Shortages Cited in Nebraska Judiciary Staff, Mental Health

LINCOLN–(AP Feb. 21)–Nebraska’s chief Supreme Court justice is warning lawmakers that staff shortages in the state’s judiciary branch and untenable backlogs in the mental health evaluations of those charged with crimes need to be addressed.

Nebraska Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Heavican said in his annual State of the Judiciary address Tuesday that at last count in July, 12% of judicial staff jobs were vacant. Heavican says courts have begun implementing “extraordinary measures” to fill those vacancies, including giving hiring and referral bonuses.

The chief justice also called on lawmakers to address a shortage of access to 24-hour mental health facilities, which weighs heavily on law enforcement and the judicial branch.