Nebraska Supreme Court stands firm on electrocution ruling

The Journal Star reports here that the state’s high court will not reconsider its decision that electrocution is unconstitutional.

In February, the court ruled electrocution is cruel and unusual punishment when considering the case of Raymond Mata Jr.

Mata was convicted for the 1999 kidnapping and killing of 3-year-old Adam Gomez of Scottsbluff. Parts of the boy’s body were found in a freezer and dog bowl at Mata’s home. Bone fragments also were recovered from the stomach of Mata’s dog.

The court said in its February opinion that evidence shows that electrocution inflicts “intense pain and agonizing suffering” and that it “has proven itself to be a dinosaur more befitting the laboratory of Baron Frankenstein” than a state prison. Nebraska was the only state with electrocution as its sole means of execution. The February ruling left the state with a death penalty, but no way of carrying it out.

Sentencing Law and Policy provides this commentary in response to the article:

“If and when the Nebraska AG seeks cert on this issue, I think the US Supreme Court would be inclined to GVR the case back to the state courts after the Justices establish a general legal standard for method of execution cases in Baze.”