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Nebraska Capital Punishment Laws

The death penalty -- technically referred to as capital punishment -- was reinstated by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1976 (Gregg v. Georgia) after having been ruled unconstitutional a few years prior. This ruling basically left it up to the states, most of which decided to reinstate the punishment. While offenses such as treason are capital offenses at the federal level, states typically limit the death penalty to first-degree murder or murder committed in the commission of another felony (even if accidental).

Nebraska Capital Punishment Laws at a Glance

Nebraska lawmakers abolished capital punishment on May 20, 2015. The unicameral (one chamber) state legislature voted 32-15 in support of the bill, enough to override Governor Pete Ricketts's veto. Arkansas's existing death row inmates remain on death row, since the law is not retroactive.

Prior to the change in law, Nebraska limited capital crimes to those involving particularly heinous murders. The use of the electric chair was ruled unconstitutional in 2008.

Additional details about Nebraska's capital punishment provisions are listed in the following table. See FindLaw's Death Penalty section for more articles and resources.

Code Section 28-105, et seq.; 28-303; 29-2519, et seq.
Is Capital Punishment Allowed? No
How was it Prohibited? Through the legislature
Effect of Defendant's Incapacity  
Minimum Age  
Available for Crimes Other than Homicide?  
Definition of Capital Homicide  
Method of Execution  

Note: State laws are always subject to change, usually through the enactment of new statutes or higher court decisions, while enforcement of capital punishment is largely a function of the governor's office. You may want to contact a Nebraska criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

State Abolition of Capital Punishment: Overview

States that have banned the use of the death penalty have done so in many different ways. The 2003 moratorium on capital punishment by Illinois Governor George Ryan was followed up with the 2011 statutory abolition of the practice by Governor Pat Quinn. Connecticut voters banned the death penalty through a 2012 ballot initiative, but several inmates remained on death row after the election since it wasn't retroactive.

State laws are likely to continue changing, as support for the death penalty continues to wane.

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Nebraska Capital Punishment Laws: Related Resources

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