(Lincoln, Neb.) The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS), working closely with the Nebraska Attorney General’s office, continues to make progress in resolving any remaining issues stemming from the mandatory minimum sentence miscalculations identified in June. Since last summer, NDCS has reviewed hundreds of inmate criminal records to determine if additional crimes have been committed while released early and if additional action is needed, pursuant to the Anderson V. Houston Supreme Court decision.
“The miscalculations and record keeping errors that have occurred over the last two decades are unacceptable and as the Director of the Department, I remain committed to identifying and resolving any outstanding issues until the mistakes are corrected,” said NDCS Director Mike Kenney. “As a result of our ongoing review, we are adding time owed by 17 criminals in the state or federal prison system. We are waiting legal guidance from three test cases to determine action on another 32 individuals. Additionally, we’ve determined that additional action is not warranted on 10 individuals who have been mentioned in media stories.”
In an effort to resolve unanswered legal questions from the Anderson V. Houston decision, the Nebraska Attorney General filed 3 test cases (Hubbard, Lybarger and Banks) on November 4, 2014. These cases will determine if they have served their sentences and if not, how much time is remaining on their sentences.
During the summer and fall, the NDCS continued its ongoing review of the criminal histories of more than 200 offenders. At this time, NDCS has identified 52 cases, including the test cases, which have been resolved through additional action or will be resolved by the test cases. These cases consist of the following:
- 3 test cases involving inmates who are currently on parole or who have discharged their sentence and reoffended while released.
- 17 cases where time has been or will be added to current state or federal inmates. These cases involve offenders who reoffended while released early and are currently in the custody of NDCS or another law enforcement agency. These individuals have had the amount of time they were released early added back to their sentence pursuant to the ruling in Anderson v Houston;
- 32 cases that involve factual situations or legal questions which are expected to be clarified by the test cases that have been filed by the Attorney General.
As there have been conflicting media reports surrounding the sentence miscalculation issue and, in particular, regarding inmates who may have reoffended while released early, the NDCS wanted to take the opportunity to clarify the record in order to eliminate any confusion moving forward. The Department has re-reviewed these findings in detail multiple times and determined that not all individuals identified in the media actually owe time on their sentence. NDCS appreciates the efforts of the media in reviewing this issue, and welcomes the opportunity to verify individuals named in media stories.
Several of the individuals reported as reoffending and owing time in various news stories are included in the list provided today. The continued review has determined they either did not reoffend during their period of early release, did not have a mandatory minimum sentence that was miscalculated, or were deceased. These cases include the following:
- There were 10 cases in which the offender either did not reoffend while released early (8) or whose original sentence was not a mandatory minimum and was not miscalculated (2);
- There were 2 cases which involve offenders released early who are deceased.
A list of the 64 offenders whose information was reviewed and action was taken, will be taken, or information has been corrected is attached. This list also includes the amount of time being added to the sentences of those determined to owe additional time.
Director Kenney added, “The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services is committed to accurately accounting for all of the sentence miscalculations which have occurred and we will continue to provide updates as new information is available. We want to continue working with the media to ensure that accurate information is provided to the public. I am pleased with the progress we have made and recognize there is still more work to do.”