District judge reads inmate the riot act
Post Independent Staff
A Glenwood Springs man who is charged with rioting in jail, and claims the Garfield County Sheriff’s Department is violating his rights, has chosen to act as his own attorney in court.
William Baine Langley, 36, was charged in November 2005 with rioting in a detention facility after he and three other inmates in separate cells allegedly blocked the drains of their toilets and sinks, flooding their cells with water.
According to court records, the inmates were so unruly that it took 10 Sheriff’s deputies and three Glenwood Springs Police officers in full riot gear and armed with pepper ball guns and Tasers to extract the rioting inmates from their cells.
Langley was allegedly verbally uncooperative and refused to obey orders, and was found with wet toilet paper stuck to his cell walls. He was charged with rioting and second-degree assault on a peace officer. Other inmates charged in the alleged riot include Ryan Sims, Forest Mangus and Clarence Vendehey Jr.
The riot charge was only the latest of many scrapes with the law for Langley, who is a fugitive from justice in Navajo County, Ariz., where he is accused of DUI. Langley allegedly burglarized the Glenwood Coca-Cola bottling plant in 2004 and allegedly burglarized a man’s home on U.S. Highway 6 in May 2005 and assaulted the owner.
But that’s only where Langley’s story begins. He has written the Post Independent multiple times since his incarceration last year denying the charges against him and alleging that jail personnel have not been attending to his needs.
In Langley’s case files thick with his handwritten motions, he claimed that the jail refused to give him adequate medical treatment and fed him food he is allergic to, forcing him not to eat for three days in a row.
But jail personnel responded to his complaint saying, “you have been medically booked into the GSCO (Garfield County Sheriff’s Office) and have not told them before that you were allergic to any food items. We are not taking food away from you, you are choosing not to eat.”
In a June 7 letter to the Post Independent, Langley claimed that the Sheriff’s Department is forcing him to remain in his cell with the stench of urine and feces because he can’t flush his toilet. Deputies installed the flush mechanism outside his cell following the riot last year.
“He flooded my office twice and did damage to my property twice,” said Sheriff Lou Vallario. When Langley blocked the toilet, it backed up water in the pipes, causing a leak in offices elsewhere in the building, Vallario said.
Deputies, he said, flush Langley’s toilet every 30 minutes, or by request.
“He is definitely a behavior issue,” Vallario said. “He just simply cannot comply with the rules and regulations of our institution.”
Langley didn’t follow the conventional wisdom of the court, either. When he appeared before Chief District Judge Thomas Craven on Thursday, Langley decided to rid himself of his lawyer, Peter Rachesky, and represent himself.
Craven chastised Langley for dropping Rachesky, saying Langley has virtually no chance of succeeding as his own lawyer.
“You’re looking at hard time,” Craven said. “And a lot of it.”
“I believe the truth will prevail,” Langley responded. “I read every single law book you got.”
Langley made several verbal Habeas Corpus motions in court, to which Craven looked indignant and told Langley that there is no legal basis for his motions.
Finally, Langley retained Rachesky as his advisory counsel, but Langley will return to court July 6 to argue his own case and receive his sentence to previous burglary and trespass charges to which he pleaded guilty.
Assistant District Attorney Amy Fitch said after the hearing Thursday that Langley’s representation of himself is “fairly unusual.”
“I agree with the judge’s statement that it’s not perhaps the best choice,” she said.
Contact Bobby Magill: 945-8515, ext. 520
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User