FRANKFORT, Ind. – A special judge declared an ordinance passed by the Clinton County Commissioners on March 16, 2021, in an attempt “to tell the Sheriff what he can and cannot sell in commissary” simply went too far.

Sheriff Kelly filed suit on March 19, against the three commissioners; Josh Uitts, Jordan Brewer, and Mark Timmons, in a Montgomery County Superior Court – later moved to Parke County – seeking a declaratory judgment against the Commissioners after the Board voted to amend the county smoking ordinance in an attempt to prohibit inmates from purchasing and using tobacco-free products within the jail.

Special Judge Samuel Swaim concluded in his October 8 decision “that the Board cannot regulate by ordinance the conduct of inmates housed in the Clinton County Jail and cannot restrict the right of the Sheriff to sell or of inmates in the Clinton County Jail to purchase and use e-cigarettes and nicotine pouches that do not contain tobacco products within the confines of the Clinton County Jail.”

What this decision means for the restart of sales of previously impacted commissary items remains unknown at this time. Requests for comment from both parties of the suit remain pending. RadioMom will have updates as they become available.

The separate lawsuit brought by the Commissioners and later joined by the County Council against Sheriff Kelly, Matron Kelly, and Leonne LLC requesting an injunction to have either the Court or third party handle the commissary funds until an audit is completed by the Indiana State Board of Accounts is still active in Tippecanoe County.

Clinton County Commissioners (from left to right) Mark Timmons, President Josh Uitts, and Jordan Brewer shown conducting a meeting in this undated file photo. (Photo by Brett W. Todd)