' I can see her putting them into this jail...' Judge could use contempt if Vigo County Jail demands are not met

Sheriff John Plasse says Tuesday's meeting went well with Federal Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson. While things are currently on track to announce the jails new location in May, the judge says punishment can be made if demands are not met.

Posted: Mar. 22, 2019 5:06 PM
Updated: Mar. 22, 2019 6:48 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI)- Tuesday Sheriff John Plasse was one of many who met with Federal Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson in Indianapolis. This was the first time Plasse had met judge presiding over the Vigo County jail lawsuit.

During this meeting, Plasse discussed his efforts to meet the judge's requirements for the jail. That included meeting Judge Magnus-Stinson’s requirement of 68 jail staffers.

"We kind of explained our challenges with that and the hiring process and had ten people leave since January 1st for that were full time. So she understands that," said Sheriff Plasse.

LINK | THE SEARCH CONTINUES FOR A NEW VIGO COUNTY JAIL LOCATION

Judge Magnus-Stinson had another message for everyone in attendance as well. Her patience is wearing thin.

"She made it clear that she would not be afraid to consider contempt charges. I can see her putting them into this jail and say,' well since you don't understand what I’m telling you then you will sit in the unconstitutional jail until you understand them,'" said Plasse.

All of the defendants listed on the lawsuit could be held in contempt in the Vigo County Jail. This includes the Vigo County Commissioners, the Vigo County Council as well as Sheriff Plasse himself. Commissioner Brad Anderson said it’s something that does startle everyone.

"It does, it becomes a reality that all the sudden we can be in trouble personally as well as in our capacities. That's her prerogative. She has the power to do that," said Commissioner Anderson.

LINK | VIGO COUNTY HAS HARD DEADLINE FOR NEW JAIL LOCATION SELECTION

Plasse says he will do everything within his power to meet Judge Magnus-Stinson’s demands. He also urges everyone else to do the same, before her patience runs out for good.

"I wouldn't want to test it and when you say you will pick a site by May, we better have a site," said Plasse.

The county commissioners say right now they are waiting for appraisals for the three proposed sites. County leaders have until mid-May to make a decision on a jail location. We will continue to follow this story and bring you any new details.

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