‘We shouldn’t be killing anyone’: Nebraska group pushes to end death penalty

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – A Nebraska group called for the state to eliminate the death penalty at a rally in the State Capitol’s rotunda on Thursday.

The Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty also want to educate the public about what they say are racial and socioeconomic biases surrounding the death penalty.

The group had representatives from the Nebraska American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International USA and the Nebraska Catholic Conference, attending the rally.

Sen. Terrell McKinney, who introduced two resolutions focused on criminal justice reform, said the death penalty is an inhumane policy that has contributed to racial disparities.

“There’s been many individuals that were on death row and were executed that after their death, they were found innocent, and that should be enough reason to say we have to get rid of this,” he said. “Cause we shouldn’t be killing innocent people, and we shouldn’t be killing anyone, especially through the law.”

LR17CA would ask voters to approve a constitutional amendment that eliminates the death penalty.

Another constitutional amendment, LR27CA, would expand the Board of Pardons and create the Board of Commutations.

If either of the amendments pass, Nebraskans will vote on them in the 2024 general election.

The group says the added expertise could help reduce the harmful impact of unjustly harsh sentences.

Supporters say the death penalty is outdated and doesn’t actually help to enforce law and order.

Tom Venzor, executive director of the Nebraska Catholic Conference, said he wants to call everyone in the state to pray for the death penalty to be abolished in every country.

“Pope Francis said, ‘Capital punishment offers no justice to victims, rather encourages revenge and it prevents any possibility of undoing a miscarriage of justice,'” he said. “Pope Francis notes that each day there is a growing ‘no’ around the world which is a sign of hope.”

Supporters also said the death penalty violates both the 8th and 14th amendments, and that almost half of the 50 states have repealed it already.

A Judiciary Committee hearing on NADP’s priority legislation followed the press conference, where many supporters spoke in favor of the amendments.

At the hearing on Thursday, no one testified in opposition to the amendments.

Channel 8 did reach out to senators who we believe would be against the amendments but did not get a response.

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