Lawsuit says governor exceeded powers on death penalty - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Lawsuit says governor exceeded powers on death penalty

Jose Sandoval Jose Sandoval

A lawsuit filed today says the 11 men on Nebraska's death row can't be executed because their death sentences were converted to life in prison when the death penalty was repealed in 2015. 

The American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska filed the complaint, seeking a court order barring any executions. 

The ACLU says Gov. Pete Ricketts overstepped the Nebraska Constitution's separation of powers clause, because he funded and controlled a petition drive to overturn the repeal.

Voters overturned the Legislature's decision and restored the death penalty in November 2016.

Jose Sandoval, the leader of a 2002 botched bank robbery in Norfolk that left five people dead, was expected to be the first death row inmate executed.  

Prison officials informed him of the drugs that would be used in his lethal injection on November 9th.  

The Nebraska Supreme Court hasn't issued an execution warrant, so no date has been set for Sandoval's execution.

But, by law, the director of corrections must provide notice to the condemned inmate at least 60 days before the Attorney General's request for an execution warrant.

In September 2002, Erick Vela, Jorge Galindo and Sandoval walked into the US Bank branch, in Norfolk, and within 40 seconds shot and killed four bank employees and a customer in a botched robbery.

A fourth man, Gabriel Rodriguez, the getaway driver, dropped them off and then left during the robbery. 

In January of 2005, a three-judge panel convicted Sandoval on five counts of first-degree murder, and sentenced him to death.

This would be the first execution, in Nebraska, in 20-years.

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