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May 23, 2011

In 5-4 split, SCOTUS (per Justice Kennedy) affirms California prison reduction order

Here is the early blog report from the SCOTUSblog folks on the big California prison overcrowding ruling handed down this morning by the Supeme Court:

The first opinion is Brown v. Plata (prisons). The opinion is by Justice Kennedy. The Court has affirmed the decision of a three-judge district court in California.  The vote is 5-4; Justice Scalia dissents, joined by Justice Thomas. Justice Alito dissents, joined by the Chief Justice.

The Court rules first that the plaintiffs properly convened a three-judge panel to hear the case; that court did not err in concluding that overcrowding was the primary cause of the violations of the inmates' rights to medical and mental health care.

Plata opinion is here.

The injunction was narrowly drawn and extended no further than necessary to correct the violation and was the least intrusive means.

Very interesting and potentially very important.  Bloggy commentary will follow when I get a chance to review the opinions, though others should not wait for me to weigh in on what might be the biggest sentencing and corrections ruling of the Term.

May 23, 2011 at 10:07 AM | Permalink


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For once I am in full agreement with Kennedy. They may have even been too soft on the state with the language saying appropriate extensions should be granted.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | May 23, 2011 11:08:03 AM

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