A federal judge hauled Arizona Department of Corrections director Charles Ryan into court this morning and accused him of trying to undermine the rule of law.
In July, after hearing allegations that Department of Corrections staff had retaliated against inmates who testified in court about the poor quality of medical care in state prisons, Judge David K. Duncan issued an official order telling ADOC not to “harass, intimidate, or otherwise retaliate against” witnesses.
Needless to say, Duncan wasn’t too pleased.
“You sent an email directing staff to comply with my order, but you included language that challenged the legitimacy of that order,” he told Ryan on Tuesday morning.
“I would think that this would be something that you of all people would understand, as you supervise tens of thousands of people who did not follow the law.”
Without explicitly naming Joe Arpaio or Donald Trump, Duncan drew a comparison to “the recently convicted Sheriff in our county who thought he could do as he wished” and “references to the ‘so-called judge.‘”
“All of this disrespect for the rule of law is something I have never experienced or seen in nearly 30 years of being a lawyer, or in 16 years as a judge,” he said.
The Department of Corrections’ lawyer, Daniel Struck, fired back.
“First of all, let me say that Director Ryan has great respect for the law,” he told Judge Duncan, dismissing inmates’ claims of harassment and intimidation as “hearsay upon hearsay.”
Accusing correctional officers of retaliation, he said, “is something prisoners go…
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