A former Attorney General joins the effort to reverse the Unicameral and reinstate the death penalty.
State Treasurer Don Stenberg served as Attorney General for 12 years. He now serves as honorary co-chair of Nebraskans for the Death Penalty.
“I was very disappointed with what the legislature did here. In my opinion, I think it was a grave mistake; repealing the death penalty,” Stenberg tells Nebraska Radio Network. “And this referendum effort is an opportunity to let Nebraskans correct that mistake.”
State legislators approved LB 268, repeal of the death penalty, on a 32-15 vote. They then overrode Gov. Pete Ricketts’ veto on a 30-19 vote. Supporters of capital punishment quickly formed an organization to put the issue on the ballot for voters to decide.
Stenberg calls capital punishment an important public safety tool, especially in deaths involving police officers, corrections officers, or prison inmates.
Stenberg mentions three incidents in particular: the shooting death of Omaha Police Officer Kerrie Orozco, in which the suspect was shot to death as well; the strangulation death of Scotts Bluff County jailer Amanda Baker early last year; and the deaths of two inmates during the riot at Tecumseh prison.
Stenberg sees no need for a protracted, expensive campaign on either side. He believes Nebraskans have their minds made up whether those who commit such heinous acts deserve to die at the hand of the state.
“And they believe the death penalty should be available for that or they don’t,” Stenberg says. “So, I don’t think a lot of money has to be spent post-certification of the petitions.”
Stenberg will co-chair Nebraskans for the Death Penalty along with State Sen. Beau McCoy of Omaha. Petitions are being circulated throughout Nebraska.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]