Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

Update: Robert Pruett was executed by lethal injection on Thursday.
Robert Pruett is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas Thursday. He has never had a chance to live outside a prison as an adult. Taking his life is a senseless wrong that shows how badly the justice system fails juveniles.
Mr. Pruett was 15 years old when he last saw the outside world, after being arrested as an accomplice to a murder committed by his own father. Now 38, having been convicted of a murder while incarcerated, he will be put to death. At a time when the Supreme Court has begun to recognize excessive punishments for juveniles as unjust, Mr. Pruett’s case shows how young lives can be destroyed by a justice system that refuses to give second chances.
Mr. Pruett’s father, Sam Pruett, spent much of Mr. Pruett’s early childhood in prison. Mr. Pruett and his three siblings were raised in various trailer parks by his mother, who he has said used drugs heavily and often struggled to feed the children. Wh…

New Nebraska group says it will oppose statewide ballot campaign to reinstate death penalty

Gathering signatures to stop the repeal of the death penalty in Nebraska
Gathering signatures to stop the repeal of the death penalty in Nebraska
LINCOLN, Nebraska — Death penalty opponents are joining forces to oppose a ballot campaign that could reinstate capital punishment in Nebraska, the new coalition announced Thursday.

Nebraskans for Public Safety said it will advocate for "smart alternatives" to the death penalty and argue to the public that the punishment abolished by lawmakers is broken beyond repair.

The group formed in response to another coalition, Nebraskans for the Death Penalty, which launched a petition drive to put capital punishment on the ballot in 2016. In a landmark vote last month, Nebraska lawmakers overrode Gov. Pete Ricketts' veto and repealed the death penalty.

The Nebraskans for Public Safety coalition includes religious and conservative leaders and a retired Sarpy County judge. Participating organizations include Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, the Nebraska Innocence Project, the ACLU of Nebraska and the Nebraska Criminal Defense Attorneys Association.

Retired Sarpy County District Judge Ronald Reagan said he supported the effort as a fiscal conservative. Reagan also sat on the three-judge panel that sentenced former Nebraska inmate John Joubert to death; Joubert was executed in 1996.

"I know firsthand the death penalty is broken and beyond repair," Reagan said in a statement. "It is, quite simply, a state-sanctioned revenge which has no deterrent effect and no place in a civilized society. Keeping it in Nebraska law will not lower the murder rate nor furnish any protection to our law officers."

Bryan Baumgart, the immediate past chair of the Douglas County Republicans, said the death penalty represents a failed government program because of the state's inability to carry out an execution since 1997.

He also pointed to the support from Republican state senators who sided with Democrats to make the repeal possible. Nebraska's vote made it the first conservative-leaning state to end capital punishment since North Dakota in 1973.

"Many Nebraskans are appalled by efforts to undo the conservative-backed repeal of the death penalty," Baumgart said.

The Rev. Lauren Ekdahl of Scottsbluff, a faith leader with a long history of advocating for the repeal, said Nebraskans should decline to sign the petitions as a matter of conscience.

"Every citizen of the state of Nebraska has a stake in this referendum campaign and has a clear choice before them," she said.

Danielle Conrad, executive director of ACLU Nebraska, said the public debate should focus on issues other than the death penalty, such education, taxes and the economy.

"It is time for our state to move forward in a positive manner and to focus on the future of Nebraska," she said.

Nebraskans for the Death Penalty has to gather roughly 57,000 signatures of registered voters by Aug. 27 to place the law on the ballot, and 115,000 to suspend the law before voters decide the question. They also must gather signatures from at least 5 percent of the registered voters in 38 of Nebraska's 93 counties.

Source: The Associated Press, June 11, 2015

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

Most Viewed (Last 7 Days)

Texas: Montgomery County DA asks governor to stay Anthony Shore's execution

Texas court halts execution to review claims that co-defendant lied at trial

Alabama executes Torrey Twane McNabb

Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

New Hampshire: Death penalty repeal may be back on the table

The Execution Dock in London was used for more than 400 years to execute pirates, smugglers & mutineers

Hours before execution, Tourniquet Killer granted 90-day stay at DA's request

Execution stayed for Alabama man convicted of killing cop

Justices Won’t Review Florida Death-Penalty Cases

More drug dealers to be shot dead: Indonesia's National Narcotics Agency chief