One year ago today, the Nebraska Legislature did something momentous: give first round approval to a bill that would end the death penalty in Nebraska.
This work started 40 years ago with by Sen. Ernie Chambers, when the ACLU of Nebraska was just 10 years old. In 2015, Sen. Chambers was not only joined by the ACLU, but faith leaders, fiscal conservatives, victim's family members, and partners like Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. The Nebraska Legislature gave the bill final approval and overrode a veto to replace the death penalty with a life sentence.
Like so many of our issues, this is one where the ACLU and partners have been working in courtrooms and legislatures around the country for decades. The work also involved neighbors talking to neighbors about smart priorities for our criminal justice resources and the unfairness inherently involved in the death penalty.
As always, no victory ever stays won and we are pleased to partner with Retain a Just Nebraska to keep the death penalty off the books.
2016 is the 50th anniversary of the ACLU of Nebraska. We will feature several memories from our five decades of defending freedom in the Cornhusker state here. Do you have a favorite memory? Share it with us!