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Troubled Clark County Drug Court suspended

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Claims that drug court participants in Clark County were jailed for months without cause and subjected to unauthorized searches and arrests by drug court staff have led the Indiana Judicial Center to suspend the problem-solving court in Jeffersonville.

Judicial Center Executive Director Jane A. Seigel on Feb. 14 said in a letter to Clark Circuit Judge Jerry Jacobi that the drug treatment court he oversees was suspended immediately, citing “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,” Seigel wrote.

Attorneys familiar with the court expressed concern that problems were significant enough that the program could be ended. Multiple participants were held in the Clark County Jail for months without a hearing or representation of counsel; several were freed in late January after a deputy prosecutor discovered the lengthy detentions.

The Judicial Center has barred the court from accepting new participants and asked Jacobi to submit a list of current participants within 10 days “and requests that you work with our office to develop a plan for the future supervision of each of these individuals.”

Meanwhile, eight plaintiffs alleging federal civil-rights violations have sued Jacobi and numerous court and county officials in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, New Albany. The suit filed Tuesday also seeks a to establish a class action for drug court participants who were jailed more than 72 hours without a hearing or due process, or were arrested by state actors lacking arrest powers.

The suit alleges four defendants were held more than 60 days without due process, including Destiny Hoffman, who was held 154 days on an initial order of a 48-hour detention. A fifth defendant allegedly was held 30 days without due process.

The suit also alleges that former drug court staff members arrived at a participant’s home last August around midnight and one staff member pointed a firearm at a resident before placing the program participant in handcuffs and taking her to jail.



 



 

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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