Doug Peterson

Nebraska Attorney General

Nebraska Facts About Nebraska's Death Penalty

Lincoln—Today, Attorney General Doug Peterson was joined by Chief Deputy Attorney General David Bydalek, Solicitor General Jim Smith, and Lancaster County Attorney Joe Kelly, to provide Nebraskans accurate information on the death penalty, responding to the false claims made in a recently released study regarding costs associated to the death penalty.

“Nebraska voters should be trusted with Nebraska numbers,” Attorney General Peterson stated, "Individual opinions on the death penalty may differ, but those opinions should be based on accurate Nebraska data."

In a study entitled, “The Economic Impact of the Death Penalty on the State of Nebraska: A Taxpayer Burden?”, Dr. Ernest Goss claims that “Nebraska’s maintenance of the death penalty cost the state, in 2015 dollars, approximately $14.6 million annually.” Goss’s projected savings to the State of Nebraska through the elimination of the death penalty are not based on Nebraska-specific data. When Nebraska-specific data is considered, Goss’s conclusion cannot be supported.

  • The Nebraska Commission on Public Advocacy states that there is no appreciable difference in trying a murderer who is subject to life imprisonment and one who is subject to the death penalty.
  • On average, less than one death penalty case is tried in the state each year.
  • On average there is less than one-half of an appeal filed by Nebraska’s death row inmates each year of incarceration.
  • Incarceration costs are functionally equal between death penalty inmates and inmates serving life sentences.

These facts alone indicate Goss’ conclusions on cost are not credible.

General Peterson continues, "Nebraskan’s are entitled to accurate and truthful information as they prepare to vote in the referendum on LB268 in November. The misinformation spread by death penalty opponents does a disservice to the people of this state. The actual case-specific data regarding Nebraska’s 10 death row inmates sets the record straight."