Sixty-percent of Nebraska voters said yes to reinstating the death penalty. Attorney General Doug Peterson says his office is now reviewing protocols with the Department of Corrections and with Governor Pete Ricketts. He says parts of the process will be looking at how other states successfully conduct executions. He says some of those states recently had their protocols reviewed by the Court of Appeals or by the U.S. Supreme Court. Those will be the ones Nebraska will evaluate as they look at possible changes in Nebraska’s protocol.
One of the issues Nebraska faced was not being able to get the drugs needed for lethal injection. Other states have been able to successfully purchase those drugs and Peterson says that will be addressed as well. He says some state have private compounders with shield laws in place that protect their identity. Others have been able to acquire the drugs without such laws in place. He says there is always the risk that a pharmaceutical company may not want to sell drugs to carry out an execution, which is their right.
Nebraska lawmakers did away with the death penalty several years ago and many Nebraskans are now questioning whether they will do it again. Peterson says, “It could but I think this election really changed the nature of the legislature. Some of the new senators coming in have established their positions where they stand on the death penalty. Also, senators are well aware what the voters have stated. When citizens use the referendum process and speak so strongly on the matter I think senators have to recognize that. I think that is hard to ignore.”
Peterson says his office’s responsibility is to advise the Department of Corrections and Governor Ricketts office on the constructional standards that need to be complied with.