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NE: Governor vetoes criminal conviction set-aside bill


Gov. Pete Ricketts issued his first veto of the session Wednesday, rejecting a bill (LB350) that would allow a person convicted of a misdemeanor or felony, with a sentence other than probation or a fine, to petition the court to set aside their conviction once their sentence is completed.

Ricketts said the bill weakened confidence in the criminal justice system with its dramatic expansion of the ability of serious felonies such as murder, arson, human trafficking, armed robbery, drug manufacturing or distribution, and assault on a police officer to be set aside.

While it does not have the same effect as a pardon, it removes consequences that follow a conviction and weakens the impact of serious criminal sentences, he said.

“This bill sends the wrong message to victims of crime and to society. It represents poor public policy,” Ricketts said.
Omaha Sen. John McCollister, the bill’s sponsor, said he was disappointed by the veto.

“The bill rightly did not make this remedy available to anyone who is a sex offender or who had any pending criminal cases and struck the right balance between punishment and providing former offenders with a second chance,” he said.

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It sounds like this bill would’ve basically extended our 1203.4 type of “expungement” to those who did prison time? Seems like that would’ve been a good thing and something I’d hope we’d do here as well.

The whole “This bill sends the wrong message to victims of crime and to society. It represents poor public policy,” is a seriously shortsighted argument. You’re basically saying there’s zero redemption and that people are permanently broken once convicted. That you’d (society) rather be vindictive and actually contribute to more crime than accept that upon release the person paid their debt. Is society and the victims really better off with the person being homeless? It might give some people a fuzzy feeling seeing an excon suffer for the rest of their life, but it won’t actually make anything better.

Yup, it feels very retributive in keeping people separated from society and keeping a set of people a subset. It’s sad that he doesn’t want others to have a second chance. How do you expect people to change if you’re telling them there’s no chance they can ever change?

And then sex offenders are a separate paragraph. Yikes! Fearmongering when recidivism rates record differently.

The bill rightly did not make this remedy available to anyone who is a sex offender…
“Rightly”? GMAFB.

Dear Senator McCollister,

In regards to bill LB350 in which you stated “The bill rightly did not make this remedy available to anyone who is a sex offender or who had any pending criminal cases and struck the right balance between punishment and providing former offenders with a second chance”.

Do you realize that 95% of registered sex offenders NEVER commit another sex crime? Why would you exclude those humans from having a second chance?

93% of NEW sex crimes are committed by people the victim knows (family, friends, doctors, teachers, law enforcement, etc) not from a stranger or a registered sex offender.

Your ignorance of these well documented statistics continues to feed society with a false sense of safety. Why? Do you fear your position as Senator would be in jeopardy if you told the truth or do you really love spending tax payers money on a registry that doesn’t work only to continually punish a one-time offender?

Please reconsider allowing sex offenders a second chance!


Sen. McCollister does know the facts. No Nebraska state senator can credibly claim to be ignorant of the facts. But Sen. McCollister is up for re-election this year, and if he is willing to do anything to reform the registry it won’t be unless and until he is re-elected (and thanks to term limits, unable to run for another term.)

As for our governor, Pete Ricketts, while he can fairly be said to be soft between the ears he is not “soft on crime.” In addition to vetoing this bill, the vociferously pro-life Mr. Ricketts used his wealth to buy the state the death penalty after the legislature voted to repeal it. He has since been clownishly attempting to legally purchase the drugs necessary to begin executing prisoners.

Last year, he also vetoed a bill that would have restored voting rights to people immediately after they finish a prison sentence or probation. Now, a person has to wait two years before his/her voting rights are automatically restored.

So it doesn’t surprise me that Gov. Ricketts vetoed this bill. I am disappointed in Sen. McCollister’s comments and that the bill specifically excludes registrants from the benefits of the bill. That makes no sense whatsoever.

Us so called Sex offenders need to ban together and fight this registry bull And don’t tell me you can’t cause the states made it easy to get in contact with each other Look at the list that keep growing and growing each day and over the years and in to the future soon there will be more So called sex offenders then anyone out there Use the list to bring Or Kind to together call us or email us or send a letter to help you kill This evil reg fight fire with fire and the state is giving us the tools to do it think about it. They have not taken way or right to vote. they can’t so use your power to vote out this person.

Most of us aren’t fighters, 6, and certainly not martyrs. We just want to get on with our lives. I feel your anger, but what you’re talking about cannot be done at the voting booth. No way. We number less than a million right now. That is the definition of “politically powerless”. We’d need another 50 million, at least, to become a force to be reckoned with. I don’t see the registry going that far. Also, many states still disenfranchise ex-felons, btw. Or else they have to vote at schools where they aren’t allowed to set foot, and are thus effectively disenfranchised. Besides, who is there on our side to vote for?

I would think an anti registry person would have to find common ground with other issues to find enough votes to make a difference. Either that, or make the public feel sorry for us. I don’t think the latter has a chance, but taking the angle of opposing registry laws as one of many knee jerk and generally brutal but ineffective laws politicians come up with to deal with social problems — that may spark the interest of a broader citizenship.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x