Attorney General Jon Bruning rips lawyers at the Department of Correctional Services and adamantly denies his office ever advised them to ignore decisions handed down by the state Supreme Court.
Bruning made his comments after lawyers from Corrections testified before a special legislative committee on why prison sentences were miscalculated.
Bruning, who is leaving the office after 12 years, says he will advise the next governor to not hire attorneys for the department.
“They ought to have attorneys in the Attorney General’s office who work for the Attorney General that advise the department of corrections. That’s how most departments work. They had this in-house group that was utterly incompetent,” Bruning tells reporters who asked about the testimony. “So, for them to start pointing fingers right now is laughable.”
Miscalculations of prison sentences led to the premature release of hundreds of prison inmates, prompting a special legislative committee to investigate what went wrong. A major reason behind the miscalculations was that the Department of Correctional Services failed to follow two crucial state Supreme Court cases.
Two lawyers for Corrections, George Green and Sharon Lindgren, took retirement rather than face termination in wake of the scandal.
They recently testified before the committee.
Bruning spares little in his criticism of the attorneys.
“I don’t know what to say to these folks other than it was embarrassing to watch, for my state, that we had attorneys over there who weren’t reading cases that didn’t seem to care enough about their job and the people they work for to do their job with every ounce of effort,” Bruning says.
Bruning dismisses a charge that his office advised the department to ignore the Supreme Court rulings.
“They made the mess. We’re just trying to help clean it up,” according to Bruning. “We would never give advice to ignore the Supreme Court. That is patently ridiculous and offensive.”