ed.2d 23 (1988) (stating "prosecutorial co......
  • State v. Mack, No. 2019-0171
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of New Hampshire
    • December 22, 2020
    ...may gather their intention from the language used, viewed in light of the surrounding circumstances." State v. Addison (Capital Murder), 165 N.H. 381, 565-66, 87 A.3d 1 (2013) (quotation omitted). "The language used by the 249 A.3d 432 people in the great paramount law which controls the le......
  • Dunlap v. State, No. 41105.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • November 2, 2015
    ...trial judge's assessment as to which statements and assertions best demonstrate the juror's actual conceptions. New Hampshire v. Addison, 165 N.H. 381, 87 A.3d 1, 64 (2013) (citing Patton v. Yount, 467 U.S. 1025, 1038–40, 104 S.Ct. 2885, 2892–94, 81 L.Ed.2d 847, 857–860 (1984)).We now addre......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
23 cases
  • State v. Komisarjevsky, SC 18973
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • April 12, 2021
    ...some knowledge of the facts of an important and tragic incident like this one.'' (Internal quotation marks omitted.) State v. Addison, 165 N.H. 381, 431, 87 A.3d 1 (2013); see State v. Gribble, supra, 165 N.H. 20 (describing difficulty of estimating exposure to pretrial publicity given publ......
  • State v. Stillwell, No. 2017-0361
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of New Hampshire
    • September 18, 2019
    ...N.H. 226, 233, 855 A.2d 549 (2004). "[W]e consider the challenged remarks in the context of the case." State v. Addison (Capital Murder), 165 N.H. 381, 548, 87 A.3d 1 (2013) ; see also United States v. Robinson, 485 U.S. 25, 33, 108 S.Ct. 864, 99 L.Ed.2d 23 (1988) (stating "prosecutorial co......
  • State v. Mack, No. 2019-0171
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of New Hampshire
    • December 22, 2020
    ...may gather their intention from the language used, viewed in light of the surrounding circumstances." State v. Addison (Capital Murder), 165 N.H. 381, 565-66, 87 A.3d 1 (2013) (quotation omitted). "The language used by the 249 A.3d 432 people in the great paramount law which controls the le......
  • Dunlap v. State, No. 41105.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Idaho
    • November 2, 2015
    ...trial judge's assessment as to which statements and assertions best demonstrate the juror's actual conceptions. New Hampshire v. Addison, 165 N.H. 381, 87 A.3d 1, 64 (2013) (citing Patton v. Yount, 467 U.S. 1025, 1038–40, 104 S.Ct. 2885, 2892–94, 81 L.Ed.2d 847, 857–860 (1984)).We now addre......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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