Vaughn Litigation Could Cost Delaware Millions - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Vaughn Litigation Could Cost Delaware Millions

Posted: 10/23/2017 19:49:00 -04:00 Updated:
The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, Del. (Photo: WBOC) The James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, Del. (Photo: WBOC)

DOVER, Del. --- The public cost to defend inmates indicted in connection to February's uprising at the Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna and the death of Correctional Officer Steven Floyd may be in the millions of dollars.

Last week, the Delaware Department of Justice announced charges were being brought against 18 inmates in connection to the Feb. 1 incident, with 16 of the inmates being accused of first degree murder.

"We've never seen anything of this magnitude. We've never had this number of murder cases in a group before," said Stephanie Volturo, Chief Conflict Counsel with the the state's Office of Defense Services.

While the state's public defense office may not know the monetary cost of defending the 18 indicted inmates, Dover Attorney Stephen Hampton, said he believes the number could spiral into millions of dollars because different representation will be required for each individual inmate.

"Initially, they'll be appointing private attorneys for most of these people and even if they're paying $90 an hour, you're talking about hundreds and hundreds of hours. Even if it was 500 hours, that's $45,000," he said.

ODS has a budget of roughly $4.6 million for conflict-free attorneys.

Hampton said the length of time and involvement each attorney could spend on defending an individual inmate could also differ on a case-by-case basis, noting inmates already serving a life sentence may try to fight the charges to the fullest extent.

Delaware is also facing a lawsuit in federal court from Floyd's family and prison staffers over the incident, with lawyers arguing Delaware officials allowed understaffing and other issues at Vaughn to fester over the course of years, ultimately contributing to the circumstances leading to Floyd's death.



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