CONCORD, N.H., Nov. 14 (UPI) -- The New Hampshire Supreme Court Wednesday began hearing the appeal of a convicted murderer's trial and whether it was compromised by local opinion.
The first hour of arguments centered on whether the Manchester, N.H., community was excessively affected by the 2006 shooting of police officer Michael Briggs to provide a fair venue for the trial of Michael Addison, who was convicted in 2008 of first degree murder in Manchester and sentenced to death, the Concord, N.H., Monitor reported.
Defense attorney David Rothstein argued sentiment was high and media attention unprecedented after Briggs' death, noting Briggs' funeral, which included a procession through Manchester and a public memorial at a baseball stadium, was unlike anything experienced in the community.
State Assistant Attorney General Elizabeth Woodcock downplayed the attention and claimed it did not make a fair trial impossible, saying, "It's not that kind of heart-stopping event, even though it's a tragedy."
Speaking earlier in the day on New Hampshire Public Radio, University of New Hampshire law professor Buzz Scherr said, "The argument has been that the pretrial publicity was such that, of all the places literally in the world that you're running a risk Michael Addison wouldn't get a fair trial, it world be Hillsborough County, Manchester in particular."
The state Supreme Court is scheduled to hear additional arguments in the appeal Thursday.