Will the U.S. Finally End the Death Penalty?

In the past, abolition efforts have faced a backlash—but Gavin Newsom’s moratorium may be different.
The American death penalty is extraordinarily fragile, with death sentences and executions on the decline. Public support for the death penalty has diminished. The practice is increasingly marginalized around the world. California, with its disproportionately large share of American death-row inmates, announces an end to the death penalty. The year? 1972. That’s when the California Supreme Court declared the death penalty inconsistent with the state’s constitutional prohibition of cruel or unusual punishments—only to have the death penalty restored a year later through popular initiative and legislation.
On Wednesday, again, California walked back its commitment to the death penalty. Though not full-fledged abolition, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a moratorium on capital punishment lasting as long as his tenure in office, insisting that the California death penalty has been an “abject…

'Our plan is to proceed with the executions,' Ricketts says of 10 men on death row

Governor Pete Ricketts
LINCOLN — Gov. Pete Ricketts said Friday that despite the repeal of Nebraska’s death penalty, the state will not cancel its order for new drugs to carry out a lethal injection execution.

Ricketts said he agrees with the state attorney general that Nebraska, once it receives the drugs, should be able to execute the 10 men currently on death row.

"Our plan is to proceed with the executions," the governor said, at a press conference marking the end of the 2015 legislative session.

Ricketts said he had no timetable for when the lethal injection drugs purchased by the state from a broker in India will arrive in Nebraska.

Under Legislative Bill 268, the death penalty would be repealed, effective in three months, and replaced by life in prison.

State Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha, the chief sponsor of the law, said that while the Legislature cannot change the death sentences of those already on death row, LB 268 removed the statutory means for conducting an execution.

That, he said, leaves the 10 men on death row with a death sentence, but no way to carry it out.

The Attorney General’s Office earlier had generally agreed with that analysis, but on Friday, Attorney General Doug Peterson said that upon further review of court cases, he believes there remains a legal controversy over what happens to the 10.

Source: Omaha.com, Paul Hammel, May 29, 2015

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