Sorry, Arnie: Federal Judges Reject Stay On Prison Plan
The message from the panel of judges to Sacramento yesterday was, you broke it, you bought it:
Reporting from Sacramento - A panel of federal judges, accusing California officials of obstruction, on Thursday denied the state's request to delay an order to produce a plan for reducing its prison population by 40,000 inmates.
Aides to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said they would take their request to the U.S. Supreme Court today.
The judges issued their order on Aug. 4 in two long-running lawsuits by inmates. The state asked for a delay pending its appeal of the order to the U.S. Supreme Court, which was filed separately Thursday.
In rejecting the state's motion for the delay only two days after it was filed, the judges said they had been "more than patient with the state and its officials" and harshly criticized them for "conflicting representations" in court that have caused the cases to drag on.
It's getting comical at this point. Thelton Henderson initially found California's prison system to violate individual rights in 2005. Over those four years, state officials have resisted, bargained, shouted, and appealed their way into oblivion, trying all along to do as little as possible about the clear crisis. The judges are asking for a plan that essentially mirrors the Senate's version of prison reform working through the legislative process right now. For all the protests about "wasting taxpayer dollars" to come up with a workable plan, the judges are essentially asking for a copy of what's already being done.
The state doesn't want to give them one, because they now it's insufficient to conform with the clear guidelines on reducing the inmate population. And they'd rather appeal and appeal and be forced to respect Constitutional rights than do it themselves. With the taxpayer money and effort spent to studiously ignore this problem, we could have already solved it.