All eyes are on Nebraska as Governor Ricketts considers whether to sign or veto the repeal legislation that was passed with broad bipartisan support. I was interviewed by multiple outlets on the push to abolish capital punishment in the Cornhusker State.
Thomas Zimmer from Sputnik News said,
Hyden said Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts has pledged to veto the legislation within five days, but after that period, the state legislature has another five days to overturn his veto.
The bill now goes to Ricketts for him to sign or veto after passing two times before when the repeal of the Nebraska death penalty was brought before the Nebraska legislature.
“If we get this across the goal line, Nebraska will be the first red [Republican] state to repeal the death penalty in over 40 years,” Hyden said. “I hope this catches fire and snowballs, but we need to finalize the repeal before looking forward.”
The Daily Caller’s Casey Harper quoted me as saying,
“What is happening in Nebraska is unsurprising because a growing number of conservatives are increasingly expressing their concerns about the irrevocably broken death penalty system,” Marc Hyden, national coordinator for Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty told TheDCNF. “Everywhere I go conservatives are interested in this dialog. We realize the death penalty costs much more than the alternative and that the system is error-prone. We believe in limited government, fiscal responsibility, and we value life. It is time for capital punishment to be ended.”
It conflicts with a pro-life philosophy—flaws in the system have made it clear that it risks putting innocent people to death. It’s not fiscally responsible—cases involving the death penalty typically run bigger bills, and it costs about $90,000 more each year to keep an inmate on death row, according to a 2008 study by the California Commission on the Fair Admission of Justice. And it doesn’t represent limited government.
“It gives an error-prone state the power to kill its citizens,” Hyden said. “You try to do some cost-benefit analysis: You ask yourself, what does the death penalty do, and what is it purported to do? It’s supposed to deter crime. But if you look at the studies, the death penalty does not deter murder.”
The Liberty Edifier’s Christopher White also reported on Nebraska’s death penalty repeal effort and a possible misrepresentation from Governor Ricketts. He said,
Indeed, in a radio interview on Tuesday with Omaha’s “The Bottom Line with Mike’l Severe”, Ricketts claimed that the bill, were it to be come law, would allow inmates serving a life sentence the opportunity to be released on parole.
“If you look at this bill that the legislature is advancing, they even struck the part ‘life without parole’ now it just says the death penalty will just go to ‘life’.”
But according to Nebraska’s Attorney General’s Office, the bill is retroactive, meaning that if the bill becomes law current death row inmates would have their sentences changed to life without parole.
White also wrote,
“I think this fits in with the overall national narrative that we are seeing. I have traveled the US,” Marc Hyden, the Executive Director with Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty, told the Liberty Edifier, “and I’ve spoken at colleges; I’ve spoken to religious groups and liberty groups, and even Southern Baptist college groups, and what I am finding is that conservatives and the religious right are increasingly uncomfortable with a death penalty system that risks innocent lives and costs more than the alternatives,” he said.
It has high human and fiscal costs, Hyden said, that fails to produce any kind of net benefit. It harms family members and fails to deter crime.
Hyden’s comments are buttressed by a recent report by The Washington Post last month revealing that the Justice Department and FBI acknowledged that nearly every examiner in the FBI Laboratory’s microscopic hair comparison unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period before 2000.