Pressure : 29.61 in
Dewpoint : 55.9 °
Wind : South
Legislature debates removal of Nebraska death penalty
For the 37th time, Omaha Senator Ernie Chambers has introduced legislation to abolish Nebraska's death penalty. The latest attempt came Wednesday afternoon.
LB 543 would change the death penalty to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
There were about two dozen supporters of the bill at Wednesday's hearing. Chambers himself from brief in his opening remarks, only taking a few minutes to introduce the bill. Instead, he allowed those supporters to take the stand.
One of those who would like to see the death penalty abolished, Curtis McCarty. McCarty was exonerated by the Innocence Project in 2007 after serving 22 years on Oklahoma's death row for a 1982 murder.
He says new technology cleared him of the crime, and that law enforcement made a mistake in his arrest.
"We are told that members of law enforcement are perfect, that they are infallible that they never make mistakes and I think this is probably the most tragic part of the entire process," said McCarty.
Only a few in attendance spoke against the bill.
One of those opponents, Douglas County Attorney Doug Kleine. Kleine was speaking on behalf of the Nebraska County Attorney's Association. He says some murders are so heinous that a death sentence is warranted.
There are currently 11 men on Nebraska's death. In the past 40 years, there have only been 3 executions.
33 states currently have the death penalty.
Chambers had introduced a bill to abolish the death penalty every year from 1973 to 2008.
He was successful in getting the bill passed in 1979, but was vetoed by then Governor Charles Thone.
KHASTV on Facebook