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Judge denies Arellano-Felix cell accommodations request

A federal judge in San Diego has ruled it is OK to keep the alleged head of Tijuana’s Arellano-Felix drug cartel in maximum security. The judge ruled jail conditions for the defendant and witnesses in the case do not violate their rights. KPBS reporter Amy Isackson has details.

Francisco Javier Arellano-Felix and six material witnesses have been in solitary confinement in the downtown jail for the last three-and-a-half weeks. Attorneys for the men argued in court that the lack of fresh air and exercise are harmful to their clients’ physical and mental well-being. They argue that could ultimately effect attorney-client communications.

The attorneys asked that their clients be allowed access to the jail’s rooftop exercise yard. Francisco Javier Arellano-Felix’s attorney asked that his client be furnished a table and chair because his back is sore from sitting on the floor.

Judge Burns denied the requests. He said exercising in an empty cell was adequate for now.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy told the court she visited the 8-by-10 cell last week. She says it is big enough to practice yoga or pilates. Amy Isackson, KPBS News.

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