« Citing much research and data, Judge Posner rails against "the problem of the elderly prisoner" | Main | Fascinating account of how "how neoliberalism lies at the root of the carceral state" »

June 14, 2015

"Will Nebraska’s Death Penalty Come Back?"

The title of this post is the headline of this new New York Times editorial. The substance of the editorial makes clear that the NYTimes' answer to the question is "We sure hope not!". Here are excerpts:

In a sensible, humane move last month, Nebraska lawmakers abolished the state’s death penalty by a 30­to­19 vote that crossed party lines and overrode a veto by Gov. Pete Ricketts. These lawmakers aren’t renegades; an April poll by the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska found that 58 percent of Nebraskans supported alternatives to the death penalty, like life without parole.

Now comes the counterattack. A new group called Nebraskans for the Death Penalty has started a petition drive, supported by Mr. Ricketts, to put the issue directly before voters in 2016. Last week, they got the support of the Nebraska Sheriffs’ Association, which claimed, as Mr. Ricketts has, that public safety depends on the state’s ability to kill certain inmates.

To put the proposed referendum on the ballot, death penalty supporters have about three months to get signatures from 5 percent of registered voters, or about 58,000 Nebraskans. If they can get 10 percent, state law will put the ban on hold until the voters have a chance to weigh in. Whether the effort succeeds will depend in large part on how much money death penalty supporters can muster; paying people to go door to door asking tens of thousands of voters for their signatures doesn’t come cheap. In addition to supporting the referendum, Mr. Ricketts is insisting that he still has the legal authority to execute the 10 people remaining on Nebraska’s death row, on the grounds that the Legislature cannot alter an existing sentence. Lawmakers, however, say they have eliminated all executions. Whatever the courts may decide on this question, it remains unclear whether the state even has the means to carry out these killings....

[T]he votes of the Nebraska Legislature show that when lawmakers across the political spectrum can have an open, honest and informed debate on the issue, capital punishment is quickly exposed for the immoral, ineffective, arbitrary and costly practice that it is.

Prior related posts:

June 14, 2015 at 09:49 AM | Permalink


Repeatedly, I have said, the interest of the criminal cult enterprise that is the lawyer profession trumps everything in the life of the lawyer, beliefs, family, even personal self interest. If self interest were to ever be pursued by the lawyer, the hierarchy would be targeted for assassination by the lawyer itself.

Filthy lawyer traitors from both sides of the aisle, eff u'ed the governor, the population, their own constituents to pass this bill to protect, to privilege, and to coddle the murderer.

All the internal traitors should be voted out.

Posted by: Supreamcy Claus | Jun 14, 2015 11:15:54 PM

Sc posts have become more nonsensical and predictable by the day, it's more a partisan issue, not a lawyer one, because just as the terminally ill fight for the right to die, so many folks would rather die and be in a coma then live through a rotting hell in a prison, LWOP sentences just become ignored in litigation.

It's also a religious one as the catholics don't like the death penalty

Posted by: Alex | Jun 15, 2015 4:01:10 AM

Depends on the Catholic (cf. Scalia and Brennan)

Posted by: Joe | Jun 15, 2015 10:46:10 AM

Alex is correct. I have to retract the above comment. I counted 8 lawyers among 39 Senators. It is unknown if the lawyers on the staffs told the rest how to vote. A bank robber killed 5 people. He will be protected. Victims will not.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jun 16, 2015 3:22:27 AM

Given that as far as I am aware Nebraska did not actually carry out executions I don't see that the question has much relevance.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Jun 16, 2015 7:32:08 PM

Nebraska carried out executions; the last three in the 1990s. There are 10 (Wikipedia) people are death row & the governor thinks they still show be liable to be executed.

Posted by: Joe | Jun 17, 2015 11:03:06 AM

Okay, I had been thinking the last Nebraska execution was in the 50s. Although even the 90s tends to show strong disinterest to my mind.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Jun 17, 2015 12:00:11 PM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB