Death row exoneree Sabrina Butler-Smith was in Hanover, New Hampshire on January 15th to advocate for death penalty abolition at the NH Kickoff Campaign.
The event was hosted by the New Hampshire Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty in conjunction with the ACLU of New Hampshire. Sabrina was a featured speaker at the event along with esteemed author Jodi Picoult.
John-Michael Dumais, Executive Director of New Hampshire Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, stated: "Sabrina came to New Hampshire and once again helped to reveal the deeply personal and often horrifying reality behind the often faceless death penalty system in our country. There were several instances noted where her story impacted legislators in a way that is favorable to our goals."
NH Coalition board member and former state senator Amanda Merrill said of Sabrina's participation in the Legislative Breakfast: "I really enjoyed talking a little with Sabrina and thought her remarks were wonderfully straightforward." NH state Senator Martha Hennessey, one of the sponsors of the event, stated that "people were truly moved."
Sabrina spoke about her time on death row along with some of the fatal flaws of the death penalty system. "It's racially motivated. That's a fact. And you give some people murder charges and you give them the death penalty, and others don't have it. That just doesn't make any sense to me, so I just think we need to change what we're doing and try a new route," Sabrina noted.
Her advocacy work is part of a larger effort to pass abolition in New Hampshire. Last year, state legislators voted to repeal the death penalty but the action failed due to a gubernatorial veto. Currently, New Hampshire is the only state in New England that allows the death penalty.
For news coverage of the event and Sabrina's advocacy work in New Hampshire, click on the links below:
State House Watch WNHN Radio Podcast (@ 35:30-minute mark)
The Attitude with Arnie Arnesen, WNHN Radio Podcast (@ 32:00-minute mark)