By Jaye Ryan, February 1, 2014.
Clark County, Ind., Drug Court sentenced at least two people to longer-than-allowed stays in the Clark County jail, only to have lost track of them. In total, 32 days were unlawfully required between the two victims, but their stays equaled 369 days — all because the court failed to keep them on the court’s agenda and the County Sheriff failed to follow procedures in tracking inmates’ incarceration times and statuses.
“until further notice from the court.”
The incarceration errors were found during a routine examination of old case files. Clark County Deputy Prosecutor Michaelia Gilbert wrote and submitted two separate court motions for immediate hearings, but Jacobi ordered their release instead.
Hoffman and O’Connor reportedly were denied a hearing and legal representation but incarcerated simply on the judge’s whim. When asked by the court why she didn’t question her status and lengthy stay, Hoffman declined responding, possibly because of a possible civil suit against the court, the county and potentially the corrections officers involved.
Of O’Connor, Gilbert’s motion stated:
“As of Jan. 24, 2014, the defendant has remained in the custody of the Clark County Jail without due process hearing as the Clark County Drug Treatment Court has failed to bring the defendant to court for any hearings regarding the status of his case and has failed to notify the Clark County Jail that the defendant is eligible for release.”
At least one employee has been fired over the incidences, and at least one employee was placed on unpaid suspension, pending further investigation.
The suspended employee claimed he was merely following the court’s orders. [Ed: Please remember that the ‘following orders’ defense didn’t work at the Nurenberg trials and will, no doubt, be an issue in the probable civil suit.]
One county employee to have been fired was Susan Knoebel, the director of the Clark County Drug Court Program.
Judge Jacobi declined comment on these Constitutional violations, stating only that there is an ongoing investigation.
Indiana State Police confirmed that and admitted that some court employees may be facing criminal charges.