The Legislature hereby finds that:
(1) Life is the most valuable possession of a human being, and before taking it, the state should apply and follow the most scrupulous standards of fairness and uniformity;
(2) The death penalty, because of its enormity and finality, should never be imposed arbitrarily nor as a result of local prejudice or public hysteria;
(3) State law should be applied uniformly throughout the state and since the death penalty is a statewide law an offense which would not result in a death sentence in one portion of the state should not result in death in a different portion;
(4) Charges resulting from the same or similar circumstances have, in the past, not been uniform and have produced radically differing results; and
(5) In order to compensate for the lack of uniformity in charges which are filed as a result of similar circumstances it is necessary for the Supreme Court to review and analyze all criminal homicides committed under the existing law in order to insure that each case produces a result similar to that arrived at in other cases with the same or similar circumstances.
Source:Laws 1978, LB 711, § 1; Laws 2015, LB268, § 35; Referendum 2016, No. 426.
Note: The repeal of section 29-2521.01 by Laws 2015, LB 268, section 35, is not effective because of the vote on the referendum at the November 2016 general election.
The proportionality review made under the requirements of this section and sections 29-2521.02 and 29-2521.03 is limited to a comparison of the facts and circumstances of the death penalty-imposed case under review with those of all applicable cases in which the death penalty was imposed. State v. Joubert, 224 Neb. 411, 399 N.W.2d 237 (1986).
Supreme Court's review includes only those cases in which the death penalty was imposed. State v. Palmer, 224 Neb. 282, 399 N.W.2d 706 (1986).
A literal interpretation of this section would unconstitutionally encroach upon the judicial function. This section will be restricted in application to a review of cases in which the defendant in the district court was convicted of murder in the first degree. State v. Moore, 210 Neb. 457, 316 N.W.2d 33 (1982).
In sentencing for a felony not involving the death penalty, there is no requirement that the judge conduct a case-by-case review of similar sentencings in that jurisdiction. State v. Glover, 207 Neb. 487, 299 N.W.2d 445 (1980).
Sections 29-2521.01, 29-2521.02, and 29-2521.03 only require the Supreme Court to review cases involving criminal homicides committed on or after April 20, 1973, in which the trial court has imposed a sentence of death. State v. Williams, 205 Neb. 56, 287 N.W.2d 18 (1979).
In adopting sections 29-2521.01 to 29-2522, the Legislature intended to establish a procedure whereby the death penalty would be applied uniformly throughout the state. The procedure does not come into play where the death penalty is not imposed. State v. Welsh, 202 Neb. 249, 275 N.W.2d 54 (1979).