What is the Law on 'Abuse of authority' in Nebraska and What are the Punishments for it?
In Nebraska, public servants including public employees are punishable for acts that involve abuse of office and breach of public trust. The penalties differ depending on the severity of the misconduct and any harm that may have been caused as a result of the misconduct. The penalty can include censure, imprisonment, restitution, hefty fines, removal from the position of authority, and even permanent disqualification for state positions.
What Nebraska Law Says About Abuse of Authority?
Chapter 49 of Nebraska Revised Statutes explains how the Law shall deal with violators. Section 49-14, 126 describes how the Ethics Commission shall act if it finds an individual guilty of an act of violation of Nebraska Political Accountability and Disclosure Act.
According to Section 49-14, 126, an individual who has been found by the Ethics Commission to have violated the Nebraska Political Accountability and Disclosure Act, or any of the Act’s regulation or rule, may be ordered by the Commission to do any or more of the following:
- Refrain from committing the act of violation;
- Adhere to the Commission’s orders of filing a report, statement, or any other information;
- Make a civil payment of an amount not exceeding $2000 for each act of violation of the Act or a regulation or rule therein;
- Pay hearing costs in a contested case if the individual fails to appear the hearing either in person or through counsel.
Specific Laws On Abuse of Authority in Nebraska and Corresponding Penalty
- According to Section 28-917 (Bribery; penalty), an individual who is a peace officer or a public servant, is guilty of a violation of the individual does the following:
o Solicits, accepts, or makes an agreement to accept, any benefit following an understanding or agreement that the individual will violate his or her oath of office or public duty by committing any of the following acts:
- Amending or changing his or her opinion, judgment, vote, the exercise of discretion, or
- Any other action or inaction performed in the individual’s capacity as a public servant or peace officer.
o Accepting bribe is a Class IV Felony. According to Nebraska Revised Statutes, a Class IV Felony is punishable by imprisonment for a period of up to 2 years maximum, and/ or a fine of $10,000. The guilty individual shall also be subject to post-release supervision for up to 12 months maximum.
- According to Section 28-925 (Misuse of official information; penalty):
o Any public servant who contemplates an official action by himself or herself, or by involving the governmental unit with which he or she is associated; or by depending on information that he or she has access to as a result of his or her official position and which is not public information, is guilty of misusing official information upon commission of any of the following acts:
- Makes a pecuniary benefit out of any transaction, property or enterprise that may be affected by such official action or information; or
- Makes speculation or wager on the basis of such official action or information; or
- Aids encourages or advises another individual to perform any of the above-mentioned deeds so that any other person gets a special pecuniary benefit.
o Misuse of official information is a Class III misdemeanor. According to Section 28-106, a Class III misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of 3 months and/ or a fine of $500.
- According to Section 28-924 (Official misconduct; penalty):
o A public servant commits an act of official misconduct if the individual violates, knowingly, any statute or a rule or regulation that falls within the purview of the individual’s official duties, and that has been lawfully adopted.
o An individual upon conviction for Official Misconduct is punishable for committing a Class II misdemeanor, which is punishable by a maximum imprisonment term of 6 months and/ or a fine of $1,000.