Nebraska Gov Vetos Death Penalty Bill, Steps Into Override Battle

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts vetoed a bill Tuesday that would abolish the death penalty in the state; however, a vote to override Ricketts’ veto could happen as early as tomorrow.

The legislature has five days to override the veto and would need 30 votes. The bill passed 32-15 on final reading, so unless three legislators change their mind, the bill will become law.

Sources tell The Daily Caller News Foundation they expect an override vote Wednesday or Thursday.

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“At least 30 people will think if it’s good enough for final reading it’s good enough even if the governor disagrees with them,” Nebraska State Sen. Colby Coash, who helped lead the repeal effort, told TheDCNF right after the legislature voted to pass the legislation. “On this issue I think minds were pretty much made up.”

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The vote has pitted a majority Republican legislature against a Republican governor.

The arguments against the death penalty were familiar: forensic mishaps, bad attorneys, the list of overturned convictions and how the threat of death intimidates innocent defendants to accept plea bargains

The lengthy appeals process has also drawn ire from many legislators. The state has 10 inmates on death row but hasn’t executed a single one since 1997.

“The death penalty is arbitrary, discriminatory, fallible, irrevocable, costly, and ineffective,” National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers President Theodore Simon said in a statement. “A vote to override the governor’s veto will be a critical step forward in bringing this woefully defective practice one step closer to being properly and universally eliminated.”


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