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Friday, September 05, 2014

Ind. Courts - Fallout from Clark County drug court problems continue

The ILB has had a long list of posts on the Clark County drug court. Charlie White of the Louisville Courier-Journal had this story yesterday, headed "Clark County civil-rights suit now class action." Some quotes:

Forty people who're now listed as plaintiffs in a federal civil-rights lawsuit allegedly spent a total of 2,560 days in jail without a hearing, attorney or other due process, according to a brief filed by attorneys this week against Clark County officials and its drug court treatment and probation programs.

On Thursday, a magistrate judge in U.S. District Court in New Albany granted Louisville attorney Mike Augustus' motion, certifying the case as a class-action suit with two classes of potential victims.

The first class — which is seeking monetary damages for each person's "loss of freedom," — includes all people who were participants in treatment program and who were incarcerated for more than 72 hours without due process from February 18, 2012 until August 4.

The second class, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief only, includes all who are or will be subject to the jurisdiction of the program as a participant and as a result face or will face the possibility of being alleged or determined to be in violation of the rules, terms or policies of probation or drug court. * * *

The plaintiffs' complaint that was amended in April lists the following defendants: Clark Circuit Court II Judge Jerry Jacobi, former drug court program director Susan Knoebel, drug court bailiff Jeremy Snelling, Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden, chief probation officer Henry Ford, community corrections director Stephen Mason, work release director Danielle Grissett, drug court case manager Josh Seybold, the Clark County Board of Commissioners as its executive body and other unknown county work release and court clerk employees. * * *

Jacobi, who is being represented by the Indiana Attorney General's Office, fired Knoebel after initially suspending her and Snelling in January. Indianapolis attorney Rosemary Borek is representing Knoebel and Snelling, while other defendants are being represented by attorney Jeff Lowe, of the New Albany-firm Kightlinger & Gray LLP. * * *

The drug court was suspended in mid-February by the Indiana Judicial Center, an arm of the state Supreme Court, after allegations of unlawful conduct by drug court staff and practices harmful to participants. The state high court later agreed to reinstate the drug court conditionally, lifting the ban March 7 strictly to allow existing participants a chance to complete treatment and have their charges dismissed.

It was the first time Indiana has suspended a drug court or any other problem-solving court.

Jacobi lost during the May primary election to political newcomer Laura Harbison.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 5, 2014 09:02 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts