News and Tribune

Clark County

January 30, 2014

Man sits 2 weeks in jail before hearing

State statute requires an initial hearing happen within 72 hours

(Continued)

JEFFERSONVILLE — Clifford’s 2013 three-month sentence

Masingo said Clifford’s due process rights have been violated at the hands of Clark County Circuit Court No. 2 not once, but twice.

“ ... last year, he [Clifford] was held for three months without a bond pending his placement in a halfway house,” he said.

Clifford was placed in the Clark County jail in March, not on a sanction for a drug court violation, but on a hold pending an opening in a halfway house. Clifford did have multiple earlier sanctions in his time in drug court, which he entered in mid-2012, according to online court records.

Clifford sat in jail for nearly three months until early June. During that time, he was never taken before a judge, given a bond or provided legal counsel, Masingo said.

“You can’t hold someone for three months without setting a bond on him and providing an attorney,” Masingo said. “It is one thing to have those minor sanctions put in, but to detain someone for a three-month period is a different matter.”

Online court records show no hearings for Clifford between March 14 and early June.

“He [Clifford] was never brought up to court until he was transported to a halfway house on June 4,” he said.

While Masingo says Clifford’s rights were violated, he acknowledged placement at a halfway house can take a lengthy amount of time.

“These facilities are pretty crowded; however, it is excessive to hold him [Clifford] in jail for that period of time,” he said. “They had other options. They could have put him in day reporting. They could have put him on the home incarceration program.

While Masingo is no longer Clifford’s counsel, he said Clifford may have grounds to retain another attorney for a civil suit against Clark County.

“I believe he has a civil action just like the other people who were detained too long,” Masingo said of both of Clifford’s incarcerations.

According to court records, Clifford was released to the halfway house and ordered to report daily to a case manager. He failed to do so July 10 and 11. He was ordered held on a 48-hour bond on Aug. 1.

A petition was filed Sept. 3 to terminate Clifford from Drug Court and he was picked up on a warrant Jan. 16.

His initial charges from August 2011 were possession of a schedule I, II, III or IV controlled substance and unlawful possession of a syringe, both class D felonies; and public intoxication, a misdemeanor.

Jacobi has not commented on matters pertaining to drug court. A court clerk said he would not comment because of an ongoing investigation.

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