The Wheels Down Politics Show – Aimee Melton and Judge Ronald E. Reagan

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Omaha City Council member Aimee Melton and retired Judge Ronald E. Reagan join Jerry Kratochvil to discuss differing views on Nebraska’s Death Penalty.

Melton and Judge Reagan, both partners at the same Omaha law firm, are both part of new groups on either side of the Death Penalty debate in Nebraska.

Melton talks about what has changed in her duties with “Nebraskans for the Death Penalty” and Judge Reagan discusses how he came to be associated with the new group “Nebraskans for Public Safety”.

bio_ronald1The two talk about the use of the Death Penalty in the plea bargain process as well as being on different sides of the political debate in the same firm.

Melton finishes up talking about what can or should be done with the $13M the City recently “found” for the budget process — and her own future political aspirations.

On the Web: Reagan, Melton & Delaney, L.L.P.
Facebook: Melton for Omaha

You can find this, and all of our podcasts at and by searching Wheels Down Politics on iTunes.


  1. TexasAnnie says:

    Good Guess, Gerard! But Aimee Melton was referring to Judge Reagan when she compared him with herself. I’m wondering, does she think her law partner is: pro-death, liberal and ___________________? What IS the opposite of Catholic?

  2. Anonymous says:

    “What IS opposite of Catholic?” is not a rational question. Take Nancy Pelosi, for example. Pelosi’s personal positions on abortion & same-sex marriage are not aligned with formal Roman Catholic doctrine. Does that make her un-Catholic or non-Catholic? Catholic teaching says Pelosi’s conscience is not correctly formed and that she doesn’t understand what the Church teaches? Is that a bad thing?

    There are, using the Church’s definition of “Catholic,” meaning baptized and a nominal identification with Catholicism, 1.1 billion Catholics in the world. Those Catholics are likely not in lock-step with each and every word and facet of Roman Catholic dogma, doctrine, teaching & practice. So are they un-Catholic or non-Catholic in the same way and to the same degree that Nancy Pelosi is?

    Rendering to God & Caesar as it were, the religious answer to the question “Who is Catholic?” and the political answer to the question “Who is Catholic?” are necessarily different. The judgement of Nancy Pelosi’s bishop as to her Catholicism or lack of it – that’s one thing. It can have political ramifications; no one (I hope) is asking the clergy of Catholic or other churches, or the leaders of other faiths, to leave the public square. Those same religious leaders are citizens whose public actions are informed by their faith & religious practice. For the naysayers, Martin Luther King comes to mind.

    In a similar way, politicians may also look at a public figure like Pelosi and say she is Catholic or not. Of course such statements have next to no political import and absolutely no religious authority. Paraphrasing Jesus, the True Pastor and Lord of His Church, politicians, like all of us, would do well to remove the board from our own eyes before worrying about the spec in somebody else eye. To be religious or not is a fundamental human right, as is the right to be informed by your beliefs as a citizen, voter & politician. Politicians using religion as yet another political tool is a step to far and must be resisted.

  3. Anonymous says:

    “To Bumgard” – go pound sand. Nobody asked for the first five comments about Catholicism, either. Somebody responds to those and then you complain? As Bugs Bunny says “What a Maroon!”

  4. Well, I think I can speak with some objectivity on the matter of Catholicism, being on the one hand an atheist, and on the other one of the 1.1 billion enrolled, although I was enrolled involuntarily back when my poop was green and I couldn’t focus my eyes, and I don’t mean after my last drinking binge. But I was extensively indoctrinated in the dogma of the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic, as well as a very junior member of their staff (altar boy).

    You can’t be Catholic and support abortion. The dogma is quite clear. Pro-choice catholics aren’t catholic. Period. Catholicism isn’t one of those loosey-goosey liberal protestant denominations, where it’s all between you, the Cosmic Spirit, your guru and his yoga pants. There are things you really do have to do, and really do have to accept, and if you don’t, you’re excommunicated. Catholicism is, in fact, a well-regulated religion and one I’d entirely approve of, if I believed any of it, aside from the unfortunate choice of that Argentinian twit. And come to think of it, John XXIII.

  5. TexasAnnie says:

    Well, Street Sweeper, I tried to direct the conversation toward what was actually said by Aimee Melton.
    I enjoyed hearing her personal irony of being pro-life + pro-death (penalty). Yet when comparing herself to Judge Reagan, who she said was “the opposite,” I got a good chuckle! Evidently by her judgement, he is pro-death + pro-life. You asked in the last posting ‘How Republicans Vote?’ It appears they vote any damn well they please, since they can be both pro-life and pro-death simultaneously!!!

    And tell us Gerard, what/where is the Catholic doctrine on the death penalty. Is it a Catholic ‘law’ or just a Catholic custom?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Which is why, Gerard, the Catholic big tent can include you and Pelosi both, whether you include yourself or not. And the “Argentinian twit.” And John XXIII. And, if I may be so bold to suggest it, it doesn’t matter whether you believe in God or the definitive teaching of the Roman Church. Its only important that God believes in you. The real question is how you’ll respond to the Invitation, as it were.

  7. To Texas Annie says:

    Sure Repubs can vote “pro-life” and “pro-death” at the same time. We are also smart enough to be able differentiate the life of an innocent baby as being more valuable than that of say…Nikko Jenkins.

    Grow up.

  8. And tell us Gerard, what/where is the Catholic doctrine on the death penalty. Is it a Catholic ‘law’ or just a Catholic custom?

    The Caltholic position is that the right to impose the death penalty lies with the state, and it is permissible, although the Church also counsels it should be applied with a great deal of circumspection.

    Google “Capital Punishment – The Pope’s Position” It’s on

    Brief extract: “So, in the end is the Pope changing Church teaching by arguing against capital punishment? Absolutely not! It fact, it would be contrary to Church teaching to say that capital punishment is per se immoral, as some do. Rather, the Pope states that the conditions of modern society argue against its use in all but rare cases. It is simply becoming harder and harder to argue that a particular act of capital punishment is circumstantially necessary (the third element of a good moral act). The Pope is NOT substituting his judgment for the political prudence of those who must make decisions about when to use capital punishment. He is teaching principles and making a general evaluation about modern circumstances. “

  9. groper says:

    “Catholic” means universal. And within that universe are rules. Religion is government. And Catholicism is religion not faith. In fact, the RC church and its various derivatives are but an Imperial Roman pagan political spin on the Jesus cult that was itself a spinoff of the Abrahamic root of the big three (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) which all sprang from the idea that God likes incest and doesn’t like inheritance law. After all, the central premise is that God liked it that Abe chose his younger son with his own sister over his elder son who by inheritance rules and healthy genetic law should not have been cast aside.

    Frankly, if you are going to have faith, have faith. But religion is a form of government that hasn’t the courtesy of appealing to reason. Rational approaches to public policy are bad enough being sprinkled with the irrationalities of altruism and patriotism, qualities that are pretty good at wrecking policy. But faith at its core is irrational belief, and nailing government onto that in the form of organized religion makes the crock of shit that is politics seem pristine by comparison.

    THE MELTON VS REAGAN DIFFERENCES on the Death Penalty are infused with illogic, and that’s coming from lawyers who are supposed to champion logic. Reagan himself executed Joubert and now twists on that hook to justify his switch; twisting even to suggesting voters are bad when voting in a plebiscite but are good when they voted for Judge Reagan. And Melton herself incorporated the “Nebraskans for the Death Penalty”; as if the title, “Hang the Bastards and their Children Too” was already taken. But, one thing you have to say for the Liberal minded, they are slick sloganeers. Reagan’s “Nebraskans for Public Safety” is all about how you should pay for the safe comfortable confinement of people who murder your own children, in the name of public safety.

    Lawyers barely grasp logic and voters even less. When lawyers try to nail their policies upon the irrational moral views of Nebraskans, the result is ugly and chaotic. We feel our way in more darkness than we care to admit.

  10. Anonymous says:

    In 2012, $7 billion was spent on the presidential election; an “eye-popping figure” per the news media.

    In 2012, tobacco companies spent over $9.6 billion on advertising just in the USA.

    The advertising expense for a highly addictive drug should be zero. We all know it causes cancer yet is so addictive that Americans still smoke it, and so fiscally addictive all US lawmakers tax it, and yet somehow tobacco advertising costs 16% more than all the spending in the presidential election.

    Getting worked up about a NE DEATH PENALTY, that gave a drug overdose to only three out of three thousand Nebraska murderers, is like getting worked up over Campaign Finance Reform.

    I have DoD awards for being skilled at killing people. I am not adverse to justice killing prison scum. But killing only 3 of 3,000? If that’s a war on crime, we are losing it.

    My objection isn’t that it is better or worse to languish in prison or to have a dope death. My objection is that so many non-felons who can vote choose to idiotically value the irrelevant as if it matters.

  11. To Anonymous above,,,,err Bryan says:

    Any of them from Nebraska? Any of those other states have the same protections that Nebraska has for preventing a capital sentence being carried out on an innocent.

  12. To To Anonymous above says:

    Bryan can’t answer that as it has no happened. Ask Bryan about the Norfolk bank murders. They were on camera. Are they innocent Bryan???

  13. The Eye Ball says:

    I am still trying to figure out the logic behind the DP petition. If the state can’t get the drugs, what is the point of the petition other than to waste people’s time.

  14. Anon says:

    The waste of time is your posts evidently against the exercise of a decision by the people of the state, and to defy that your logic is the only “logic”

  15. NHUML says:

    Judge Reagan testified that “people are recognizing that the death penalty is not an appropriate punishment in a civilized society.” What people?

    A HuffPost poll says 65% want the death penalty, only 25% oppose it, “A majority in both parties support the death penalty.” Gallup shows 63 vs 33. CBS poll shows 56 vs 34. Clearly, this judge is a liar and a hypocrite. And since he says it is wrong for voters to weigh in, he’s also an arsehole.

    Abe Lincoln said, “In leaving the people’s business in their hands, we cannot go wrong.” If two thirds of NE voters want this, they will have it and the unicameral deserves what it gets.

    Make sure you sign the new petition being circulated by Nebraskans for Having Unicameral Members Lobotomized.

  16. Anonymous says:

    The death penalty is probably not coming back to Nebraska, even if an initiative petition is passed by the voters and stands up to judicial review. Rickets was faked out of his jock – and not for the first time – trying to import the chemicals necessary for death by lethal injection. That import will fail.

    So what’s next? Bringing back the electric chair, hanging or the firing squad? Will those methods pass judicial review at the state and Federal level? I think not, but I could be wrong about that. How long will that judicial review take? A generation? And just who will be put to death in the meantime? NO ONE.

    In order to have a legal right to do something you must both have that right and exercise it. The legal basis for capital punishment no longer exists in Nebraska. There is also no way to carry out the death sentences imposed before the law changed. So, no “right” and no “exercise.”

    The only thing that is well and truly dead is the death penalty in Nebraska.

    Meaningful, doable political change might begin with getting rid of Rickets. That’s a better use of scarce resources than putting the death penalty on the ballot.

  17. TexasAnnie says:

    To 8:41pm, June 13th:

    Repubs are “smart enough” to differentiate the relative value of human life?

    Ooooh! I did not realize that about Repubs. I thought they were simply wretched beings themselves, for having killed (Heinemann + the Unicam) or sanctioned the killing (people of Nebraska) of the Beatrice 10!

    Now that you have clarified the position of the Repubs (i.e. some human life has greater value than other human life) and now that we have good explanations about Catholic doctrine (i.e. comments above), can we agree to agree that human life is really not SACRED?

  18. To Answer TexasAnnie says:

    Life is sacred and there is a God.

    I would have thought that you would have experienced that life is sacred…since you claim to have a special needs child.

    You are just a troll.

  19. It’s not at all clear there is no legal way to execute the death penalty. Sodium thiopental is a Schedule III drug with approved medical uses. Possessing it legally is a matter of getting the appropriate DEA license, and my guess is the DEA pretty much has to issue that to a state corrections department.

    Importation is regulated by the FDA, and the legal situation there is murky. The FDA has been ordered by one circuit to intercept thiopental, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be able to. Americans import millions of dollars of meds from overseas every day, and while the FDA is definitely supposed to regulate that, they simply don’t have the resources to do it. In fact, you can you can buy DEA scheduled drugs by mail order; I have no idea what your chances of getting caught are.

    If one is intelligent about the shipping arrangements, I expect it’s quite possible to get the stuff in. Of course, the liberals will be enraged, even as they advocate evading federal prohibitions on (schedule II) marijuana.

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