Several Orange County Jail inmates filed a request in federal court Monday for a temporary restraining order to change how sheriff’s deputies use disciplinary isolation and seeking more access to religious services.
The request comes a week after the inmates re-filed a class action federal lawsuit that alleges multiple abuses such as improper monitoring of inmate-attorney phone calls and claims that two pregnant women in labor were ignored and later lost their babies.
Joshua Waring, the son of a former “Real Housewives of Orange County” cast member, said that while awaiting trial on attempted murder charges that he was thrown in “the hole” for trying to fix a television in the dayroom.
“The hole in the Main Men’s Jail is dark and dirty,” Waring said in a declaration in the request for the temporary restraining order. “The plumbing is broken so that you constantly smell urine and feces. Showers are rare.”
Waring said he was “in the hole 10 days,” and when he was released he was taken to another part of the jail where gang members “green lighted me” for an attack.
When Waring raised the issue of his safety and asked to see a psychiatrist he was told that was only possible if he was suicidal, he said. Waring alleged deputies later “threw me naked… into a tiny all-cement cell filthy with feces” and a broken toilet.
Waring said he was denied medication for seizures while in the cell and had a seizure while confined there.
“They still have not given me any seizure medications,” he said. “It’s been three weeks.”
Waring said he was also denied checkups by physicians following the seizure and said he was never suicidal, “I just feared for my life.” He also alleged he is being denied “religious access.”
Another inmate, Johnny Martinez, who some authorities say in recent years has taken over the Orange County branch of the Mexican Mafia, alleged that while serving a murder sentence in Pelican Bay’s special handling unit it was better than the Orange County Jail’s version of it.
Martinez said he was confined to his cell from March 9 through March 16 24 hours a day during a hunger strike and then was taken to disciplinary isolation for 35 days and his mother is no longer allowed to visit him.
“I felt trapped in a small box,” Martinez said in court papers. “There is no control of the lights (which there was even in Pelican Bay).”
Martinez also said he is “not permitted group religious exercise” despite sharing the same faith as 29 other inmates.
Martinez is facing murder and attempted murder charges in Orange County for allegedly conspiring to kill two men while he was imprisoned, prosecutors said.
A third inmate, Mark Moon, said he has “been in the hole since 2015 and will not get out until 2023.”
Moon alleged he is in the hole 30 days at a time and then gets three days in a single cell “with one hour per day out and 23 hours locked down.”
Moon said he is being denied outdoor exercise, family visit and access to religious services.
“My mental health has deteriorated while I have been in the hole,” Moon said.
Attorney Richard Herman, who represents the inmates in the lawsuit, said the “rubber room” that inmates are placed in after being disrobed is illegal and was adjudicated 30 years ago.
A hearing on the request for a temporary restraining order was tentatively scheduled for Sept. 23.
Orange County sheriff’s officials declined to comment on the request, but last week Sheriff Don Barnes emphasized in a statement that “claims of inhumane treatment at Orange County Jails are patently inaccurate.”
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