Man accused in November jail riot pleads not guilty
William Baine Langley, one of the Garfield County Jail inmates who instigated the American Civil Liberties Union’s investigation into human rights abuses there, on Thursday pleaded not guilty to rioting at the jail. Langley, who decided to represent himself June 15 before the recently deceased Judge T. Peter Craven after dropping lawyer Peter Rachesky as his attorney, had previously pleaded guilty to burglary charges, which he asked Judge Tom Ossola to dismiss Thursday because more than six months had passed since his plea.Langley burglarized the Glenwood Springs Coca-Cola distribution facility in 2004 and burglarized and a man’s home in West Glenwood in 2005. He is also considered a fugitive from justice in Navajo County, Ariz., where he is accused of DUI. Ossola was unmoved by Langley’s motion to dismiss. Since the original burglary charges, Langley picked up new charges stemming from an alleged November 2005 jail riot involving four inmates who were so unruly that it took 10 Sheriff’s deputies, armed with Tasers and a pepperball gun, in full riot gear, and three Glenwood Springs Police officers to subdue the inmates. Langley and the other rioting inmates had allegedly blocked the drains in their toilets and sinks, flooding their cells with water and backing water up into the plumbing so that it leaked into Sheriff Lou Vallario’s office.After Ossola denied Langley’s motion to dismiss, Assistant District Attorney Amy Fitch suggested the court follow the recommendation of the Probation Department, which suggested Langley receive anger management counseling. Ossola sentenced Langley to two years of probation and a mental health examination.With that, Langley, with Rachesky at his side as his advisory counsel, pleaded not guilty to his jail rioting-related charges and two others, including assault on a peace officer and being a fugitive from justice. A letter Langley allegedly addressed to the court clerk’s office in June included inappropriate designs on it so offensive that Ossola ordered the letter sealed. “Let’s just not have anymore of those kinds of letters,” Ossola told Langley. During his time in jail, Langley has filed numerous hand-written motions that Ossola said couldn’t be sorted out on Thursday. The case was continued to July 28. Langley, along with alleged fellow rioter Clarence Vandehey, complained to the ACLU that they were being abused in the Garfield County Jail. Vallario this week denied the ACLU’s slate of accusations against the jail outlined in documents filed in U.S. District Court in Denver. The documents were part of the ACLU’s effort to get U.S. District Judge Walker Miller to issue a restraining order to prevent Vallario from limiting lawyers’ access to inmates. Miller last week denied the ACLU’s motion for a restraining order. Langley wrote to the Post Independent complaining that deputies were 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 alleged riot last year. Vallario said Langley is a behavior problem. “He flooded my office twice and did damage to my property twice,” he said. Deputies, he said, flush Langley’s toilet every 30 minutes, or by request.
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Multiple efforts have popped up to keep the region’s Latino population informed about the coronavirus crisis and economic aid available for unemployed workers. A special Facebook public group called Coronavirus Aspen 2 Parachute Community Help provides answers to frequently asked questions and directs people to aid.