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A Carroll County judge ordered police to send a troubled local man to the hospital for psychiatric evaluation. But police had other plans for dealing with their petty crime problem. They sprung him from jail and put him on a bus to Florida.

Authorities May Be Held In Contempt For Improperly Removing Inmate

Adam Horine's mughsot taken after his April 16, 2015 arrest.
Adam Horine's mughsot taken after his April 16, 2015 arrest.

CARROLLTON, Ky. — It wasn’t unusual to see Adam Horine’s name on Wednesday’s court docket in Carroll County, where he has a lengthy record of mostly minor offenses. But Horine’s alleged misconduct wasn’t the main issue once things got underway. He wasn’t even present in the courtroom.

Instead, four police and jail officials, all in uniform, appeared before District Judge Karen Thomas in connection with Horine’s unauthorized removal from jail in the middle of the night on April 23.

No new information about that incident surfaced during the hourlong hearing. But Thomas made it clear that she is considering holding one or more of the four in contempt, which could put someone in jail for as long as 179 days if she finds there was a willful violation of a court order issued on April 22.

That order, by District Judge Elizabeth Chandler, directed police to transport Horine, who is 31 and mentally ill, to Eastern State Hospital in Lexington for a psychiatric evaluation.

Horine’s plight attracted national attention last week after the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting revealed that Carrollton police, in defiance of Chandler’s order, plucked Horine from jail, drove him 50 miles to Louisville and bought him a one-way bus ticket to Florida.


Officer Ron Dickow later said he was advised to do so by Chief Michael Willhoite.

Dickow and Willhoite both were in court Wednesday, accompanied by attorneys. Also present were Carroll County Jailer Mike Humphrey and a deputy, Matt Walls, who was on duty when Dickow took Horine out of jail.

Humphrey and Walls appeared without legal counsel. Thomas suggested that they consider hiring lawyers before the next scheduled court hearing, on July 2.

By then, Thomas said she will want to know the status of a Kentucky Attorney General’s criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding Horine’s removal from jail.

Representatives of the attorney general’s office, who were in court, and Assistant Campbell County Attorney Steve Dasenbrock, whose office has been appointed to oversee the investigation, said they will comply with the judge’s request.

Thomas said she will consider whether to move forward with contempt proceedings against any of the four police and jail officials once she learns the likelihood of criminal charges resulting from the investigation.
(Related: Kentucky Justice? Kicked Out of the Commonwealth)

She also will address the two misdemeanor charges that landed Horine in jail in the first place, involving a verbal altercation at a convenience store, as well as a felony charge resulting from a warrant issued after Horine was taken out of the jail. The warrant, accusing Horine of escape, was issued to extradite him to Kentucky from Florida.


After it was discovered that Horine had been taken to Florida rather than to the hospital, contrary to her order, Chandler removed herself from the case and Thomas was appointed to handle it.

Following his arrest in Florida on the warrant, Horine was returned to Kentucky on May 18 and taken to Eastern State. He is there now receiving the psychiatric care Chandler ordered.

Reporter R.G. Dunlop can be reached at rdunlop@kycir.org or (502) 814.6533.

R.G. Dunlop is an award-winning investigative reporter whose work has exposed government corruption and resulted in numerous reforms. Email R.G. at rdunlop@lpm.org.