04/17/12 New business on the Marshall County Attorney’s Report during the County Commissioners meeting Monday pertained to a potential class action lawsuit against the Marshall County Sheriff.

On April 1st of this year the Jail instituted a new policy requiring the use of postcards by family members and friends of inmates.  According to the Sheriff, the policy was put into effect for the safety of his staff.

Marshall County Jail inmates Jeremy Knew and Anthony Faulkner represented by Kenneth Falk of the Indiana American Civil Liberties Union filed their case in the U.S. District Court in South Bend on April 4th.   Their allegations are that the new policy will restrict prisoners’ ability to receive communications from those outside the jail.  In some cases the lack of contact from the outside world can cause inmates to become depressed.  They also believe the new policy will result in the prisoners in the jail having decreased communications.

Prior to April first inmates were able to receive letters from family and friends and sometimes those letters include photographs, newspaper clippings, and pictures drawn by family children.

Their legal claim of the new policy at the jail is that it violates the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Georgia Boyer, Claims Examiner for Governmental Interinsurance Exchange informed the County Attorney County Commissioners and County Auditor that they will not be retaining an attorney to protect the Sheriff or Marshall County’s interest.

During the Commissioner’s meeting Kevin Overmyer told Sheriff Chamberlin, “Your on your own on this one.”

Commissioner Jack Roose said, “We’ve got several law suits out there in the last month or two.  Just try to be careful.”

Sheriff Chamberlin responded, “That’s what I’m doing.  It is a safety issue.”