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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Sept. 8, 1994)
Lethal injection studied I
HASTINGS (AP)—Several central
Nebraska lawmakers indicate cautious
support for the idea of allowing death
row inmates to choose between lethal
injection and the electric chair.
Sen. Doug Kristensen of Minden
said he would only support a change if
he could be certain it wouldn’t create
more avenues for appeal. Switching to
lethal injection or allowing prisoners a
choice could open the door for appeals
for current death row inmates who were
specifically sentenced to death by elec
trocution, he said.
“Once you start tinkering with the
death penalty you' re opening up a big
can of worms,” Kristensen said. “It isn’t
just a straight policy question.”
Although a majority of legislators
probably would support allowing the
option of lethal injection, some senators
would probably use procedural rules to
blocks its advancement, said state Sen.
George Coordsen of Hebron.
“Its chances of passage are less than
50 percent,” he said.
Coordsen, unopposed in his re-elec
tion bid in District 32, said he would
favor giving prisoners a choice or sim
ply changing to lethal injection. Other
legislators, including Sen. EmieCham
bers of Omaha, probably would block
the measure because of their opposition
to the death penalty, he said.
Sen. Owen Elmer of Indianola, who
introduced a bill in 1993 to make lethal
injection an option, said death-penalty
opponents in the Legislature would
oppose the change because it would
make efforts to repeal the law more
“Apparently people in the Legisla
ture who are opposed to the death pen
alty think there would be less public
sympathy for a person who is executed
by lethal injection,” he said. “1 think in
their minds that would make it more
difficult to move people to push for an
outright repeal of the law.”
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