Days after the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that the electric chair was unconstitutional, a Lincoln Journal Star editorial urged the state to reconsider the death penalty: “Instead of rushing to pass a new means of capital punishment, the Legislature should take this opportunity to finally get rid of the death penalty.” Nebraska was the only state to retain the electric chair as its sole means of execution. The paper noted that it was the right time to take a broader look at the death penalty. “With the advent of more DNA testing, errors in sending people to death row were shown to be far more frequent than most people believed.” Hence, the paper concluded, “the time is ripe to abolish capital punishment in the state.”

The editorial noted that according to a poll by Nebraskans Against the Death Penalty, 51% of Nebraskans favor a repeal of the death penalty if it is replaced with a sentence of life without parole and restitution to the victim’s estate. Last year, a bill that would allow for life in prison or life in prison without the possibility of parole as a sentence for first-degree murder, introduced by Sen. Ernie Chambers, failed by only one vote.

The last execution to take place in Nebraska occurred in 1997.
(“Abolish the death penalty in Nebraska,” Lincoln Journal Star, February 10, 2008). See Editorials.