ACLU Statement in Response to Death Penalty Protocols Announcement
LINCOLN, Neb – Today the Nebraska Department of Corrections announced a public hearing related to death penalty protocols. Danielle Conrad, Executive Director of the ACLU of Nebraska, has this reaction:
“The ACLU of Nebraska stands ready to fight against any effort to cloak Nebraska’s broken death penalty in secrecy. Regardless of how people feel about the death penalty we should all agree that Nebraskans value government transparency and accountability in all matters. In fact, inscribed right on our state Capitol is ‘the salvation of the state is the watchfulness of the citizens.’ As citizens, we can’t complete that duty if the government only offers us selective information, editing out all the ugly parts.
“Both death penalty supporters and opponents should be able to agree that the most extreme use of state power should absolutely not occur in the shadows. As the Supreme Court has said, ‘the protection given speech and press was fashioned to assure unfettered interchange of ideas for the bringing about of political and social changes desired by the people.’
“Given the recent history of scandals within the Department of Corrections, this Department should be making extra efforts to be transparent and accountable to the people of Nebraska.
“Any ill-advised effort to limit the rights of citizens, journalists, and criminal defendants to know and understand this process would implicate grave constitutional, legal and policy questions that will come at the expense of the Nebraska taxpayer.”
ABOUT: The ACLU of Nebraska and its diverse membership works in courts, the legislature and our communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States and Nebraska guarantee everyone in this state.
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The Capital Punishment Project works toward the repeal of the death penalty in the United States through strategic litigation, advocacy, public education, and training programs for capital defense teams.