Gov. Pete Ricketts has given his approval to a new lethal injection protocol, moving Nebraska closer to resuming executions.
The final version of the protocol gives officials at the Department of Correctional Services greater flexibility in administering lethal injection. It has left out a provision which allowed the department to keep confidential the supplying of lethal injection drugs, which had become controversial.
“The Department of Corrections was responsive to feedback provided in the public hearing,” Gov. Ricketts said in a written statement released by his office. “Finalizing the protocol will help carry out the will of the people of Nebraska in regards to the death penalty.”
Lethal injection in Nebraska was adopted in 2009 after the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled the use of the electric chair was unconstitutional. The initial protocol outlined the specific drugs to be used and in what order. One of the drugs, sodium thiopental, has been nearly impossible to obtain.
No one has been executed under the protocol. The last execution in Nebraska was carried out in 1997 using the electric chair.
Under the new protocol, executions can be carried out, “by intravenous injection of a substance or substances in a quantity sufficient to cause death without unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain.”
State lawmakers overrode a gubernatorial veto to repeal the death penalty only to have voters overturn their action and reinstate capital punishment.
Nebraska has 10 inmates currently residing on death row.
A copy of the final protocol is be available on the Secretary of State’s website at http://www.sos.ne.gov/dyindex.html.