Gov. Jerry Brown today called "mystifying" the continuing legal pressure on his administration to reduce California's prison population, as he reiterated his pledge to appeal the case as far as the U.S. Supreme Court.
"I find it rather mystifying why we're in this predicament, but I am following the law, and I'm exercising my rights as an American citizen to present the arguments as I see them and to seek final adjudication in our highest courts," Brown told reporters after a memorial ceremony for law enforcement officials in Sacramento.
Brown's remarks follow his administration's submission Thursday of a court-ordered plan to reduce the state's prison population, even as state officials vowed to appeal. The administration claims overcrowding in state prisons has been addressed and that inmate health care is sufficient.
A special, three-judge panel ordered the state in 2009 to reduce its prison population to improve health care conditions in the prison system, and a federal judge in April denied Brown's bid to remove prison health care from federal control. The three-judge panel is insisting that the state reduce its prison population by about 9,500 more inmates by the end of the year.
The U.S. Supreme Court sided with the three-judge panel in 2011. Asked why he thinks the state could prevail in court this year, Brown said, "Well, because it's many years later."
He said the state has spent billions of dollars on the prison system since the nation's highest court last considered the matter.
PHOTO CREDIT: Gov. Jerry Brown attends a memorial ceremony for law enforcement officers on Monday, May 6, 2013 in Sacramento. David Siders/Sacramento Bee