WASHINGTON, Oct 13 (Reuters) – A federal judge on Wednesday held high officers on the Washington, D.C., Division of Corrections in civil contempt, after ruling they violated the civil rights of a U.S. Capitol riot defendant by impeding his entry to medical care.
“It is more than just inept and bureaucratic shuffling of papers,” U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth mentioned.
“I find that the civil rights of the defendant have been abridged. I don’t know if it’s because he is a Jan. 6 defendant or not, but I find that this matter should be referred to the attorney general of the United States … for a civil rights investigation.”
Lamberth’s verbal and written order got here throughout a courtroom listening to on Wednesday, after the judge beforehand threatened to carry District of Columbia Division of Corrections Director Quincy Sales space and Warden Wanda Patten in contempt for failing to show over notes from a health care provider for defendant Christopher Worrell.
Wednesday marks the primary time a judge has issued such an order — which carries no penalty of its personal — towards the jail over the therapy of Jan. 6 defendants, after protection legal professionals in different circumstances have beforehand complained about poor circumstances or therapy on the D.C. jail.
Worrell, a self-proclaimed member of the far-right Proud Boys group from Florida, is dealing with quite a few felony costs for his function within the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol, together with assaulting police and civil dysfunction.
A minimum of 650 individuals have been arrested throughout the US over the unrest, when supporters of Republican then-President Donald Trump stormed the capital constructing to attempt to cease Congress from certifying Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory.
Worrell has non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and broke his hand whereas in custody in Might, his legal professional mentioned. In June, an orthopedic surgeon at a close-by hospital really helpful he have surgical procedure to restore it.
Since then, nonetheless, Worrell has been unable to get the surgical procedure as a result of the Division of Corrections has not supplied the physician’s notes to the U.S. Marshals Service.
The Marshals Service oversees the detention and transportation of all federal inmates, together with in circumstances the place they’re being housed in native jail services such because the D.C. jail.
However with out entry to the surgeon’s notes, the Marshals Service was unable to approve Worrell’s surgical procedure, Lamberth mentioned in courtroom on Wednesday, including this was why he ordered the notes to be turned over promptly.
Chris Geldart, Deputy Mayor for Public Security and Justice, mentioned in a press release that the Division of Corrections “has made every effort to comply with the orders of District Court.”
“The Department works to ensure the Constitutional rights of all residents and will fully cooperate with any lawful inquiries or investigation by the United States Department of Justice,” he added.
A Justice Division spokesperson mentioned the referral had been obtained however declined to remark additional.
Worrell has been in custody since his March arrest. As of Oct. 4, he’s one of 37 Jan. 6 defendants detained within the D.C. jail.
Earlier than Worrell broke his hand, his then-attorney argued in courtroom that he had not had satisfactory entry to medical therapy for his most cancers. His new legal professional, Alex Stavrou, advised Reuters his consumer was discovered unconscious with the damaged hand on Might 16, after what seemed to be a fall probably tied to his different medical circumstances.
“We support the judge’s position that the Office of the Attorney General investigate into potential civil rights violations,” he advised Reuters in a press release, including that Worrell and different Jan. 6 defendants hope Lawyer Normal Merrick Garland will “conduct this inquiry instantly and with out prejudice.
Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch
Modifying by Peter Graff and Alistair Bell
Our Requirements: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.