YIR: Class action alleges civil rights violations by Clark drug court

Keywords neglect

Forty people who participated in the Clark County Drug Court say they were allowed to languish in jail without a hearing, attorney or other due process. The participants filed a lawsuit, which was certified as a class action in September.

Plaintiffs include Destiny Hoffman, who furnished a diluted drug screen and was sanctioned with a 48-hour stay in the Clark County Jail. But she wasn’t freed for another five months. Jason O’Connor was given a 30-day drug court sanction on June 20, 2013, but he lingered behind bars in Jeffersonville until Jan. 24 – more than 180 days longer. Nathan S. Clifford also was detained months longer than he should have been.

Federal Judge Sarah Evans Barker ruled in October that Clark Circuit Judge Jerome Jacobi, who oversaw the drug court, must remain a defendant in the lawsuit. He sought dismissal based on lack of jurisdiction and for mootness since he no longer presides over the court. After allegations of illegal detentions surfaced, drug court operations were suspended and the program was reinstituted on a probationary basis under Judge Vicki Carmichael.

Jacobi lost his re-election bid in the Democratic primary in May.

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