Bullitt County Jailer files motion for injunction against county - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Bullitt County Jailer files motion for injunction against county officials over HIP program

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Bullitt County Jailer has filed a motion asking for an injunction against the fiscal court, county attorney and sheriff, claiming the officials illegally took control of a home incarceration program for defendants and raised rates to make money.

"The County Attorney and Sheriff are profiting through their unlawful operation, monitoring, and collection of fees," according to the motion filed on behalf of jailer Martha Knox in Bullitt Circuit Court.

Knox is asking a judge to prohibit Sheriff David Greenwell and County Attorney Monica Robinson from running the program and collecting fees and give control of it back to the jail. 

The HIP program, according to the suit, was run by the jail until Fiscal Court handed control to Greenwell during an Aug. 6 meeting.

Robinson, according to the suit, "failed to oppose" the actions of the fiscal court, creating a "substantial conflict of interest" allowing the county attorney to decide who is eligible for home incarceration.

The issue came up in court on Oct. 25 when Bullitt Circuit Judge Rodney Burress ordered the Commonwealth's Attorney to investigate why officials let a convicted felon go last week without any conditions, despite the judge's order to put the defendant on home incarceration.

Burress angrily implied that Robinson or another official may have committed obstruction of justice or another crime by refusing to put the defendant, Misty Thompson, on home incarceration because the defendant had not paid the necessary fees and administrative costs.

Burress set a Nov. 1 hearing date.

Attorney Eric Farris, who is representing Knox, said he hopes to get a hearing on the motion for an injunction at the same time.

Greenwell did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Bullitt Judge Executive Melanie Roberts declined to comment, saying it is a "legal matter."

Last week, Burress had ordered the sheriff's department to find Thompson and have the jailer put her on home incarceration and told Commonwealth's Attorney Mike Mann to investigate why she was released and provide him a report.

"I don't know if it's facilitation to escape, I don't know if it's obstruction of justice," Burress said of potential charges for letting Thompson go. "I don't know what the charge is but no one that I've heard thus far had any authority to tell anybody not to follow a circuit judge's order in this county, period."

Robinson declined to comment on Monday and did not return a message on Wednesday.

On Friday, Robinson told Burress she never had an intent to circumvent the judge's order but that she didn't have the authority to spend the county's money to place someone on home incarceration without them paying fees.  

She said Thompson was denied home incarceration because rules put into place by county officials require a defendant to pay all or part of the fees and administrative costs associated with the equipment.

Thompson was indigent and could not pay the $20 a day fee.

Burress asked if Bullitt County is denying indigent people home incarceration.

Robinson said the county can provide the equipment for defendants who can't afford it as long as it is cleared ahead of time, but that the county was losing money on the program without adding the fees.

"The county is not a profit making business," Burress responded.

The request for injunction filed on behalf of the jail alleges that county officials are imposing "penal sums cloaked as fees and through the denial of the lawful operation" of the home incarceration program.

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