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Saturday, February 08, 2014

Ind. Courts - More on "Special prosecutor to decide on Clark County Drug Court investigation"

Updating this ILB post from Feb. 4th, Gary Popp of the Jeffersonville News & Tribune reports today that a prosecutor has now been named. Some quotes:

MADISON — A special prosecutor has been appointed to determine if Clark County Drug Court employees will face criminal charges.

Jefferson County, Ind., Prosecutor Chad Lewis accepted the appointment Thursday.

Lewis said he has not received any documentation related to the investigation, which is being conducted by the Indiana State Police.

“I have not received any documentation from the court or reports from law enforcement, at this time,” Lewis said. “I will have to make a determination if the investigation needs more information, and then decide if charges will be issued.” * * *

The ISP investigation is separate from a private investigation conducted by Fleeman Investigations Inc., owned by Jack Fleeman, that was ordered by Clark County Circuit Court No. 4 Judge Vicki Carmichael at the request of Clark County Circuit Court No. 2 Judge Jerry Jacobi, who oversees the drug court program.

Fleeman’s report looked into two incidents — the home visit of a drug court participant and the arrest of another participant who was taken from his place of work.

Both incidents involved the then-drug court program director Susan Knoebel, who was terminated Jan. 28 by Jacobi, and Jeremy Snelling, a bailiff in Jacobi’s court and former drug court field officer.

Snelling remains on unpaid suspension, which Jacobi ordered Jan. 7.

While the ISP has scrutinized possible criminal conduct of drug court program employees, the actions of officials with the program and Clark County Circuit Court No. 2 may result in civil charges related to violations of drug court participants’ constitutional rights.

Louisville attorney Mike Augustus has said he will file a federal civil suit where he will represent, at least, three drug court participants.

Augustus has said drug court officials may be held civilly liable for unlawful arrest and incarceration of the program’s participants. One of Augustus’ clients is drug court participant Destiny Hoffman, who was ordered by Jacobi to be held in the Clark County Jail in 2013. Hoffman spent nearly five months behind bars without being taken before judge or provided legal counsel.

Hoffman was released only after the Office of the Clark County Prosecutor discovered her believed to be unlawful incarceration and ordered a special hearing that led to her release.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 8, 2014 02:43 PM
Posted to Indiana Courts