AGO Opinion 82245

April 12, 1982
Senator Ernest Chambers
Member of the Legislature
353 State Capitol
Lincoln, Nebraska 6:509

Dear Senator Chambers:

You have inquired whether the State of Nebraska, through its Legislature, may constitutionally exempt persons under the age of 18 years from the imposition of a sentence of death.

At the present time, we are aware of no constitutional impediment to a state limiting by legislation the class of persons upon which a sentence of death may be imposed. This opinion is limited to the instant question where the limitation is based upon a classification of persons --juveniles -- which is already recognized by our statutes and uniformly granted unique treatment under the criminal laws of this country. See, Neb. Rev. Stat. §§43-201.01 et seq. (Reissue 1978); Neb. Rev. Stat. §43-247, §43-261 and §43-276 (1981 Supp.), operative July I, 1982.

Very truly yours,

PAUL L. DOUGLAS
Attorney General