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Capital Punishment in the United States Explained

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In our Explainer series, Fair Punishment Project lawyers help unpackage some of the most complicated issues in the criminal justice system. We break down the problems behind the headlines - like bail, civil asset forfeiture, or the Brady doctrine - so that everyone can understand them. Wherever possible, we try to utilize the stories of those affected by the criminal justice system to show how these laws and principles should work, and how they often fail. We will update our Explainers monthly to keep them current. Read our updated explainer here.
To beat the clock on the expiration of its lethal injection drug supply, this past April, Arkansas tried to execute 8 men over 1 days. The stories told in frantic legal filings and clemency petitions revealed a deeply disturbing picture. Ledell Lee may have had an intellectual disability that rendered him constitutionally ineligible for the death penalty, but he had a spate of bad lawyers who failed to timely present evidence of this claim -…

Nebraska: Ricketts Administration admits there are costs savings if Death Penalty does not come back

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts
LINCOLN, NE - State Sen. Adam Morfeld of Lincoln, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said today after a special Legislative hearing on the Department of Corrections discussing the cost of Nebraska prisons, that he appreciates the Ricketts Administration finally admitting that there are costs savings if Nebraska’s death penalty does not come back.

“After weeks of trying to cast doubts on the first scientific study ever done on the costs of Nebraska’s death penalty by the state’s most trusted economist, Dept of Corrections Director Scott Frakes today admitted to our committee that taxpayers would save money by eliminating the death penalty,” Sen. Morfeld said.

Dr. Ernie Goss, professor of economics at Creighton University, presented a study earlier this summer that revealed Nebraska’s maintenance of the death penalty cost the state approximately $14.6 million annually above what the state’s cost for life without parole would be. This sum was calculated based on data Nebraska agencies report to the U.S. Census bureau. The extra cost of the death penalty is due to the death penalty’s additional pre-trial processes, appeals unique to capital cases, and special housing afforded death row inmates.

Following the release of Dr. Goss’ study, a bipartisan group of Nebraska State Senators, celebrated further evidence that their decision to end the death penalty was the right one for all Nebraskans.

“Dr. Goss’ findings affirm the decision the Unicameral made when we acted to remove our broken, costly death penalty and leave in place the strong alternative of life without the possibility of parole,” Speaker Galen Hadley said soon after the study was released.

Source: Retain a Just Nebraska, September 30, 2016. Retain a Just Nebraska is a public education campaign to urge the retention of LB 268, the Nebraska Legislature’s vote to end the death penalty. Supporters include fiscal conservatives, law enforcement officials, faith leaders, murder victims’ families, and Nebraskans from all walks of life. It is a statewide coalition conducting public education on the smart alternative of life in prison without parole, which protects society without the many problems of our death penalty system.

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