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Nebraska AG to Seek Cert on Constitutionality of Electrocution

Posted Apr 10, 2008 7:50 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Nebraska’s attorney general says he will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate electrocutions in the state.

Attorney General Jon Bruning said yesterday he will seek cert because Nebraskans support the death penalty, the Associated Press reports. "We'll do everything possible to ensure the sentences of the state's worst murderers are carried out," he said.

Bruning made his announcement after the Nebraska Supreme Court refused to reconsider its February ruling holding the electric chair is cruel and unusual punishment. The ruling leaves the state with a death penalty, but no means to carry it out, KETV.com reports.

Nebraska is the only state that required the death penalty to be administered only by the electric chair, NebraskaTV reports. Law professor Beth Wiersma of the University of Nebraska told the broadcast station that 18 other states allow execution by firing squad, the gas chamber, hanging and the electric chair, but all of them allow lethal injection as an alternative. She said they are among 37 states that provide for lethal injections. Other reports have said 36 states provide for lethal injections.

The constitutionality of a three-drug cocktail used to carry out lethal injections is also under challenge in a Kentucky case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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