Nebraska Abolishes Death Penalty in Landmark Override Vote

Nebraska abolished the death penalty on Wednesday over the governor's objections in a move pushed through the Legislature with unusual backing from conservatives who oppose capital punishment for religious, financial or practical reasons. Senators in the one-house Legislature voted 30-19 to override the veto of Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Republican who supports the death penalty. The vote makes Nebraska the first traditionally conservative state to eliminate the punishment since North Dakota in 1973. Nebraska joins 18 other states and the District of Columbia in banning the ultimate punishment. Nebraska's action to repeal the death penalty is unusual because of its traditionally conservative leanings. Maryland was the last state to end capital punishment, in 2013. Three other moderate-to-liberal states have done so in recent years: New Mexico in 2009, Illinois in 2011 and Connecticut in 2012. Some senators said they philosophically support the death penalty but became convinced the state will never carry out another execution because of legal obstacles. Nebraska hasn't executed an inmate since a 1997 electrocution, and the state has never done so with its current lethal injection protocol.



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