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Saturday, February 01, 2014

Ind. Courts - "Fired drug court director: I am a ‘scapegoat’"

Updating earlier ILB entries on this story, including this one from Jan. 29th, along with this one headed "Clark County judge fires drug program chief," Gary Popp reports today in the Jeffersonville News and Tribune:

Susan Knoebel says she has been put through “hell” as controversy grew surrounding the Clark County drug program she directed over the past few months.

It’s that and the scrutiny of two investigations that she said led to her firing Tuesday by Judge Jerry Jacobi, who oversees the Clark County Drug Court Treatment Program. She said although she ran the day-to-day operations of the program, the blame for any issues stretches beyond her.

“For me to be used as a scapegoat — I am a single mom with two boys [8 and 13 years old] who have health problems and my insurance runs out tomorrow,” Knoebel, who until recently was Clark Circuit Court No. 2’s chief probation officer, said, adding that her firing is politically motivated. “And, for them to be worried about re-election, you know, I have been put through hell with this.

“All I have done is my job to the best of my ability and followed the direction and orders of the judge I work for,” Knoebel said of Jacobi, who she says she has worked under for 14 years.

She said signs of trouble to come were first realized after Jacobi requested a private investigation that was conducted in October. The investigation looked into a home visit of a drug court participant and the arrest of another participant at this place of work, which both involved Knoebel and Jeremy Snelling, a bailiff in Jacobi’s court and former drug court field officer.

After the News and Tribune reported on the private investigation and an second investigation began by Indiana State Police surrounding those incidents, Jacobi placed Knoebel and Snelling on unpaid suspensions Jan. 7. [see post here]

In the following weeks, allegations of participants being unlawfully incarcerated and stripped of their due process rights began to surface, including the case of a Jeffersonville woman drug court participant Destiny Hoffman, who was jailed for nearly five months without seeing a judge. The story received national and international media attention when outlets picked up the News and Tribune’s article.

This is a very long story, the above quotes are just the beginning.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 1, 2014 06:53 PM
Posted to Indiana Courts