Death penalty lawsuit filed

By: KLKN Newsroom

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP)  Nebraska death penalty opponents allege in a lawsuit that a ballot measure to reinstate the punishment is invalid because Gov. Pete Ricketts wasn’t listed as a sponsor.

The lawsuit filed Thursday in Lancaster County District Court argues that Ricketts should have been named because of his efforts to organize the Nebraskans for the Death Penalty campaign.

Nebraskans for the Death Penalty announced last month that it had collected nearly 167,000 signatures, more than three times the minimum number needed to place the issue on the November 2016 ballot. The drive was launched after lawmakers overrode Ricketts’ veto and abolished capital punishment.

The lawsuit says petition signers should have been told the “true and actual sponsors” of the referendum drive because it could have influenced their decision.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP)  A spokeswoman for Gov. Pete Ricketts is disputing allegations made in a legal challenge to the petition drive that seeks to preserve Nebraska’s death penalty.

Spokeswoman Brittany Hardin said in a statement Friday that the governor’s support for the petition drive doesn’t make him a sponsor, as death penalty opponents have argued.

A lawsuit filed Thursday alleges that the petition drive is invalid because Ricketts wasn’t listed as a sponsor, even though he financed a large part of the campaign and has close ties to its managers.

Petition sponsors announced in August that they’ve collected nearly 167,000 signatures to place the issue on the November 2016 ballot.

Hardin says the lawsuit is “yet another example of special interests using the courts in an attempt to thwart the will of voters.”