Today Gov. Dave Heineman and Attorney General Jon Bruning announced they have directed the Nebraska State Patrol to begin a criminal investigation of the sentencing miscalculations of inmates by the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services.
"Those responsible for these errors will be held accountable," said Gov. Heineman. "As I said earlier, a decision on a criminal investigation would be made once the personnel investigation was complete. Now is the time to move forward with a criminal investigation."
Heineman said the results of the criminal investigation will be provided to Attorney General Bruning and Lancaster County Attorney Joe Kelly to determine whether criminal charges are warranted.
"Accountability and transparency are critical to restoring the public trust. Access to the details uncovered through this process and investigation will be available to the public at the earliest possible date," said Attorney General Bruning.
In addition to directing the Nebraska State Patrol to begin a criminal investigation, Gov. Heineman sent an email today to all Corrections Department employees emphasizing that no one is above the law and when the Nebraska Supreme Court issues a ruling, the expectation is that every state employee and every state agency comply with the law.
"Public safety is priority number one. The citizens have lost their trust and confidence in the Department and there's a lot of work to be done to rebuild that," said Gov. Heineman.
Note: Governor Heineman's email to Department of Correctional Services employees follows:
I want every Corrections Department employee to understand that no one is above the law. When the Nebraska Supreme Court issues a ruling, I expect every state employee and every state agency to comply with the law.
If you are asked or told by someone in your chain of command to ignore or to not follow a court order, I want you to contact your Director, Mike Kenney, and me immediately. I want to emphasize that you are to contact both of us and that contact should be made immediately.
I also want you to be aware that the independent personnel investigation by the Jackson Lewis law firm is complete and Director Kenney is in the process of taking disciplinary action.
Today Attorney General Bruning and I directed the Nebraska State Patrol to begin a criminal investigation regarding the sentencing miscalculations.
To the extent legally allowed, I am determined to hold those responsible for these mistakes fully accountable. No one is above the law.
The Corrections Department employees who made these mistakes have embarrassed the Corrections Department and the State of Nebraska. All of us need to acknowledge that the citizens of Nebraska have lost their trust and confidence in the Department and I want to challenge every Corrections Department employee to work very hard every day to regain the public's trust and confidence.
Public safety is priority number one and I want to work with you to make sure that we accomplish that goal.