The Nebraska State Supreme Court ruled the electric chair is "cruel and unusual punishment."
In the landmark ruling, the court said the Legislature may vote to have a death penalty, just not one that offends rights under the state constitution.Unfortunately, the state legislature will probably approve a different means of killing people. But for now, the state is deprived of the means to kill.
The high court made the ruling in the case of Raymond Mata Jr., convicted for the 1999 kidnapping and killing of 3-year-old Adam Gomez of Scottsbluff.
In its 6-1 ruling, the high court said the evidence shows that electrocution inflicts "intense pain and agonizing suffering" and that "(electrocution) has proven itself to be a dinosaur more befitting the laboratory of Baron Frankenstein than the death chamber" of state prisons.
"Contrary to the State's argument, there is abundant evidence that prisoners sometimes will retain enough brain functioning to consciously suffer the torture high voltage electric current inflicts on a human body," Judge William Connolly wrote in the opinion.