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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. "So we broke with England for the right to "off" our preborn progeny at will, and allow the processing plant doing the dirty deeds (dirt cheap) to profit on the marketing of those "products of conception." I was completely maleducated on our nation's founding, it would seem. (But I know the ACLU is hard at work to remedy that, too.)" Well, you know, we're just following in the footsteps of our founders who raped women, raped slaves, raped children, maimed immigrants, sold children, stole property, broke promises, broke apart families, killed natives... You know, good God fearing down home Christian folk! :/

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  3. Whilst it may be true that Judges and Justices enjoy such freedom of time and effort, it certainly does not hold true for the average working person. To say that one must 1) take a day or a half day off work every 3 months, 2) gather a list of information including recent photographs, and 3) set up a time that is convenient for the local sheriff or other such office to complete the registry is more than a bit near-sighted. This may be procedural, and hence, in the near-sighted minds of the court, not 'punishment,' but it is in fact 'punishment.' The local sheriffs probably feel a little punished too by the overwork. Registries serve to punish the offender whilst simultaneously providing the public at large with a false sense of security. The false sense of security is dangerous to the public who may not exercise due diligence by thinking there are no offenders in their locale. In fact, the registry only informs them of those who have been convicted.

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  5. A common refrain in the comments on this website comes from people who cannot locate attorneys willing put justice over retainers. At the same time the judiciary threatens to make pro bono work mandatory, seemingly noting the same concern. But what happens to attorneys who have the chumptzah to threatened the legal status quo in Indiana? Ask Gary Welch, ask Paul Ogden, ask me. Speak truth to power, suffer horrendously accordingly. No wonder Hoosier attorneys who want to keep in good graces merely chase the dollars ... the powers that be have no concerns as to those who are ever for sale to the highest bidder ... for those even willing to compromise for $$$ never allow either justice or constitutionality to cause them to stand up to injustice or unconstitutionality. And the bad apples in the Hoosier barrel, like this one, just keep rotting.

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