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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court suspends troubled Clark drug court [Updated Twice]

The AP has a brief story:

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (AP) — The Indiana Supreme Court has suspended a troubled southern Indiana drug court that's facing a federal lawsuit over the mistreatment of participants including some left incarcerated for months more than their sentences.

The immediate suspension ordered in a letter dated Friday and made public Wednesday bars the Clark County Drug Court from accepting new participants and to develop a plan for the future supervision of current participants.

At least four participants in the Jeffersonville drug court spent months in jail despite being ordered to serve only days or weeks behind bars. Indiana State Police and a special prosecutor are investigating its operations.

An attorney representing the court said it is cooperating with the investigation. He had no comment on the federal lawsuit filed Tuesday that claims the court mistreated participants.

The ILB is looking for the letter.

[Updated at 6:25 PM]
Gary Popp has this report in the News & Tribune. Some quotes:
IJC Executive Director Jane Seigel recently drafted a letter addressed to Clark Circuit Court No 2. Judge Jerry Jacobi — who oversees drug court — regarding the suspension.

“We have been made aware of the recent allegations of unlawful conduct by drug court staff and drug court practices harmful to participants,” the letter reads. “Regretfully, the seriousness of these allegations necessitates an immediate suspension of Clark County Drug Court operations.”

The suspension will remain in effect until further notice from the IJC.

During the suspension, the court is not permitted to accept any new participants, according to the suspension notice.

In the letter, Seigel requests that Jacobi works with the IJC to develop a plan for the supervision of those who remain in the drug court program.

The IJC has “ ... an interest in the welfare of current drug court participants ... ,” Seigel wrote in the letter.

She also asks Jacobi provide a list of all participants in Clark County Drug Court to the IJC within 10 business days to organize how their future supervision will be administered.

Seigel said the IJC will keep updated with the validity of the claims of mistreatment, “Should the allegations involving drug court practices prove to be unfounded, the Judicial Center will lift the suspension and work with you to restore drug court operations.”

The story also references the federal lawsuit:
The class action civil complaint filed by a Louisville attorney in a federal court names 10 Clark County employees — including Jacobi — as the defendants, stemming from claims of mistreatment to Clark County Drug Treatment Court participants and those placed on work release.
[Updated 2/20/14] Here is the Louisville Courier Journal story, from Charlie White.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 19, 2014 06:04 PM
Posted to Indiana Courts