Thursday, May 28, 2015

You gotta kill somebody

Yesterday, Nebraska had the death penalty. Today, it doesn't.

Be that is it may, the execution executive branch of state government isn't taking the unicameral's override of Gov. Pete Rickett's veto of legislation abolishing the death penalty lying down. On the question of making murderers dead -- despite Nebraska not executing anyone since 1997 and its problems obtaining the proper drugs for lethal injection -- Attorney General Doug Peterson's attitude can only be described as "never say die."

Because he wants to kill. Kill! KILL! KILLLLLLL!
Doug Peterson
One day after state lawmakers repealed the death penalty, Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson is questioning a portion of a repeal law dealing with the fate of the 10 men currently on death row.

But State Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha, the sponsor of the repeal law, said Thursday that the attorney general doesn’t have a case.

"There’s no legal issue here," Chambers said.

Peterson, in a press release, said its office, "at the appropriate time," will seek a court decision to resolve the state’s ability to execute those currently on death row.

He pointed to language in Legislative Bill 268 that states: "It is the intent of the Legislature that in any criminal proceeding in which the death penalty has been imposed but not carried out prior to the effective date of this act, such penalty shall be changed to life imprisonment."

"We believe this stated intent is unconstitutional," Peterson said.

Only the State Pardons Board, under the state constitution, can change a criminal sentence, he said, the Legislature cannot do that.

Chambers, in an interview, said he knows that and reflected that in drafting the bill. He said he also made it clear during floor debate on LB 268 that while the Legislature’s "intent" was that death-row inmates get life sentences, the body has no power to do that.

"Courts have always said that intent language has no legal effect," the senator said. "We recognized that the bill would not change the (death) sentences."

However, Chambers added, LB 268 removes the state’s method for carrying out a death sentence.

Because of the new law, the 10 men on death row would continue to have death sentences, he said, but the state would have no way to execute them unless the Legislature enacted a new method of execution.

"And the Legislature is not going to authorize any method of execution," Chambers said.
NOW, BEING that Nebraskans deserve full disclosure from its elected officials, Peterson should immediately reveal whether he ever sat on the Group W bench and, if so, for how long.

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