Supreme Court Ruling Leaves Condemned Nebraskans in Limbo


For more than 10 years, John Lotter has faced death in Nebraska's electric chair for the grisly 1993 triple murder that spawned the movie “Boys Don't Cry.” But it is now uncertain whether Lotter and the nine other men on Nebraska's death row will ever be executed following a ruling by the state Supreme Court. The February ruling that electrocution – the state's only means of execution – is cruel and unusual punishment has debate raging among the lawyers involved on the 10 death-row cases: Can an inmate sentenced to die in the electric chair be executed by another means if the state changes the law?

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning says yes. “They're still sentenced to death,” he said. “Their punishment remains death and the punishment has not changed.” Attorneys for the Nebraska Commission on Public Advocacy disagree. Not only does the law specify electrocution, many of the actual sentencing orders say that the killers will die by a current of electricity, said James Mowbray, chief counsel for the commission.


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