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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (April 20, 1999)
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Prosecutors file for
execution of Reeves
By Josh Funk
Senior staff writer
The Nebraska Supreme Court
should execute Randy Reeves’ 18
year-old death sentence, the state
argued in a brief filed Friday.
Prosecutors want the court to put
an end to nearly two decades of litiga
tion by denying Reeves’ second
appeal for post-conviction relief after
the State Supreme Court hears oral
arguments May 7.
In January, the court stayed
Reeves scheduled execution to con
sider this appeal less than a week
after the district court had flatly
Assistant Attorney General Kirk
Brown, who filed the brief in answer
to Reeves’ claims, was out of the
office this week and could not be
reached for comment.
Reeves’ attorney, Paula
Hutchinson refused to comment on
“My general policy with court
documents is to let them speak for
themselves,” Hutchinson said.
In her brief, filed three weeks
ago, Hutchinson argued that Reeves’
sentence should be commuted to life
Reeves was sentenced to death for
the 1980 murders of Janet Mesner
and Vicki Lamm, who were both
killed in the Lincoln Quaker meeting
The state charged Reeves with
two felony murders on the basis that
both were committed during the sex
ual assault of Mesner.
Brown argued primarily that all of
the claims in Reeves’ appeal could
have been raised earlier and therefore
should not be considered now.
In the appeal Hutchinson argued
three main points: Execution would
violate Reeves’ equal-protection
My general policy
documents is to let
them speak for
rights because he was denied certain
safeguards, death sentencing and
execution are racially biased and
electrocution is cruel and unusual
The equal-protection claim,
which is based upon an amendment
to the state constitution adopted last
year, is not valid, Brown said, because
post-conviction proceedings consider
only errors in judgment.
Brown dismissed both the racial
discrimination and cruel and unusual
punishment claims as frivolous.
“Reeves did not climb through
Mesner’s window in the dead of
night, obtain a knife, ascend the stairs
to her bedroom, cut Janet’s phone
line, assault Janet with that knife and
his penis, and murder Lamm for good
measure because the state of
Nebraska had previously determined
it was statistically ‘equitable’ for a
Native American to commit such a
crime,” Brown wrote.
In her brief Hutchinson used sta
tistics from other states to argue that
electrocution is cruel and unusual
punishment, which Brown said dis
qualified the claim in Nebraska.
In summation Brown asked the
Court: “What is the effect of a judg
ment of conviction our courts cannot
enforce at all?”
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