8 more claim abuses in suspended Clark County drug court

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Eight new plaintiffs have been added to a federal civil-rights lawsuit claiming officials involved in Clark County’s suspended drug court program jailed participants for months without due process, conducted improper searches and made unauthorized arrests.

The filing brings the number of claimants to 16, and that number is likely less than half of those expected to ultimately join the proposed class-action litigation, according to the suit.

The amended complaint in Destiny Hoffman, et al. v. Judge Jerome Jacobi, et al., 4:14-CV-12, alleges civil-rights abuses in the problem-solving court that was suspended by the Indiana Judicial Conference in Feburary. It’s the first time the state has taken such action against a problem-solving court.

Destiny Hoffman spent 154 days in the Clark County Jail after she provided a diluted drug screen, and her improper detention led to the discovery that numerous drug court participants had been wrongly jailed for extended periods without a hearing or representation of counsel. Others claimed drug court staff had conducted unauthorized searches or come to their homes and illegally arrested them, at gunpoint in at least one claimed instance.

Of the eight plaintiffs added to the suit before U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker in the Southern District of Indiana, New Albany, seven allege they were jailed without a hearing or the presence of counsel for periods ranging from 18 days to 89 days. One plaintiff claims she was twice improperly jailed – once for 58 days and another time for 59 days.

One of the newly added plaintiffs alleges that in addition to being improperly jailed for 54 to 59 days, he also was illegally arrested by drug court staff at his home.

Clark Circuit No. 2 Judge Jerry Jacobi had presided over the drug court program. After it was suspended, the Judicial Center approved a conditional arrangement in which existing participants’ cases were transferred to Clark Circuit No. 4 Judge Vicki Carmichael.

The drug court has not been permitted to accept new cases, however.

The litigation filed by Louisville attorney Mike Augustus also seeks certification of four classes of drug court plaintiffs:

  •   Those jailed more than 72 hours without due process;
  •   Those on probation from the drug court who are alleged to have violated its rules or policies;
  •   Those arrested by drug court staff who lacked arrest powers between Feb. 18, 2012, and the date of class certification, and;
  •   Those who are or will be subject to arrest by drug court staff who have no arrest powers.

The suit alleges the actions of the drug court violated participants’ rights under the Fourth, Fifth, Eighth and 14th amendments.  

There were approximately 60 to 70 drug court participants in the program when it was suspended and then granted conditional authority.

“The precise number of class members is unknown at this time but is expected to well exceed 40,” the complaint says of those who may have been improperly jailed more than 72 hours.


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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.