News and Tribune

Police & Fire News

March 25, 2014

Criminal charges against Clark County drug court personnel under review

Special prosecutor in process of gathering information

JEFFERSONVILLE — The special prosecutor named to decide if criminal charges will be filed against former Clark County Drug Court employees is one step closer to reaching a decision.

Jefferson County [Ind.] Prosecutor Chad Lewis confirmed today that he has received and reviewed the [Indiana State Police] report regarding allegations from former drug court participants. “However, no charging decisions have been made at this time,” he said.

After being appointed in February to eventually determine if charges are appropriate, Lewis said he had not yet received any documentation related to the case.

He said at the time that he didn’t not know who the subject[s] of the investigation may be or what possible crimes are being investigated.

While Indiana State Police has said it will not confirm or deny if the agency is investigating the matter, ISP has conducted the criminal investigation.

The investigation follows claims from drug court participants of abuse related to unlawful arrest by former program personnel Susan Knoebel and Jeremy Snelling.

Knoebel was the drug court’s director, until she was fired Jan. 28. Snelling is a former drug court field officer and a bailiff in Judge Jacobi’s Clark County Circuit Court No. 2, which oversaw the drug court program. Snelling was placed on unpaid leave Jan. 6 and remains on suspension.

Lewis was appointed after Clark County Prosecutor Steve Stewart deferred his involvement in the matter.

The ISP investigation has not been publicly disclosed; however, Stewart’s petition in February to appoint the prosecutor did confirm that troopers “ ... had opened an investigation relating to allegations of abuses by officers and employees of Clark County Circuit Court #2 Drug Court, including allegations which may constitute crimes under Indiana Law.”

Without the investigative report’s release, it remains unknown what all troopers have investigation, but complaints of drug court participants James “Cody” Hendrick and Amy Bennett are expected to have sparked the investigation.

In an email sent Tuesday, Lewis said, “I am giving the attorneys for the targets of the investigation time to provide any material or documents that they want me to consider in making charging decisions.”

If criminal charges are filed, attorney Brad Jacobs said he will represent Snelling.

Jacobs said Snelling has sent Lewis a letter that outlines his innocence. Jacobs said Snelling has told him that before he took drug court participants in his custody as a field officer for transport to jail, he explained to the participants that they were not required to come with him, but that a warrant was active for their arrests, and he would contact area law enforcement to respond and make the arrests.

“I guess what he [Lewis] is looking at is confinement. And, while [Hendrick] or Amy Bennett may have not felt they were free to resist, the intent of [Snelling] is what is at issue. And, there was no criminal intent,” Jacobs said.

“He never had any intent at all to confine someone against their will,” Jacobs added.

Knoebel’s attorney Lisa Glickfield was reached by phone, but her schedule did not allow her to provide comment before press time.

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