A federal judge sounded frustrated during a recent court proceeding with complaints from Capitol rioters over conditions in a D.C. jail where some of them are being held ahead of their trials. Federal authorities have also “pushed back” against claims of mistreatment at the jail, CNN notes, claiming that one defendant — Christopher Worrell — had actually “invented” his medical issues. As explained by CNN, a lawyer for Worrell claimed during a recent hearing that “because jail officials had dragged their feet getting his client medical treatment for a broken finger, Worrell needed surgery” — but prosecutors pointed to a documented conclusion from one doctor that Worrell’s finger surgery constituted an “elective procedure.”
That doctor said in notes that Worrell “was informed that surgery has risks that may outweigh the benefits of a surgery. Although, we discussed the risks of infection, poor function, pain, etc… the patient’s beyond reason at this time,” adding that medical staff “will proceed with extreme caution, since it is apparent that ulterior motives are at play.” In theory, those “ulterior motives” that the doctor perceived were present could have involved a hope to have something to complain to authorities about regarding his treatment in jail. Worrell also has other medical issues, like non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and concurrently, CNN notes that certain right-wingers have “held him up as a poster child to argue the government under President Joe Biden is mistreating supporters of former President Donald Trump who were jailed after participating in the insurrection.”
In a case that’s separate from the Worrell proceedings, federal Judge Emmet Sullivan said in recent days that — although legitimate issues with accessing evidence in jail were present for certain defendants — he felt as though certain individuals were after “hotel” accommodations while in federal custody. Obviously, however, committing physical violence amid an attack on the U.S. Capitol (many of those jailed ahead of their trials are accused of physical violence) isn’t exactly going to leave you with five-star accommodations.
Sullivan “noted in a hearing that he thought some defense attorneys were bringing up issues to judges like injured wrists when they should be talking directly with the jail instead,” as summarized by CNN. The judge added as follows:
‘They’re running a jail, not a hotel. Some people want hotel services.’
Hundreds of Trump supporters have been captured and charged in relation to the Capitol riot, but most have been allowed to go free — although not even misdemeanor offenses have meant that defendants have avoided jail entirely. A commonly present offense in guilty pleas tied to the riot — illegally parading, demonstrating, or picketing in the Capitol — still means up to six months in jail for defendants.