Del. Governor Appoints Two Retired Judges to Lead Review of Pris - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Del. Governor Appoints Two Retired Judges to Lead Review of Prison Uprising

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State police in tactical gear stand at the main gate of James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 2, 2017. (Photo: WBOC Chopper 16) State police in tactical gear stand at the main gate of James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 2, 2017. (Photo: WBOC Chopper 16)

WILMINGTON, Del.- Delaware Gov. John Carney has appointed retired state Supreme Court Justice Henry duPont Ridgely and retired Family Court Judge William L. Chapman Jr. to lead an independent review of an uprising at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna. Four Department of Correction staffers were held hostage and one was killed during the takeover.

Administration officials said the review of the Feb. 1 incident will start after the completion of a state police criminal investigation into the death of Lt. Steven Floyd, so as to not interfere with that probe.

“As I have been saying since Feb. 1, we will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to find out exactly what happened inside James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, and what we can do to prevent this from happening again,” Carney said Tuesday at his Wilmington office. “These are two well-respected judges who are independent thinkers, with legal background and analytical skills necessary to perform a thorough review and make necessary recommendations."

The two appointees will review the events surrounding the hostage incident and related security issues at JTVCC, and make recommendations to help assure the safety and security of employees and inmates at the facility. Carney, through an executive order, has directed the DOC and the Department of Safety and Homeland Security to cooperate fully with the independent examination.The reviewers will present a preliminary report by June 1 to Carney that includes findings about what contributed to the hostage incident and initial recommendations to improve security at JTVCC. They will issue a final report to the governor by Aug. 15. 

Ridgely is senior counsel at the global law firm DLA Piper and a retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Delaware. Ridgely served more than 30 years as a jurist in the Delaware Judiciary. He served as a Justice on the Delaware Supreme Court from 2004 until 2015 before joining DLA Piper. He served as a judge on the Superior Court of Delaware from 1984 until 2004, including 14 years as the president judge of the court.

Chapman is chief talent and diversity officer and senior counsel at Potter Anderson & Corroon. Prior to joining the firm, Judge Chapman served as a Family Court judge for the state of Delaware. He also served as deputy attorney general for the Delaware Department of Justice.

The DOC is also conducting its own internal investigation into the prison uprising. 

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