"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

Monday, May 25, 2015

ACLU questions Nebraska acquisition of lethal injection drugs

The state's recent purchase of lethal injection drugs that would allow it to resume executions in Nebraska will lead to costly litigation, ACLU of Nebraska Executive Director Danielle Conrad said Friday.

Conrad said information the ACLU received from the state Department of Correctional Services in response to an open records request led her to conclude that the state faces "another round of costly and lengthy legal appeals with the taxpayer picking up the tab."

"(It) shows a shady foreign source approached the Department of Corrections and engineered a hasty deal, with no assurances from state officials as to fair price, ability to comply with the importation laws, or the efficacy of the drugs in question," Conrad said. "This marks another sad chapter in the dark history of Nebraska's death penalty story.

"Nebraska's past attempts to obtain lethal injection drugs have been legally suspect and full of problems, including wasted taxpayer dollars and false promises.

"Their most recent effort is nothing more than deja vu all over again."

Records show that Chris Harris, CEO of the India-based Harris Pharma LLP, contacted state officials April 14 to ask if they wanted a "few thousand vials extra" of sodium thiopental, one of three drugs used in lethal injections. Sodium thiopental renders the recipient unconscious.

The message made its way to Corrections Director Scott Frakes, who told Harris in an April 15 email that he would like to connect as soon as possible.

In fact, Taylor Gage, spokesman for Gov. Pete Ricketts, said documentation provided to the ACLU shows that the state "legally purchased the necessary drugs to carry out the death penalty under the state's current protocol."

"(ACLU's) threat to sue the state and to prevent sentences from being carried out is only another example of their litigious tactics," Gage said.

In 2009, Nebraska moved to a system of execution by lethal injection as a substitute for the electric chair, after its use was ruled as unconstitutional by the Nebraska Supreme Court, but the state has encountered difficulty in acquiring legal drugs.

The Legislature passed a bill Wednesday abolishing the death penalty in Nebraska. Ricketts plans to veto the bill Tuesday, setting the stage for a showdown vote in the Legislature on an attempt to override his veto.

Nebraska's last execution was in 1997.

Source: Lincoln Journal Star, May 24, 2015

Murder Victim's Daughter Reacts to Death Penalty Repeal Bill

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts
Ashley Gage says she opposes the state's death penalty because the appeals process causes too much trauma and heartache for the families of victims. That includes her.

In March, NTV News first spoke with Gage. She found her father murdered when she was just a teenager. Despite that, Gage still is opposed to the capital punishment.

"As an 18-year-old, finding my father really disrupted my life in a substantial way, and I didn't even have to go through a capital trial," Gage told NTV back in March.

With the vote advancing to Governor Ricketts' desk this week, Gage now says she's cautiously optimistic.

"I had to kind of step away and let it sink in and really grasp that it came this far and passed. I'm still a little cautious because Ricketts has promised to veto the bill and I feel like I'm holding back a little bit," said Gage.

Ricketts told NTV News this week that some of the families he's spoken with are in favor of the death penalty.

"Several weeks ago, I sat down with Attorney General Peterson and Director Frakes, who's in charge of our correction system, and told them they need to make it a priority for us to be able to carry out these executions," said Ricketts. "It's important for justice and for some of the families I've talked to that have had loved ones killed by some of these heinous murderers."

Gage says that contradicts what she's encountered.

"I'm not sure where he's getting that information or whom he's spoken to, but I'm in contact with three or four other victims' families and have met them through this process and we're all on the same page in that we don't want to go through this re-traumatization and this long process," said Gage.

Source: nebraska.tv, May 24, 2015

YOU can help abolish the death penalty in Nebraska!

Right now, it is vital that Nebraskans weigh in with their Senators, telling them to hold firm and override the Governor's veto of death penalty repeal. Senators are getting the hardest pressure from the other side than they have gotten thus far. The veto override could happen as soon as Tuesday and will be the hardest vote for us to win.

Sample Tweets (please keep posting these until the override happens)

- Tell your friends in Nebraska - Contact Senators & ask them to see #deathpenalty repeal through to the end: http://ejusa.org/act/nadp #NERepeal

- Have friends from #Nebraska? Ask them to go here and thank Senators for passing #deathpenalty repeal: http://ejusa.org/act/NADP #NERepeal

- Please pass this on to EVERYONE in Nebraska: http://ejusa.org/act/NADP End the #deathpenalty in NE & the here in [YOUR-STATE] #NERepeal

Sample Facebook post:

Know anyone in Nebraska? Share this link with them so they can tell lawmakers to see repeal through to the end. Make Nebraska the 19th state to end the death penalty!
[link: http://act.ejusa.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/action_KEY=20403&track=ActionNADPLegsGov-FB]

Stacy Anderson
Executive Director
Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
941 'O' Street, Suite 725 | Lincoln, NE 68508
Office: 402.477.7787 | Cell: 402.525.4679
Email:stacy@nadp.net | Website: www.nadp.net

Report an error, an omission: deathpenaltynews@gmail.com