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US judges reject appeal of federal supervision of California prisons

[JURIST] Two federal district judges separately rejected a bid by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger [official profile] to appeal rulings ordering the federal supervision [JURIST report] of California's overcrowded prison system [JURIST news archive] Tuesday, ruling that while California may appeal specific orders made by a special three-judge panel, the state cannot appeal the original rulings establishing the panel. Schwarzenegger had argued that the panel was established too soon, before the state's $7.7 billion prison expansion program [JURIST report] had time to work. Judge Thelton E. Henderson of the Northern District of California and Judge Lawrence K. Karlton of the Eastern District of California rejected California's assertion that the panel's supervision poses a potential public danger because it may order the release of prisoners from overpopulated facilities. A spokesperson for Schwarzenegger's office has indicated that California will seek a stay of the panel's supervision during California's appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website].

California's construction program will create 53,000 new prison and jail beds over the next five years. The threat of federal oversight has also induced California to introduce a plan to release prisoners convicted of nonviolent crimes [JURIST reports]. The San Francisco Chronicle has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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