Sunday, February 10, 2008
Justice Connolly and his Gang of Six thought they had abolished the death penalty through the back door by banning Nebraska's electrocution method (State v. Mata, S05-1268). The Unicameral is unlikely to authorize lethal injection during Ernie Chambers' farewell session. So the Nebraska Supreme Court left Mata's death sentence in place without a means to carry it out. But does this mean the Supreme Court could or even should prescribe how to carry out the death penalty in a manner that complies with Nebraska Constitution Article I Section 9 (Nebraska version of the 8th Amendment of the US Constitution). See Can Nebraska Restore Its Death Penalty Without Legislation?, Crime and Consequences Blog. The Supreme Court left 29-2528 in place, which requires the Supreme Court to reverse a death penalty case, grant a new trial, or set an execution date. The last iteration of STATE v. REEVES, S-99-064, 258 NEB. 51199-064 January 7, 2000 HTML] plainly shows the Supreme Court's unwillingness to re-sentence defendants. That leaves a death penalty without a method the legislature approved, but the law's requirement that the State of Nebraska can only prescribe the method of execution was part of the law the Supreme Court invalidated (25-2532 RRS Neb.). What is next if the Nebraska Supreme Court is serious about carrying out its proper function but immediate hearings to institute rules of executing death row inmates. Now that would be interesting, and if it refused would a writ of mandamus against the Supreme Court be far off?