CONCORD, N.H. (CBS) — It is the first time the New Hampshire Supreme Court is taking up a death penalty case in decades.

In this historic hearing, the defense team is trying to throw out the death penalty sentence for Michael Addison, convicted in the 2006 death of Manchester police officer Michael Briggs.

Defense attorney David Rothstein said the death penalty is unconstitutional, and that mistakes were made at trial–such as there should have been a change in venue out of Manchester, and that testimony about details of an inmate’s privileges, like cable television and computers, if sentenced to life in prison, could have swayed the jurors in their decision to sentence Addison to death.

“I think the watershed event was not moving the trial,” Rothstein told the jurors.

Elizabeth Woodcock, assistant attorney general, told the justices they cannot act as the 13th juror, and can only be moved if they see “serious concerns.”

Outside court today, family members on both sides declined to comment.

Legal experts say it could take up to one year for the justices to make a decision.


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