As Nebraska Goes, So Goes….

February 12, 2008


Nebraska has long been distinctive in the world of capital punishment as the only state to rely exclusively on electrocution as its method of execution. A couple of days ago it became distinctive in another way when the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that the state could no longer use electrocution (pdf of the opinion). The court held that death by electricity is cruel and unusual punishment. In a remarkable opinion the court did what courts have generally been reluctant to do, namely invalidate particular modes of execution. The opinion is remarkable because the Nebraska Court  presents a detailed, alomst gruesome, portrait of electrocution and its effects on the body of the condemned.  This is yet another significant milestone on the road to abolition.