A legislative committee might soon issue a subpoena to compel Corrections Director Scott Frakes to testify about the state death penalty protocol.
Judiciary Committee chair, Sen. Laura Ebke of Crete, says she had hoped Frakes would appear at a scheduled May hearing voluntarily.
“The committee got together and took a look at whether or not there was any other way to get the information other than by asking Director Frakes to come in and talk to us. We decided that there wasn’t,” Ebke tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN. “We asked him to come and talk. He opted not to accept our invitation. And so, it’s time for us to serve a subpoena, I guess.”
Ebke says the committee would like to speak with Frakes about concerns raised by a member, Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha.
Chambers claims the protocol violates rules for handling controlled substances as well as the state public records act by keeping secret how the state obtained lethal injection drugs.
Ebke says the committee wants clarity on whether the newly enacted protocol conforms with state law.
“It’s not a question of whether the death penalty is good, bad, whether it should be around or anything like that,” according to Ebke. “What we’re really concerned about is that if the state is going to have a death penalty that we at least follow our own rules.”
Frakes has declined to voluntarily speak with the committee, stating he cannot say much because several lawsuits have been filed against the state concerning the death penalty procedures.
Jane Monnich, KLIN, contributed to this report.