A Superior Court judge Tuesday refused to order an end to strip searches at the Orange County Jail and also refused to allow the wife of convicted killer Willie Ray Wisely to take a witness with her when she is searched before jail visits.
Gail Harrington, who married Wisely secretly at the jail a year ago, said that she was forced to undergo a strip search at the Orange County Jail last week in view of a male deputy.
County officials vigorously denied Harrington's allegation in court Tuesday.
Judge Robert J. Polis said that if it has happened, it would constitute "deplorable" conduct. But the judge made no factual finding on whether it did happen and said it was not his job to set jail policy on searches.
Visits to Continue
Polis did, however, allow Harrington to continue visiting her husband in the attorney/bonds interview room at the jail. An inmate and visitor in that section are not separated by a glass partition, as they are in the regular visitor's room. Harrington has qualified for the attorney/bonds visits in the past because she is a legal aide for Wisely, who represents himself.
Wisely was convicted of the 1981 murder of his stepfather in Huntington Beach and is scheduled to be sentenced Monday.
Harrington's lawyers argued Tuesday that a strip search she says she was forced to undergo in front of a male deputy was "demeaning, unpleasant, embarrassing, and repulsive."
But Deputy County Counsel Edward N. Duran said the two deputy sheriffs who participated in searching Harrington--a man and a woman--were prepared to testify that the male deputy turned his back when any of Harrington's clothes were removed.
Harrington has been charged with trying to smuggle drugs into the jail to an inmate. She has denied it and has noted that she did not have to undergo strip searches before that incident.
'Willie Wrote That'
Harrington stated in a press release that the male deputy had become sexually aroused at the strip search.
"Willie wrote that," said a laughing Duran after court, referring to Wisely. "I've read enough of his writing to know his style."
Harrington stated in her press release that her breasts were exposed to the male deputy. But she said after court Tuesday that she been forced only to open her blouse, not take it off.
Harrington added that while she was upset about the search, it was mostly disturbing because it had bothered Wisely.
"He (the male deputy) has seen more of me than my own husband, and not by my choice either," Harrington said.