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Judge has conflict in Nebraska riot case, declares mistrial

Judge has conflict in Nebraska riot case, declares mistrial
MGN/KNEB

A trial for a former inmate’s lawsuit against Nebraska over a 2015 state prison riot has ended in a mistrial after the judge recused
himself.

Lancaster County Judge John Colborn declared a mistrial Wednesday after recusing himself over his potential conflict of interest in John Wizinsky’s case. Wizinsky sued the state over the 2015 Tecumseh State Correctional Institution riot, which left two inmates dead including Michael Galindo from Scottsbluff, and more than $2 million in damage.

Wizinsky alleges he had post-traumatic stress disorder from witnessing a beating and that prison officials were negligent in protecting him during the riot.

Colborn says he realized his conflict of interest following testimony over the Tecumseh prison’s overcrowding and staffing problems. Colborn says he has knowledge and personal involvement in justice reform for prison overcrowding.

A new judge will be appointed to preside over the trial.

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