Nebraska legislators began discussion Monday on a bill introduced by Ernie Chambers (LB476) that would make Nebraska one of the 12 states that doesn’t have the death penalty. Chambers has tried to rid the state of the death penalty every legislative term for more than 30 years and now has a rare opportunity to do so. Senators are debating the issue for the first time in about 20 years.|
Three men have been executed in Nebraska since the Supreme Court ruled in 1976 that the death penalty is not a violation of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, which bans cruel and unusual punishment.
Nebraska is the only state with electrocution as its sole means of execution. That has aroused concern among death-penalty supporters that it might eventually be struck down by courts as an unusual punishment that violates the Eighth Amendment, and has led to calls that the state add lethal injection as a means of execution.
Should Nebraska have the death penalty?