(PatriotWise.com)- On Wednesday, corrections officials in Washington, D.C., were held in contempt by a federal judge for how they have been treating one of the defendants of the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol building.
The judge also referred the situation to the Department of Justice to do a full civil rights investigation to determine whether other defendants in the case are facing conditions that are similar.
Royce Lamberth, the U.S. District Judge, said he wouldn’t issue sanctions of contempt against either the director of the D.C. Department of Corrections, Quincy Booth, or Wanda Patten, the warden of the D.C. Jail. It was possible the judge could’ve done that, since the two took a long time to turn over medical records that related to an injury the defendant suffered that required surgery.
Still, the judge found officials at the jail didn’t turn over the records needed so the defendant, Christopher Worrell, could have his operation approved. Worrell is a member of the Proud Boys and has been charged with four felonies for his role in the riot on January. 6.
At a hearing held Wednesday morning, Lamberth said:
“I find that the civil rights of the defendant have been abused. I don’t know if it’s because he’s a January 6 defendant or not, but I find this matter should be referred to the attorney general of the United States for a civil rights investigation into whether the D.C. Department of Corrections is violating the civil rights of January 6 defendants … in this and maybe other cases.”
Many of the other defendants in cases stemming from the January 6 riots are fighting orders of detention after they were denied bond. This decision by Lamberth, then, could have rippled effects on some aspects of their cases.
In May, Worrell broke his hand while in jail. Doctors recommended that he have surgery that next month to correct the injury.
However, his lawyers said in August that corrections officials hadn’t done anything other than provide him with medicine such as Tylenol and other anti-inflammatories.
Worrell also was infected with COVID-19 while he was incarcerated, and he’s being treated for non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
At the hearing Wednesday, the judge said on multiple occasions that the failure on the part of the corrections officials was “more than just inept and bureaucratic jostling of papers.”
Conditions at the jail, which is 45 years old, have been criticized for a long time by judges, lawyers and inmates. Those complaints rose to new levels recently, though, as corrections officials worked to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
They even implemented a lockdown of 23 hours every day so they could enforce social distancing measures. Those measures were finally eased over the summer.
Other complaints about the jail include a lack of jail guards, videoconferencing rooms and computers, as well as strict coronavirus restrictions.
In court, lawyers have argued that the constitutional rights to counsel and to view government evidence against them have been kept from some inmates.