JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) - A southern Indiana judge has fired the director of a program he created to enable certain drug offenders to obtain treatment and maintain employment, rather than do jail time for their crimes.
Susan Knoebel's firing comes only days after a program participant, Destiny Hoffman, claimed she had served five months in jail rather than the two days agreed to as part of her plea deal. It came less than 12 hours after Hoffman's former public defender, Nathan Masingo, predicted she would sue Clark County and call for an investigation of Circuit Court Judge Jerry Jacobi.
Chief Probation Officer Henry Ford confirmed Judge Jacobi directed him to fire Knoebel, three weeks after suspending her and court bailiff Jeremy Snelling.
"There was no reason given," Ford said Tuesday. "She's an at-will employee of Judge Jacobi, as are we all."
"She was fired by phone call," Knoebel's attorney, Lisa Glickfield said.
"Somebody is making her a scapegoat for what's gone on," Glickfield continued.
Hoffman's case came to light as part of two investigations into drug court operations, the first by Indiana State Police. The other probe comes through a private firm, hired at Judge Jacobi's request.
"We're drafting a plan to remedy some of the problems pointed out," said Paul Lenfort, the program's interim director. "For now, it's business as usual."
Approximately 75 offenders have opted for treatment and monitoring, as an alternative to jail time, Ford said. "They pay for their own testing, two to three times a week."
Two caseworkers oversee all of the participants.
In a interview with WAVE 3 News Monday, Clark County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeremy Mull offered few specifics as to how Hoffman and another program participant Jason O'Conner appeared to have gotten lost in the system.
"Evidently, in these two cases, none of the follow-up that might typically occur in Drug Court did occur," Mull said.
"Drug Court is supposed to be a team-approach," Glickfield said. "The team includes the prosecutor, the Judge, the probation officers and the defendants themselves. They're all responsible."
Masingo claimed Hoffman herself wrote letters to Judge Jacobi and to drug court caseworkers.
"Once you plead, the Public Defender's office withdraws from the case," Masingo said. "Our job is done at that point. (But) somebody is asleep at the wheel up there."
"I believe she is going to file a disciplinary complaint on Judge Jacobi," Masingo said. "I'm not sure what will come of that. But I know definitely a lawsuit is going to be filed against the county."
Mull did not return phone calls seeking comment regarding Knoebel's firing on Tuesday. Knoebel's attorney said her client has not decided whether to appeal her termination.
"I can tell you that she (Knoebel) never expected to be fired," Glickfield said Tuesday. "She's not received anything in writing."
Wednesday, April 16 2014 10:54 AM EDT2014-04-16 14:54:13 GMT
An ailing Miley Cyrus has canceled her concert Tuesday night at Sprint Center.The notice came a matter of hours before she was scheduled to go on stage.A concert promoter tells KCTV5 that Cyrus is in theMore >>
An ailing Miley Cyrus remains in a Kansas City hospital and says she must cancel her St. Louis concert slated for Wednesday night. This comes after she unexpectedly canceled her Tuesday night concert in Kansas City. More >>
Tuesday, April 15 2014 6:32 PM EDT2014-04-15 22:32:39 GMT
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A Male High School student took her life shortly after posting a video online. The video remained online for a lot of the day Tuesday, even though the school system, law enforcementMore >>
A Male High School student took her life shortly after posting a video online. Unfortunately, teenage suicides are more common than you might think. Seven Counties Services, a behavioral health agency, said there were three times more suicides than homicides in Louisville in 2012 and Kentucky ranks number two in teenage suicide.More >>
Monday, April 14 2014 9:37 PM EDT2014-04-15 01:37:12 GMT
Sanitation workers in Dickson County made a shocking discovery Friday when they found an injured puppy in a landfill. Officials believe the dog was intentionally thrown away. "Anybody would've done theMore >>
Sanitation workers in Dickson County made a shocking discovery Friday when they found an injured puppy in a landfill. Officials believe the dog was intentionally thrown away.More >>
Wednesday, April 16 2014 11:33 AM EDT2014-04-16 15:33:14 GMT
Traffic is completely stopped in Henderson due to an overturned semi. A semi has overturned on the U.S. 41 North strip near Long John Silver's. Officials were called to the scene around 3:15 WednesdayMore >>
It happened on the U.S. 41 North strip near Long John Silver's. Officials were called to the scene around 3:15 Wednesday morning.
Saturday, April 12 2014 6:07 AM EDT2014-04-12 10:07:09 GMT
An incredible photo snapped Saturday at the iconic Pipeline on Oahu's North Shore is going viral. A mother humpback whale and her calf were cruising just offshore when a set rolled in. J.T. Gray of NorthMore >>
An incredible photo snapped Saturday at the iconic Pipeline on Oahu's North Shore is going viral.More >>
Tuesday, April 15 2014 6:28 AM EDT2014-04-15 10:28:24 GMT
ESTILL COUNTY, KY (WAVE) – After losing both his parents in a short amount of time, a community is rallying around an Estill County teen. Joe Snowden lost his mother in a car crash on April 10, just twoMore >>
Joe Snowden lost his mother in a car crash on April 10, just two weeks after laying his father to rest. Now Snowden is faced with covering all the funeral costs himself. More >>
1115 Mt. Auburn Road
Evansville, IN 47720