Year of Reenactment
(since 1972 suspension)
Year of First Execution
(since reenactment)

1895-1912: hanging

1913-2008: electrocution
2009-2015: lethal injection

Year of Abolition 2015
Last Method
Electrocution was ruled unconstitutional by the state supreme court in February 2008. Lethal injection was adopted in 2009, but there has been difficulty obtaining the drugs.


Nebraska has life without parole.  Prior to abolition, a 3-judge panel decided the sentence.  An executive panel, which includes the Governor, has the power to grant clemency.

In 2015, the state legislature passed a bill to repeal the death penalty by a vote of 32-15. The governor vetoed the legislation, but on May 27, the legislature overrode the veto by a vote of 30-19. Although the intent of the legislation is that it apply retroactively, there is question whether the legislature has that power. Ten inmates remain on death row. After the repeal, the governor initiated a process of gathering signatures sufficient to place a referendum on the death penalty on the ballot in November 2016.


In 1999, Nebraska became the first state whose legislature passed a moratorium on executions.  The bill was vetoed by the governor.  The legislature also approved funds for a study of how the death penalty is applied.  The governor also vetoed that bill, but the legislature unanimously overrode the governor's veto.  There have been no executions in Nebraska since the study began.

In 2001 Jeremy Sheets was exonerated and released from death row after charges were dropped in the murder conviction after the Nebraska Supreme Court overturned his conviction. Statements made by a codefendant implicated Sheets and were deemed by the Court as highly suspect and inadmissable following the suicide of the codefendant.

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