I presently have several death penalty habeas cases from Nebraska (and one from Arkansas). Earlier, I have dealt with other death penalty habeas cases. I have also written an appellate opinion affirming the imposition of the death penalty.
In the past, I have followed the law and parsed the facts in these difficult cases knowing that my decision would result in the imposition of the death penalty. I have no reluctance to do the same in the future if the law and the facts warrant it. On at least one occasion, I have seen to the issuance of the writ when the law and facts dictated that the offender could not legally be put to death. I have no reluctance to do the same in the future if the law and the facts warrant it.
The Nebraska legislature is now, for the first time in recent memory, seriously debating whether to do away with the death penalty. See How Appealing (referring to an extensive Omaha World-Herald article). It would be entirely wrong for me to try to influence that debate, and I have no intention of doing so in this post or otherwise. The decision is entirely up to the Nebraska legislature, the Nebraska Attorney General, and the Nebraska Governor. I have absolutely no opinion which side has the better argument.
The foregoing said, if the death penalty were repealed, I would sleep better at night. How’s that for being both irrelevant and selfish at the same time.