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May 14, 2013

Gov Brown bringing California prison fight back to SCOTUS

As reported in this local article, headlined "Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday followed through with his vow to turn to the U.S. Supreme Court in a bid to end years of judicial control over California's overcrowded prison system." Here is more about the latest legal development in a seemingly never-ending California corrections saga:

In a three-page filing, the governor and his top prison officials notified a three-judge panel the state is appealing an April order requiring California to shed at least 10,000 more inmates by the end of December.  The attorney general's office now has 60 days to file its full legal arguments with the Supreme Court....

In the recent order, the federal judges found that California prisons remain over capacity, and that the state has various ways to improve medical care and release inmates without jeopardizing public safety.

The governor responded to that order with a plan that would remove about 7,000 inmates by the end of this year, still thousands short of the judges' demands.  But state officials do not want to take those measures, arguing a reduction of more than 25,000 inmates over the past few years has solved the overcrowding issue.

Lawyers for the inmates contend the state must do more to end the legal battle.  The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, upheld the 2009 orders to reduce prison overcrowding.  The justices would likely decide next fall whether to review the issue again.

May 14, 2013 at 10:05 AM | Permalink


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I think the judges should order this govt fucktards arrest and imprisonment into one of his own prisons. In GENERAL POPULATION where he will stay until his prison numbers meet those required by the court!

If he like so many 100's of others DIE there. GREAT!

Posted by: rodsmith | May 14, 2013 11:53:35 AM

I am going to be very surprised if SCOTUS bothers to take any such appeal.

They were interested in the question of 'whether' (also 'when' if the answer was 'yes' to the 'whether' prong) such release orders can be issued. I just don't see them being very interested in answering the question of 'what' as to final remedy once the earlier hurdles have been overcome. Everything I see about SCOTUS says they are far more interested in answering legal questions while leaving factual questions for others.

So I expect a denial without comment, or maybe a denial with dissent, but a grant would very much surprise me.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | May 14, 2013 12:08:39 PM

Soronel --

The Court is likely to have no choice but to take it. As Kent has pointed out on C&C, Congress has placed prisoner release orders into that select group of cases where a party can appeal to the Supreme Court as a matter of right. If the jurisdictional prerequisites are met, the high court has to take it. This differentiates the case from petitions for certiorari, which the Court can grant or (much more frequently) deny.

Whether Gov. Moonbeam wins on the merits is, of course, a different matter.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 14, 2013 12:32:01 PM

It would be interesting to see at what point the 3-Judge Panel decides to hold senior California officials, up to and including the Governor and the Commissioner of Corrections, in contempt of court and incarcerate them. Historically, Judges have been loathe to incarcerate public officials, choosing instead to impose fines, which are ultimately paid with taxpayer dollars. That practice enables senior elected and public officials to effectively ignore or address valid Court Orders without much real accountability. Public officials and Governors should not be above the law. If they don't comply with the 3-Judge panel's Orders, then those Judges should have the U.S. Marshals go to their offices and take them into custody.

Posted by: Jim Gormley | May 14, 2013 1:35:51 PM

Personally i think the USSC should take the case.

Then issue the following order!

"We have no need to look at any other evidence. Based on the previous evidence in this case. We stand by our prior order to release the prisoners. To help you in that endevor we now order the appropriate Federal Marshalls to Arrest for Contemt of Court The Governor of Calif. He is to be taken to the nearest state prison and placed in general population. He will stay there until the state complies with the prior order!"

Hopefully they can manage to do this before their fucked up prison system whose medical section is still under a prior federal takeover manages to kill him!

Posted by: rodsmith | May 15, 2013 1:44:44 AM

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