Retired Delaware Supreme Court Justice Henry duPont Ridgely and retired Family Court Judge William L. Chapman Jr. will lead the independent review into the Feb. 1 hostage incident at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center.
Gov. John Carney signed the executive order Feb. 14.
The review will begin following the completion of the Delaware State Police criminal investigation into the death of correctional officer Lieutenant Steven Floyd.
“As I have been saying since February 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.
“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. I thank Justice Ridgely and Judge Chapman for their willingness to take on this difficult but important task.”
Ridgely and Chapman will review the events surrounding the hostage incident and related security issues at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, and make recommendations to help assure the safety and security of employees and inmates at the facility. Carney, with his executive order, has directed the Department of Correction and the Department of Safety and Homeland Security to cooperate fully with the independent examination.
They will issue a preliminary report to Carney by June 1 that includes findings about what contributed to the hostage incident and initial recommendations to improve security at the Vaughn Correctional Center. They will issue a final report to Carney by August 15.
Carney did not restrict Ridgely and Chapman to just the Vaughn Center, allowing them to examine other facilities in the First State or elsewhere. Under his order, Carney also may increase the size of the review team as he sees fit.
The governor also said the final report will be considered a public document, although all “communications, deliberations and work product of the Independent Review Team” would remain confidential and its records would be protected by executive privilege.
Ridgely is senior counsel at the global law firm DLA Piper and a retired justice of the Supreme Court of Delaware. He 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, 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.