Started by Jeff1857, March 14, 2008, 12:03:42 AM
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Neb. town abuzz over tourism idea: electric chairBy ANNA JO BRATTON - 21 hours ago LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- Residents of a small southwest Nebraska town have a question for state officials: You're not doing anything with that old electric chair, are you?The Nebraska Supreme Court ruled last year that the state's use of the electric chair was unconstitutional. Some people in McCook -- population just under 8,000 -- think "Old Sparky" could be a tourist attraction and have offered to take it off the state's hands.Fifteen men were executed in the chair, which is about 210 miles east of McCook at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln.Corrections department spokeswoman Connie Nemec says there are no immediate plans to move the chair.On the Net:City of McCook: http://www.cityofmccook.comCopyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Capital Punishment in Nebraska: All executions in Nebraska since 1903 have taken place within the Nebraska State Penitentiary. Prior to 1903, executions were handled in the county where the offense took place. From 1903 to 1913, the means of execution was by Hanging. Since 1913, it has been by the Electric Chair. A total of 8 inmates were executed by hanging and 15 inmates by means of the electric chair. (23 Total) There have been approximately 68 inmates housed on Death Row from 1903 to the Present. There are currently 10 men and no women awaiting execution in the Cornhusker State. Death Row in Nebraska was housed at the Penitentiary from 1903 to 2002 when it was transferred to the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution. Executions still take place at the Penitentiary. Inmates who receive an execution date would be transferred to the Nebraska State Penitentiary approximately within a week of that date and would be housed in the Penitentiary hospital on what is called the "Death Watch." While on the Death Watch, condemned inmates may have special visits from family, friends, religious representatives and attorneys. The visits are supervised by staff assigned to the "Death Watch" and take place in the suite of rooms set aside for the condemned inmates. Inmates may also request a special "last meal." Such meals must be prepared from food supplies on hand at the Prison. The Death Chamber is located in the basement of the Nebraska State Penitentiary. There are a series of rooms including a Viewing Room, Power Room and the room that houses the Electric Chair itself. State statutes provide for ten witnesses to an execution-typically six representing the state, three selected by the inmate plus a religious representative selected by the inmate. The Department historically since 1994 has authorized media representatives to be the "state" witnesses. In 1997, the husband of one of the people killed by inmate Robert Williams was authorized by the Department to serve as a victim witness to Williams' execution. One of the issues regarding the use of the electric chair is whether the inmate feels any pain or discomfort when the execution procedure is applied. Some experts would argue that the voltage applied renders instant unconsciousness; others suggest that that is not the case.It appears that the death row inmates in Nebraska will have to wait a bit longer in that legislation to replace electrocution as the means of carrying out an execution in Nebraska with lethal injection has stalled. In a case last year, the Nebraska Supreme Court ruled that executing criminals via the electric chair was an unconstitutional form of cruel and unusual punishment and therefore in contravention with the Nebraska Constitution.Thus, Nebraska still has the death penalty on the books, but no legal means to carry out an execution. Senator Mike Flood, the Speaker of the Nebraska Legislature, introduced legislation in January to change the mode of death from electrocution to lethal injection. That bill is stuck in the Legislature's Judiciary Committee.