Baxter v. Neb. Dep’t of Corr. Servs – Case Brief Summary (Nebraska)

In Baxter v. Neb. Dep't of Corr. Servs., 11 Neb. App. 842, 663 N.W.2d 136 (2003), the disciplinary committee denied an inmate's request to call a witness with relevant knowledge without finding that having the witness appear would be unduly hazardous to institutional safety or correctional goals.

Failure to so determine violated both § 83-4,122(4) and 68 Neb. Admin. Code, ch. 6, § 006.07, which require that the disciplinary committee state in writing its reasons for refusing to call a witness.

The Court held in Baxter that in prison disciplinary proceedings, when the disciplinary committee considers a charged inmate's request to call witnesses with relevant knowledge in the inmate's defense, the request should generally be permitted, unless allowing the inmate to do so will be unduly hazardous to institutional safety or correctional goals.

The Court found that such a requirement does not interfere with prison officials' great discretion to refuse to call witnesses whose testimony is irrelevant or unnecessary, or who may undermine prison authority, and that such a requirement protects the rights of charged inmates. See Baxter v. Neb. Dep't of Corr. Servs., supra.