CA Federal Court Threatens Gov. Brown With Contempt

In a strongly worded 71 page opinion, a three judge panel from the Eastern District of California has threatened California Governor Jerry Brown with contempt for failing to come up with a plan to reduce California's prison population. The court has given Brown and the state numerous chances. The Supreme Court denied Brown's appeal and he still refuses to comply.

The April 5 opinion is here. The docket with links to other court orders is here.

On January 8, 2013, Brown issued a proclamation that prison overcrowding is no longer causing constitutional violations of prisoners' right to effective health care. The court was not impressed.

That Governor Brown may believe, contrary to the evidence before this Court, that “prison crowding [is] no longer . . . inhibit[ing] the delivery of timely and effective health services to inmates,” will not constitute an excuse for his failure to comply with the orders of this Court. Having been granted a six-month extension, defendants have no further excuse for non-compliance.

If defendants do not take all steps necessary to comply with this Court’s June 30, 2011 Order, as amended by this Court’s January 29, 2013 Order, including complying with the order filed in conjunction with this opinion, they will without further delay be subject to findings of contempt, individually and collectively. We make this observation reluctantly, but with determination that defendants will not be allowed to continue to violate the requirements of the Constitution of the United States.

Brown is also wasting the taxpayers' money. Yesterday, the court authorized fee payment to the Special Master, of $394,216.69 for services through January, 2013 (order here.) Check out this list of the parties who have entered an appearance in the case, to get an idea of what Brown's resistance is costing California in court resources, state employee hours and attorney fees.