Nebraska Officially Repeals Death Penalty

Lawmakers in Nebraska repealed the state’s death penalty Wednesday, overriding the governor’s veto, according to multiple news sources.

State Senators voted 30-19 to override Governor Pete Ricketts. Nebraska becomes the first traditionally conservative state to eliminate the death penalty since 1973, and 19th U.S. state (along with the District of Columbia) to ban capital punishment.

From the Omaha World Herald:

The measure replaces lethal injection with a maximum punishment of life in prison. It will take effect in 90 days, which would be late August or early September depending upon when the Legislature adjourns. The law could be blocked temporarily, however, if opponents gather signatures from 10 percent of registered voters in a referendum effort. Voters would then decide the fate of capital punishment. …

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Legal experts say the repeal erases the statutory means to carry out a death sentence in Nebraska, meaning the 10 men currently on death row will serve de facto life sentences.

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