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Law enforcement speak against the death penalty

Posted at 12:32 PM, Oct 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-17 13:32:25-04
Twenty-two days to Election Day, veterans of the court system are encouraging voters to make sure the death penalty stays out of Nebraska.
 
It’s often the argument of Nebraskans for the death penalty that capital punishment is supported by a variety of law enforcement. 
 
That wasn't the case Monday in La Vista, when judges, police officers and a former police captain spoke against having a death penalty in Nebraska. 
 
That decision will be on the ballot Nov. 8.
 
Several former law enforcement officers say they had originally supported the death penalty and changed their minds through experience with the criminal justice system.
 
A Creighton law professor, who helped prosecute serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, says the famed killer thought there was capital punishment in Wisconsin while he was killing people; when in reality Wisconsin didn’t have a death penalty. 
 
The law professor, Greg O'Meara, says he knows first-hand the threat of capital punishment does not deter crime. 
 
"Nobody, first and foremost, thinks they're going to get caught when they commit a crime,” O’Meara said. “That isn't going on in their minds. They don't think of the penalty at all. It doesn't really deter them. That's the psychology of how crime happens. It's impetus. It happens quickly."
 
The group, Nebraskans for the Death Penalty, says they have research that shows that the death penalty not only deters crime, it saves lives in states that have capital punishment.
 
Nebraskans for the Death Penalty point to the state Sheriff's Association and the Nebraska County Attorneys Association, who have both endorsed the effort to overturn last year's decision to get rid of the death penalty from Nebraska.