Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Victims' Families Testify in New Hampshire

Two MVFHR members testified before New Hampshire's Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday in support of a bill that would create a death penalty study commission in that state (the bill has already passed in the House). Carol Stamatakis, a former State Representative from Lempster, New Hampshire, whose father was murdered 11 years ago in Ohio in a crime that is still unsolved, spoke about her family's experience with the criminal justice system, the rising number of unsolved murder cases, and the need for the commission and the legislature to understand the reality of victims' families' experience and to look at which resources are given priority.

Renny Cushing, Executive Director of MVFHR and also a former New Hampshire State Representative, whose father was murdered in New Hampshire in 1988, told the committee about the work he had done as a lawmaker on behalf of victims' compensation and victims' advocacy legislation, and he urged the committee to examine the death penalty in the context of victims' families' full range of needs in the aftermath of a homicide. He also stressed the need for the study commission to include victims who both support and oppose the death penalty.

Others who testified in favor of the study commission yesterday included the Roman Catholic Bishop John McCormick and former Superior Court Chief Justice Walter Murphy.

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