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July 27, 2013

Rift widens between New Albany police chief, Floyd County prosecutor

In letter, New Albany police Chief Sherri Knight changes search warrant process

FLOYD COUNTY — A letter recently obtained by the News and Tribune highlights a fractured relationship between the New Albany Police Department and the Office of the Floyd County Prosecutor.

The letter, written by NAPD Chief Sherri Knight and addressed to Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson, lays out new procedures, including the police department no longer submitting search warrants for the prosecutor’s review, which brings into question the most efficient procedure in processing major crime scenes.

The broader picture, in at least one former prosecutor’s eyes, is whether Knight’s decision to remove Henderson’s office from the search warrant process compromises the Constitutional rights of county residents. While law enforcement agencies in the area have varying policies regarding search warrants — some see no problem with Knight’s action — her letter and change in procedure, is, at the very least, unique.

“It is hard to understand a law enforcement agency sending a letter like to that the prosecutor’s office of their county,” said Jeffersonville attorney David Mosley, of Mosley, Bertrand, Jacobs & McCall, who has more than 25 years of legal experience. “It suggests a really poor relationship between the New Albany Police Department and the prosecutor.”

Knight’s action was sparked by a triple-death investigation in March that captured headlines across the state and the ensuing fallout between the police department and the prosecutor’s office about the handling of evidence.

The letter is dated March 21, six days after Henderson held a news conference providing information about the Clutter family triple-death scene in Binford Park.

The three-paragraph letter reveals the rift between the two offices and includes statements regarding the interaction between police and prosecutors as search warrants are obtained and on major crime scenes.

 

LETTER OF A CHIEF

In the only statement received from Knight, she sheds light on her motivation of establishing the change in communication with Henderson’s office.

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