BREAKING: Legislative panel subpoenas governor to testify on prison scandals


Gov. Dave Heineman

By Deena Winter | Nebraska Watchdog

LINCOLN, Neb. – A special investigatory prisons committee unanimously voted Thursday to subpoena Gov. Dave Heineman to testify before the committee on Oct. 29.

The committee wants to know whether Heineman and other top officials in his administration were involved in Corrections Director Mike Kenney’s decision to allow about eight prison inmates to return home without finishing serving prison time they were erroneously docked.

Last week, Kenney testified that he created the “temporary alternative placement” program for the handful of prisoners, even though his chief legal counsel advised he had no basis in law to do so. Members of the prisons committee were aghast to learn that after corrections employees ignored Nebraska Supreme Court decisions to continue miscalculating hundreds of prison sentences for nearly two decades – resulting in the premature release of 306 inmates — Kenney turned around and ignored another Supreme Court decision to deal with the mess.

The prisons committee met in execution session Thursday, where the chairman, Sen. Steve Lathrop, made the motion to subpoena the governor, saying the committee doesn’t take it lightly or without regard to the fact that the executive branch is a separate branch of government. He said the committee owes it to the Legislature and numerous state employees who’ve been subpoenaed to testify under oath.

“In a very real sense, this committee’s search for the truth has brought us to the doorstep of the governor’s office,” he said.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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