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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Ind. Courts - " 'A BIG SCREW UP:' Woman sentenced to two days in Clark County jail serves five months"

Updating this post from earlier today, the ILB has learned via this story in The Daily Caller of a long Jan. 24th story by Gary Popp in the Jeffersonville News & Tribune with a different focus. It begins:

JEFFERSONVILLE — Editor’s note: This is an updated version of the original story.

A participant of the Clark County Drug Court Treatment Program sentenced to 48 hours in the Clark County jail was released from the facility Thursday — 154 days after being placed behind bars.

Destiny Hoffman, 34, Jeffersonville, was ordered to serve two days in jail on Aug. 22 by Clark County Circuit Court No. 2 Judge Jerry Jacobi.

The sentence came after Hoffman provided a diluted drug screen result, a violation of the drug court program, which Jacobi oversees.

Jacobi instructed the Clark County Sheriff’s Office through a bond notice to hold Hoffman under no bond and for her “to be held until further order of the court.”

But Jacobi never issued that order, and Hoffman remained behind bars for more than five months.

Even though Hoffman was released from the jail Thursday, she has said she may seek a civil suit against Clark County, resulting in another black eye for the embattled drug treatment program.

According to court records, after Hoffman’s two-day jail sentence, she was to be “[held] pending evaluation and treatment recommendation,” but that evaluation or recommendation never took place.

Records show Jacobi ordered Hoffman’s incarceration without a hearing or legal counsel.

It is unknown how much longer Hoffman would have remained in the jail had it not been for the efforts of Clark County Deputy Prosecutor Michaelia Gilbert, who first questioned the woman’s incarceration while reviewing old case files Wednesday.

Later in the day, Gilbert entered the motion for an immediate status hearing. According to the motion Gilbert drafted, Hoffman’s civil liberties were violated by the term of incarceration.

There is much more to the story. It concludes:
A lawsuit would add to the controversy surrounding Jacobi and the drug treatment program. The Clark County prosecutor’s office is expected to determine in the near future if criminal charges are appropriate for two drug court program employees, Susan Knoebel and Jeremy Snelling, who were placed on unpaid leave Jan. 7 and continue to be on suspensions.

As Jacobi was not in court Thursday, he was not reached for comment on Hoffman’s incarceration.

“I can’t explain it,” Masingo said about how Hoffman ended up in jail so long. “It is something the court should have known about. Obviously, it fell off their docket, and they just forgot about it.

“For the last several months,” he added, “she has been sitting in jail without counsel and without knowing what is going on.”

A pretrial hearing concerning the matter will be held Monday in the Office of the Clark County Prosecutor.

“The prosecutor and I are going to go over her options, but we expect she will be released from the drug court and all charges will be dropped,” Masingo said.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 29, 2014 01:55 PM
Posted to Indiana Courts