Lawsuit says governor exceeded powers on death penalty

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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- According to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, 11 men on Nebraska's death row cannot be executed because their death sentences were converted to life in prison when the death penalty was repealed in 2015.

The ACLU filed the complaint early Monday morning and named Governor Pete Ricketts and several other officials in the suit. The lawsuit seeks a court order barring the state from carrying out any executions.

After lawmakers abolished the death penalty, they overrode Rickett's veto. Death penalty supporters responded with a ballot petition drive partially financed by Ricketts. Voters overturned the Legislatures's decision and restored the punishment in November 2016.

The ACLU says Ricketts overstepped the Nebraska Constitution's separation of powers clause because he funded and controlled the petition drive.