Published On: Thu, Dec 8th, 2016

The public voted to reinstate, but what happens next with Nebraska’s death penalty

Vincent Peña

Nebraska News Service

LINCOLN — Now what?

That’s the question many were asking regarding the recent death penalty referendum result that saw the state bring back capital punishment.

Many death penalty opponents claimed before the vote that a win for the repeal side would simply put the state right back into a position that doesn’t allow it to carry out executions. The main problem was the inability to get one out of the three drugs used for executions based on the protocol the state established.

But just three weeks after Nebraskans voted overwhelmingly to reinstate the death penalty, steps are being taken to pump some life back into capital punishment, which  hasn’t been used in Nebraska in nearly 20 years.

The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services proposed a new drug protocol Monday, which would allow the state’s prison director to handle lethal injections case by case, including the type of drugs used and the doses, in addition to keeping the source of the drugs confidential.

Gov. Pete Ricketts said Tuesday the changes were a step in the right direction, noting that the people made a choice to bring the death penalty back, therefore the other state officials had a duty to “carry it out.”

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