« Courts - "Renting Delaware Judges for Secret Rulings" | Main | Ind. Decisions - " Divided opinions on contraceptive mandate: Notre Dame only religious entity denied contraceptive injunction" »

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Ind. Courts - Update on the Clark County Drug Court decertification

Updating a long list of earlier ILB entries on the Clarke County Drug Court decertification, Gary Popp of the Jeffersonville News & Tribune, who has covered this story from the beginning, has two new reports, both dated March 1.

" Officials work to right Clark County Drug Court: Judge Jacobi relinquishes program to fellow judge" is a lengthy story, here are a few quotes:

JEFFERSONVILLE — Officials are trying to determine how to best supervise the nearly 80 participants in the Clark County Drug Treatment Court after the court lost its certification last month.

Judge Jerry Jacobi’s Clark County Circuit Court No. 2 ran the drug court program, until it was recently decertified by the Indiana Judicial Center (IJC) in Indianapolis. An IJC official said this week that in the 11 years of providing certification to more than 50 counties that offer problem-sovling courts, such as the drug court program, Jacobi’s drug court is the first and only program to have its certification revoked by the state agency.

Clark County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeremy Mull said Friday that Jacobi has followed legal procedure and transferred what remains of the program to Clark County Circuit Court No. 4 Judge Vicki Carmichael.

The story reports that the services cannot simply be continued in the new court, because the IJC requires that any supervision must be done by a certified drug court. Much later in the story:
The program lost its certification after IJC Executive Director Jane Seigel notified Jacobi in a letter: “We have been made aware of the recent allegations of unlawful conduct by drug court staff and drug court practices harmful to participants. Regretfully, the seriousness of these allegations necessitates an immediate suspension of Clark County Drug Court operations.”

Before the certification was revoked, several drug court participants made allegations of false arrest by drug court officials and being held in the Clark County jail without due process, including not being taking before a judge during months-long incarceration. One participant involved in a class action law suit — in which Jacobi and other drug court officials are named as defendants — was incarcerated for nearly five months following a 48-hour sanction without appearing in court.

Jacobi placed the program’s director Susan Knoebel and his court bailiff and former drug court field officer, Jeremy Snelling, on unpaid leave Jan. 7. Knoebel was later terminated and Snelling remains on suspension.

While the future of a drug court program in Clark County remains unknown, [Jeffersonville attorney Drew] Adams said those suffering addiction, as well as prosecutors and court staff, all benefit from a court-operated controlled-substance program.

“Essentially, the program is a good program, if it is ran properly and executed properly,” he said. “There is a need for it in Clark County and Southern Indiana.”

County officials must take direction for the IJC, an arm of the Indiana Supreme Court, while navigating how to best handle the drug court.

“We are all trying to abide by the [the IJC’s] directive and advice and guidance on how to go forward, but the fact of matter is, this is an unprecedented situation in Indiana,” [Prosecutor] Mull said.

Popp's second story yesterday is a report that "[a]nother possible lawsuit for Clark County officials has surfaced following alleged misconduct of Clark County Drug Treatment Court officials."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 2, 2014 10:56 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts