Facing Termination, 2 Lawyers Leave Corrections Department

By: WOWT 6 News Email
By: WOWT 6 News Email

Two lawyers, and two lower ranking employees in the Nebraska Corrections Department were disciplined for their roles in the early release of hundreds of prison inmates. Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman announced the action Friday afternoon in Lincoln.

The General Counsel in the department, George Green, and Associate Legal Counsel, Sharon Lindgren, are no longer employed by the state of Nebraska. As a release from the Governor's office states it: "Facing termination, two lawyers leave state government."

Heineman called their actions "inappropriate, inexcusable and irresponsible."

Two other employees, Records Administrator Kyle Poppert and Associate Legal Counsel Kathy Blum, were suspended for two weeks and one day, respectively.

At the heart of the scandal is miscalculation of prison sentences that allowed some of the most hardened criminals in the state to get out of prison early. In some cases the release was years ahead of what the courts had ordered.

Complicating the situation is that miscalculations took place despite the fact that the Nebraska Supreme Court had issued rulings telling the Corrections Department how to correctly figure the sentences.

Heineman restated for reporters today his determination to make certain that people responsible for the miscalculation "will be held accountable"

To that end, Heineman earlier this month ordered the Nebraska State Patrol to conduct a criminal investigation. The results will be sent to Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning and Lancaster County Attorney Joe Kelly. The two will decide if criminal charges should be filed.

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