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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. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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