A former Clark Superior judge who oversaw the southern Indiana county’s drug court and left the bench amid allegations of jailing participants without due process will never serve as an Indiana judge again.
The Judicial Qualifications Commission Friday announced an agreement with Jerry Jacobi under which he agrees to not seek or accept judicial office in the future in exchange for the commission concluding its investigation.
The commission opened investigation of Jacobi in February 2014 as allegations surfaced that numerous participants in the Jeffersonville drug court were jailed, sometimes for months, for drug court violations without a hearing and/or without representation of a lawyer.
Jacobi had been accused of violating Code of Judicial conduct rules for failing to supervise or train court staff, resulting in improper arrests and detentions of drug court participants. He also was accused of failing to advise drug court participants of their right to an attorney before proceedings that resulted in deprivation of liberty.
A deputy prosecutor reviewing files last year discovered Destiny Hoffman had spent five months in the Clark County Jail for producing a diluted drug screen, then soon discovered other defendants jailed for months without due process. The prosecutor rushed to the courthouse and successfully petitioned for the release of these defendants.
Problems with the drug court were significant enough that the state suspended the problem-solving court shortly after the unlawful actions of Jacobi and court staff came to light.
Jacobi was defeated in the May 2014 Democratic primary election by Laura Harbison, who now presides as judge in Clark Circuit Court 2. The state re-established the county’s drug court under Clark Circuit Judge Vicki Carmichael.
Hoffman and other drug court participants who were wrongly jailed sued Jacobi, Clark County and various court staff members, and a judge ruled in October that Jacobi may not be dismissed from the suit.
Sixteen plaintiffs in the civil rights suit are seeking to certify a class action before Judge Sarah Evans Barker in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. Barker has set a hearing on the motion for 10 a.m. June 9 in the federal courthouse in New Albany.
The case is Destiny Hoffman, et al. v. Jermone Jacobi, et al., 4:14-CV-00012.