Nebraska's Good Time Law Draws Criticism

When we lock up the bad guys, most people don't realize that under Nebraska's Good Time law a criminal's sentence is automatically cut in half before they set foot in the prison.

Some people think that's crazy and they want the law changed.

Heather Duhachek had to take matters into her own hands.

Her ex-husband, Timothy Moody severely beat Heather a few years ago and was sentenced to six years in prison.

He didn't serve all the time.

In early January, Channel 6 News talked with Heather after she learned Moody was eligible for a work release program.

"Exactly a year and nine months and 17 days after he stomped on my face and strangling me in front of my children he is allowed to be back in the community with us," Heather told us on January 4th.

Heather was able to get Moody's work release rescinded.

She had to rely on a victim's assistance group to put Moody back behind bars.

Omaha Police Sergeant John Wells of the Omaha Police Officers Association said these cases happen all too often.

Wells said Nebraska's Good Time law dilutes the criminal justice system.

"You take the discretion away from the judge to a certain extent where the judge says I'm going to hammer this guy and give him 20-30 years, it's really ten to fifteen years," Wells said.

That's one reason the Omaha Police Officers Association is turning to social media to get the word out to the public. They track violent criminals, informing us of their status through twitter, email and face book.

For example, Aaron Camacho, a repeat domestic abuse offender, will serve only 10 months of a three year sentence due to Nebraska's Good Time law.

And there's Anthony Walls, convicted of felony robbery. Instead of serving one to fifty years, Walls was given three years intensive supervised probation...serving no time behind bars.

"The Good Time statute has undermined the criminal justice process," Wells said. "We're almost a Mecca for criminals and they know it."

Wells said this is one time we can all make a difference.

"Call your state senator," he said. "Tell them to get rid of good time for violent offenders."

Legislative Bill 379 calls for eliminating the Good Time law for those convicted of using a deadly weapon to commit a felony, being a felon in possession of a weapon while committing a felony and exempting habitual criminals.

It also calls for changes in the inmate furlough policy.

Sgt. Wells said it's a good start in helping reduce crime in the metro area.

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