The ongoing saga of California’s courts

May 16, 2013

Lawyers for state prison inmates have filed papers asking federal judges to hold Gov. Jerry Brown and State Corrections Chief Jeffrey Beard in contempt of court for failure to comply in a timely fashion with orders to reduce the state’s prison population.

Howard Mintz of the San Jose Mercury News reports that the lawyers are arguing that “the federal court must take strong action to force the state to shed another 10,000 inmates to cut the prison population to about 110,000 at the end of this year.”

Previously, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that California had to reduce its prison population drastically. The justices ordered the state to reduce its prisoner population to a maximum of 110,000 inmates. That meant at least 33,000 inmates would need to be eliminated through the system within two years. Federal judges ruled in April that California’s prison system was still way over capacity and threatened to hold state officials in contempt.

But last week, state prison officials and Gov. Brown notified the three-judge panel that the state is appealing the April order requiring California to shed at least 10,000 more inmates by the end of December. The battle over California’s prisons could now go to the U.S. Supreme Court.



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