Clark Co. inmates serve more time than sentenced - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Clark Co. inmates serve more time than sentenced

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Destiny Hoffman and Jason O'Connor Destiny Hoffman and Jason O'Connor

CLARK COUNTY, Ind. (WDRB) -- Two Jeffersonville residents paid their debt to society and then some with stays in jail long after their sentences ended.

It all started in drug court.  Destiny Hoffman was sentenced to 48 hours in jail and Jason O'Connor to 30 days, but instead, both spent several months behind bars.

Now the question is -- who is at fault?

This could be a classic case of "the punishment not fitting the crime."

"They sent her down for a 48-hour sanction and to be held for an evaluation for review," said Jeffersonville attorney Nathan Masingo. 

In August 2013, Masingo was Destiny Hoffman's court appointed public defender.

"And, they forgot about her," Masingo said.

Hoffman was part of the Clark County Drug Court program and ordered to serve two days in jail, even though she never tested positive for drugs.

"She had what they call a diluted screen," Masingo explained.

The problem is Hoffman remained locked up at the Clark County Jail for five months. 

"A diluted screen can be many causes for and one of them is ingesting too much water. If you drink too much water, the test is going to show up as diluted," Masingo said.

As it turns out, Hoffman wasn't the only one. 

"There were two participants in the Drug Court program who had been sentenced to serve a term of incarceration in the Clark County Jail," said Clark Co. Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeremy Mull.

The second person was Jason O'Connor, who court records show was sentenced to 30 days in jail in June 2013. 

"Apparently those individuals had served out the terms they were ordered to serve and were still in the jail even though several months had passed," Mull said.

This week, prosecutors were reviewing old cases and eventually released both Hoffman and O'Connor. 

Now the question is -- how did it happen?

"All I can tell you is that it was brought to my attention that a court order was entered that ordered them incarcerated for a certain period of time, and then it said that they should be held pending order of the court or held pending an evaluation," Mull said.

Prosecutors admit there was never an order signed to have Hoffman or O'Connor released, but say that's the court's responsibility.

"It would be the function of the judge to sign orders releasing people from jail; prosecutors would not be able to do that," said Mull.

"That's the court's responsibility when they do that to let the jail know, hey, we're going to let this person go or we are going to set bond in this amount and that was just never done," Masingo said.

Hoffman is scheduled to meet with a civil attorney on Monday to talk about a possible lawsuit against Clark County.

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