|Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts: a death penalty obsession|
Because Nebraska lacks lethal injection drugs, the state remains unable to carry out an execution even though a voter petition drive has successfully postponed the recent repeal of the death penalty.
Gov. Pete Ricketts said Wednesday his administration continues to work with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to import the necessary drugs from India.
Until the drugs are obtained, the governor declined to speculate on whether an execution could take place before voters decide the future of capital punishment in November 2016.
"One step at a time. Right now we're still working with the DEA on bringing in the drugs," Ricketts said during a morning press conference at the State Capitol. "We'll take it one step at a time. We still have work to do there."
Officials with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have said Nebraska cannot import sodium thiopental, 1 of the 3 drugs called for in the state's lethal injection protocol. The state has paid $54,400 to an India drug broker for sodium thiopental and pancuronium bromide to replace expired supplies of the drugs.
Last week, Secretary of State John Gale said his office had verified the petition drive had collected more than 143,000 signatures from registered voters who wanted to see the death penalty question placed on the ballot. The total was more than enough to put the Legislature's repeal of capital punishment on hold until the vote takes place next year.
The Legislature repealed the death penalty over the governor's veto. Ricketts gave $200,000 of his own funds to the petition drive.
Death penalty opponents have sued to block the question from being listed on the general election ballot. They argue petition organizers failed to list Ricketts as one of the drive's sponsors, which is required under state law.
Ricketts contends he was not a sponsor, just a supporter of keeping Nebraska's death penalty.
Meanwhile, the death penalty issue in Nebraska continues to garner national attention. This week, a crew from "The Daily Show" was at the Capitol to shoot a segment on Nebraska's death penalty debate.
Source: omaha.com, October 21, 2015
- The Man In India Who Is Selling States Illegally Imported Execution Drugs, BuzzFeed, October 20, 2015
Nebraska Death Penalty Plagued by Wrongful Convictions, High Costs - NGO
The proposal to postpone the repeal of death penalty in Nebraska is irrational because the state's capital punishment program is flawed with wrongful convictions and high costs, US advocacy group Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty Advocacy Coordinator Marc Hyden told Sputnik.
"No matter how much money Governor Ricketts and his family spend on this referendum, it does not change the basic fact that they are trying to sell Nebraskans a lemon - a government program plagued by wrongful convictions, high costs, and long delays," Hyden said.
On Monday, US advocacy group Nebraskans for the Death Penalty submitted the required number of signatures to postpone the repeal of the death penalty in the state, putting a referendum on the issue onto the 2016 election ballot.
Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty Executive Director Stacy Anderson claims that the political battle to abolish the death penalty in the US state of Nebraska has become an issue of conscience for the state's Senators, advocacy group
Hyden added that "the broken nature" of the capital punishment in Nebraska has been "on full display with the ongoing fiasco surrounding the Governor's attempts to illegally import lethal injection drugs from overseas."
The coordinator said that over the next year rights groups will be educating Nebraskans about the "unavoidable problems" that come with the state's death penalty.
"At the end of the day, Nebraskans will have the opportunity to voice their disgust over the flawed death penalty system - just like the super-majority of Nebraska lawmakers who voted for its repeal," Hyden said.
In October, 3 US states - Oklahoma, Montana, Arkansas - placed a hold on all death row executions.
Capital punishment is currently legal in 31 US states, while the practice has been abolished in the other 19 states.
More than 800 people have been executed in the United States in the past 15 years. The largest number of executions, 85, occurred in 2000. 35 people were executed in the United States in 2014.
Source: sputniknews.com, October 21, 2015
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