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Former Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel appeals bond conditions

Former Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel
Clark County Sheriff's Office
Former Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel

Former Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel’s defense team has filed an appeal arguing the conditions of his bond are excessive for his charges and circumstances.

Noel was arrested Nov. 8 and charged with 15 felonies including theft and ghost employment. He was released the following day on a $75,000 cash bond.

Other conditions of his bond included that he was to surrender his passport and all firearms except one shotgun for personal protection. He was not to leave the state without permission from the court.

In an appellate brief filed Thursday, Noel’s attorney argues the court abused its discretion by imposing a high bond and pretrial release conditions too severe for his charges or situation. They’re asking the court of appeals to reverse the order on initial hearing and send it back to the trial court.

“In light of the circumstances and facts supported by the record, the bond amount is excessive, and conditions imposed are unreasonable,” the filing reads.

The brief says on the day he was arrested, Noel traveled with his attorney from Louisville to the Clark County courthouse, where he awaited Indiana State Police to serve an arrest warrant.

At his initial hearing Nov. 8, Special Prosecutor Ric Hertel requested Noel be held on a $25,000 to $30,000 bond, but Special Judge Larry Medlock handed down a bond much higher than that amount.

That was after the court heard from a pretrial services officer who had scored Noel as a low flight risk — meaning he was likely to appear for his court hearings.

The filing Thursday lists arguments by the state at the initial hearing that Noel was a flight risk due to the nature of the charges, that he has a home in Florida and allegations that he has a plane.

His defense argues Noel has no criminal history, is established in the community and is not charged with violent crimes.

They point to Indiana criminal code which “strongly encourages release for many accused awaiting trial,” especially for individuals “charged with non-violent and low-level offenses.”

The rule says judges must consider releasing defendants with no “substantial risk of flight or danger” on their own recognizance, without imposing a bond amount.

His defense team says the court failed to make specific findings as to flight risk when denying that he be released on his own recognizance, and that the order on initial hearing doesn’t have any evidence to support the bond conditions or amount.

The appellee has 30 days to file a response. Noel has a preliminary hearing Tuesday related to discovery in the criminal case. His trial is scheduled for May 6.

Coverage of Southern Indiana is funded, in part, by Samtec Inc., the Hazel & Walter T. Bales Foundation, and the Caesars Foundation of Floyd County.

This story's headline was updated to indicate Noel is Clark County's former sheriff.

Aprile Rickert is LPM's Southern Indiana reporter. Email Aprile at arickert@lpm.org.