On Wednesday, a federal judge ruled that the civil rights of a U.S. Capitol riot defendant were violated by top officials at the Washington, D.C., Department of Corrections, who allegedly impeded his access to medical care. This defendant reportedly had required surgery, and the judge went so far as to hold these officials in contempt for what they have done.
“It is more than just inept and bureaucratic shuffling of papers,” said District Judge Royce Lamberth, according to CNN. “I find that the civil rights of the defendant have been abridged. I don’t know if this is because he is a January 6 defendant or not.”
Judge Lamberth held Warden Wanda Patten and Department of Corrections Director Quincy Booth in contempt for not turning over the medical records of defendant Christopher Worrell. The judge went on to say that he will be referring the case to the attorney general to see whether the Department of Corrections is “violating the civil rights of January 6 defendants.”
Worrell was previously indicted on six charges related to the Capitol riot that took place on January 6. He has been accused of marching to the Capitol and allegedly used pepper spray to assault police officers, but he has pled not guilty to all charges.
Worrell is one of many Capitol rioters who have complained that the conditions they are being kept in their Washington D.C. jail are unsanitary and unsafe. Judge Lamberth’s contempt ruling takes these complaints to an entirely new level, however, as she feels that a Capitol riot defendant is “not getting proper treatment.”
Since being imprisoned, Worrell has suffered a series of health issues, and he has been in court multiple times to fight for proper medical care. Court records show that Worrell has been diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, requires surgery for a broken hand, and even contracted COVID-19 at one point in jail.
“His medical need hasn’t been met since June!” Lamberth said as she scolded the officials, according to WUSA9. “He’s needed an operation. He hasn’t gotten it. The Marshals Service has been asking for this information. They haven’t gotten it. It took a court order from me and a threat of contempt to get it approved. Why did that happen? No one at the jail noticed he’s been sitting there in pain this whole time?”
This judge’s ruling will only fuel claims made by Capitol rioters and their supporters that they are being treated unfairly.