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Lawsuit says governor exceeded powers on death penalty

Lawsuit says governor exceeded powers on death penalty

LINCOLN, Neb.  — A lawsuit says the 11 men on Nebraska’s death row can’t be executed because their death sentences were converted to life in prison when the death penalty was repealed in 2015.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska filed the complaint early Monday, naming Gov. Pete Ricketts and several other officials. The lawsuit seeks a court order barring the state from carrying out any executions.

After lawmakers abolished the death penalty, they overrode Ricketts’ veto. Death penalty supporters responded with a ballot petition drive partially financed by Ricketts. Voters overturned the Legislature’s decision and restored the punishment in November 2016.

The ACLU says Ricketts overstepped the Nebraska Constitution’s separation of powers clause because he funded and controlled the petition drive.

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