Author: Goss told “Bald-Faced Lie” on the Cost of the Death Penalty*

*Note that this post has been updated below with a response from the anti-Death Penalty group.

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 9.20.58 AMThe Legal Director of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, who was quoted by Creighton professor Ernie Goss in his analysis of the legal cost of the death penalty, says that Goss told a “bald-faced lie” when quoting him in his analysis.

Kent S. Scheidegger wrote on his blog that…

“Opponents (of the death penalty) are not above outright lying when they think they can get away with it.

A whopper has just come to my attention from the state of Nebraska, where the people are going to vote on whether to abolish or retain the death penalty.”

Well, there is a start.

It seems that Goss quoted Scheidegger in a portion of his analysis:

“(Goss and his team are) not saying that this is their interpretation of my results. They are saying that these are my exact words and my interpretation. This is a bald-faced lie.”

The gist?

Goss claims that — nay, QUOTES Scheidegger that…

“There is no credible evidence that replacing the death penalty with life without parole will result in significant added trial costs…”

But Scheidegger says he wrote the exact OPPOSITE of this, and moreover, there is of course no quote from him that Goss could have used to make such a statement.

Scheidegger actually found that, “counties with the death penalty disposed of 18.9% of murder cases with a plea and long sentence compared to 5.0% for counties with no death penalty.”

And by the way, he notes this comes from “the only other study on the subject I know of from an independent source.


Couple this whole thing with Goss’s use of out-of-state statistics to come up with the numbers they are throwing around, the state of Nebraska’s analysis which disputes this and the Attorney General’s statements…and this analysis comes further into question.

It will be interesting to see how often that $14M number from Goss gets used by the press between now and Election Day.


Leavenworth St. received a response from Dan Parsons at “Retain a Just Nebraska”, the anti-death penalty group which paid for the Ernie Goss study.

Parsons states that Goss misidentified the quote referenced by Kent S. Scheidegger above, and has sent an apology to Mr. Scheidegger. Parsons states that the quote should have been attributed as follows:

48 Arthur L. Alarcón and Paula M. Mitchell, Costs of Capital Punishment in California: Will Voters Choose Reform this November?, 46 Loy. L.A. L. Rev. S1 (2012). Accessed at

This source has been updated on Goss’ study that is on the RaJN website.

Now HERE’s the irony:

Scheidegger’s version of this analysis is exactly the opposite of the analysis Goss references in the updated version.

In other words, someone in Goss’ office was reading the Scheidegger version, and seemingly was so fixated on it, they actually cut and pasted the reference to that version in their report.

And note, again, what Scheidegger says: an INDEPENDENT study says, “counties with the death penalty disposed of 18.9% of murder cases with a plea and long sentence compared to 5.0% for counties with no death penalty.”

So, in the end it was kind of Goss to point people to this INDEPENDENT study that contradicts the study paid for by the anti-death penalty group.



And the folks against the death penalty like to present their polls of people who are now against it as well.

Funny they didn’t show this report, from Cal-Berkeley:

“California voters oppose an effort to abolish the death penalty and strongly support a competing measure that would streamline procedures in capital cases…”

That’s CALIFORNIA voters.
And the study is from Cal-Berkeley. What are the odds of arguably the most liberal educational institution in the country overstating their study? These are the people who don’t like a flag flying on the back of a fire engine.

It will be interesting to see, when November rolls around, whether the Unicameral is in-step or out of step with Nebraska voters on this issue.


Executive session

The Executive Board of the Unicameral meets today to discuss what to do with a problem like Senator Bill Kintner.

It would seem that the main issue before them is whether to hold a special session to deal with it, or to wait until January. The guess here is that they won’t wait.

And if they do call for the Special Session, the ball will be back in Kintner’s court. One would assume that they will only call a Special Session if they have the votes to either expel him or impeach him. Why call the session of they don’t have the votes, or are just going to slap his wrist?

And if they DO have the votes, Kintner will have to think whether it is worth it to him to fight this. Because of his actions they did a year-long investigation. Because of his actions he has brought this embarrassment upon the state, the party and his family. And Kintner is not arguing the facts of the case. What would be the point of fighting what would be a sure thing?

Of course if they DON’T have the votes, no matter what double-secret probation they bring down on Kintner won’t really matter. And then they’ll still have to deal with Ernie Chambers bringing it up every day starting in January.

Someone better start counting.


Invoking Senator Curtis

OK, OK, it’s a Carl Curtis Open Comment Friday, so dive into the political topics you so desire in the comments.

If the Board comes out with something momentous, there may be another post up here today. Otherwise, keep up by following @LeavenworthSt on the Twitter.  And Like Leavenworth St. on The Facebook and/or sign up to for email updates (up top on the right) to get notified whenever there is a new post up.

Because THAT is how you stay updated on the talk of Nebraska politics!

Have a great weekend!


  1. Pete says:

    I’m extremely disappointed in Dr. Goss for the misleading, nay false study that he released. I’ve admired his work for years, and have always trusted his findings. This is a major hit to his credibility. People rely on smarter people who we can trust, who have the time to research issues, to give us the facts without bias.

    • Oracle says:

      Goss has always been a hack, willing to sell himself to the highest bidder, which in the past has generally been right leaning causes. I wish Retain a Just Nebraska would have stayed far away from him.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is a hit to his credibility, as is the boondoggle of the Ralston arena he said would be financially viable. And we’ve seen how thats turning out…

      • Anonymous says:

        Ralston’s administration pitched the arena and Ralston’s voters approved the project. Goss did not single-handedly force anyone to do anything. If someone offers bad advice, shame on them. If you take that advice, shame on you.

  2. bynd says:

    According to WebMD, 26% of men who use the internet go to porn sites. So rounding up, which of the three members on the executive committee will vote as hypocrites? And if just three vote against it, does that mean anything?

    Just who is on public trial here?

    • Internet Porn Watcher says:

      Wrong again Bynd.

      The question isn’t what percentage of internet users view porn. It is, should a state senator use a state issued computer to create porn.

  3. bynd says:

    Internet porn watcher I don’t think so,

    Since he didn’t create porn your question is a moot point. Unless of course, watching him has stimulated a compulsive interest in it by you.

  4. The Eye Ball says:

    On the death penalty issue, most of the pro-death penalty people have no recognition of how much the heals dig in when you seek the death penalty for a murderer. Many attorneys will volunteer free time to prevent an execution. This means in seeking the death penalty, prosecutors have to make certain they have all contingency arguments taken care of but this involves a substantial cost. Nebraska actually has a state wide government agency to help counties do just that with such cases. The pro-death penalty advocates ignore the actual subsidies to make the death penalty possible. The vast majority of counties in Nebraska cannot afford to seek the death penalty in a murder case. You won’t hear about this because it is a dirty secret among prosecutors.

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