It is very difficult and emotional to discuss the policies that are involved in matters that are involved relating to taking a persons life, whether they are addressing abortion or the death penalty. It is a lawmaker’s duty to act with a great deal of thought and deliberation when coming to a decision on this topic. This is why I want to share with you where I stand on the death penalty and how I arrived at my position on this issue.
Over the past few years, I have spoken with family, friends, clergy of various Christian denominations, constituents, and people who have been affected by the death penalty. As a result of this process, I have come to the decision that I am against the death penalty. I have always been pro-life when it comes to the unborn and I believe that the State of Nebraska and its laws should be reflective of a pro-life culture. Though the people on death row are criminals, it should not be in the state’s interest to end their lives, just as it should not be in the state’s interest to end the life of an unborn child.
Something that I found startling while researching this topic is the cost associated with the death penalty. Since 1976 when capital punishment was reinstated in the United States, Nebraska has spent an estimated $100 million on death penalty cases and has executed three people. This cost is so high because prosecution in death sentence cases costs $3 million, nearly three times as much as the cost of $1.1 million in prosecution for life without parole cases. As a fiscal conservative, I see this as your tax dollars being wasted. Not only is the death penalty expensive to the tax payers, it also yields no tangible result because our state has been unable to acquire the drugs necessary to perform an execution. This is why we have not carried out an execution in almost two decades.
The death penalty is also unfair to the ones who are most traumatized by the murder, the victim’s family. On average, a death row inmate appeals their case 7.76 times. This forces the families to relive the case over and over, a process that takes decades and often ends without resolution. On the other hand, a life without parole sentence is only appealed an average of 1.64 times, giving the family a final sentencing outcome.
For these reasons, I have signed onto LB268, a bill that seeks to change the death penalty to life without parole.
I want to invite you to two town halls I will be having in the District on March 27th. I will be having a coffee in Seward at the Civic Center located at 616 Bradford St in the West Fire Place room that starts at 7:30 A.M. Later that day I will be having a lunch in York at Chance R located at 124 W 5th St starting at 12:00 PM. I look forward to talking with you about issues that are being discussed in the Unicameral.
As always, I am honored by the faith that you, the voters of District 24, have placed in me. My door is open and I have made it a goal to be accessible to the constituents of our district. You may continue to follow me on Facebook at Kolterman For Legislature and on Twitter at @KoltermanforLegislature. My office in the State Capitol is Room 1115, which I share with my colleague Senator Bob Hilkemann from Omaha. Stop by anytime. My e-mail address is email@example.com and the office phone number is 402-471-2756. Kenny Zoeller, my Legislative Aide, and Katie Quintero, my Administrative Aide, are always available to assist you with your needs. If I am not immediately available, please do not hesitate to work with them to address your concerns, thoughts, and needs.
Senator Mark Kolterman