Thursday, February 20, 2014

Indiana Supreme Court Suspends Clark County's Drug Court Program

The AP is reporting that the Indiana Supreme Court has suspended the drug court program in Clark County, which is the subject of a federal lawsuit alleging that offenders have been jailed for longer terms than they were sentenced for their drug-related offenses. The Supreme Court acted through the Indiana Judicial Center. From the report:
"During the suspension, the court may not accept any new participants," said the letter signed by Jane Siegel, executive director of the Judicial Center. "Additionally, the Judicial Center continues to have an interest in the welfare of the current drug court participants and requests that you work with our office to develop a plan for the future supervision of ... these individuals."
The letter was addressed to Clark Circuit Judge Jerry Jacobi, who oversees the program that's designed to help participants overcome substance abuse problems.
At least four participants in the drug court have spent months in jail despite being ordered to serve only days or weeks behind bars. Indiana State Police and a special prosecutor are investigating its operations, and Jacobi fired court director Susan Knoebel and suspended court bailiff Jeremy Snelling indefinitely without pay. Knoebel has said she has been made a scapegoat in the case.
The four people incarcerated longer than ordered are among eight plaintiffs alleging mistreatment by the program in a lawsuit filed against Clark County Tuesday in federal court in New Albany. They are seeking undisclosed financial compensation.
In one case, a woman who was sentenced to 48 hours in jail after she provided a diluted drug screen result ended up spending 154 days behind bars. In another case, a man was ordered to spend 30 days behind bars but served 215 days.
The story indicates that the drug court's attorney is Larry Wilder. That's the same attorney who made national headlines when a picture of him passed out in a neighbor's trash can went viral. Wilder had spent the previous night partying in Louisville with some friends.


Unigov said...

Both Jerry Jacobi and Larry Wilder should spend an amount of time in prison equal to the extra days served by the victims of their idiocy. And pay whatever damages are awarded. And be permanently barred from practicing law in Indiana. Anything less than this would be unfair.

The Supreme Court reminds me of the character in Casablanca who was "shocked, shocked!" to find there was gambling at Rick's.

Mike S. said...

I love it when you share these stories, Gary, because they truly reflect the legal system we have come to own here in Indiana, and I think its good to hold it up to the light of day for a moment of examination from time to time. Don’t the cast of characters here just seem to ooze moral turpitude; and doesn’t a lawyer crawling out of a trash bin really personify our new legal status quo? I blame the Indiana Supreme Court, which has the responsibility for enforcing a code of conduct appropriate to protect the citizenry from practitioners of the profession, and which it fails to do.