Court rejects ACLU’s attempt to request delay in setting Nebraska’s first execution since 1997

Court rejects ACLU’s attempt to request delay in setting Nebraska’s first execution since 1997
The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services' execution room in Lincoln, as seen from the viewing room. (World-Herald News Service)

LINCOLN — The Nebraska Supreme Court has rejected the attempt by an anti-death penalty group to request a delay in scheduling the state’s first execution in 21 years.

In a related development this week, State Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha launched his own attack on the state’s efforts to carry out the execution of Carey Dean Moore.

The court overturned a motion Wednesday that was filed recently by the ACLU of Nebraska asking for permission to submit a brief in the Moore case. The court provided no comment or written response that might signal why the judges rejected the motion.

The ACLU said that “several substantial (legal) questions” related to the death penalty are pending and that the court should delay its decision to ensure that the state doesn’t engage in an “unconstitutional or unlawful execution.”

While appeals are pending in two death penalty lawsuits backed by the group, Moore has told the court that he no longer wants legal representation and doesn’t want others to file legal challenges on his behalf. Moore was sentenced to death in 1980 for the slayings of Omaha cabdrivers Reuel Van Ness and Maynard Helgeland a year earlier.

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