Nebraska Lawyers Question Hospital Move

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OMAHA, Neb Criminal defense attorneys are raising questions about whether Nebraska's state psychiatric hospital in Lincoln has opened itself up to legal consequences after recently declining a judge's order to house Nikko Jenkins, a convicted Omaha killer found too mentally ill to participate in his sentencing.

In a compromise, Jenkins is being housed in a Lincoln prison, where hospital staff will treat him.

Attorney Maren Chaloupka, of Scottsbluff, says the Lincoln Regional Center "is not above the law" and should be providing treatment for those in state custody with serious mental illnesses.

She and other criminal defense attorneys say the hospital is opening itself up to lawsuits and that its plan to treat Jenkins while he's in prison could jeopardize his conviction on appeal.