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Appealing the Prisoner Release Order

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Howard Mintz reports for the San Jose Mercury-News:

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.

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.

The special three-judge panel has threatened the governor with contempt if his administration does not comply with a 2009 order requiring California to reduce its inmate population to about 110,000 inmates to satisfy concerns that prisons are so overcrowded they fail to provide adequate medical and mental health care.

Brown, however, said in Monday's filing that the court "did not fully or fairly consider the evidence showing that the state's prison health care now exceeds constitutional standards."
Unlike most cases, where parties must ask the Supreme Court to take the case (a petition for writ of certiorari), 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.

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