The latest legal maneuver from the governor's office comes one day after federal judges ordered state officials to discuss a possible settlement with attorneys representing California prison inmates, who have argued that the state's prisons are criminally overcrowded.
Brown signed a bill earlier this year that asked for more time to deal with a court-ordered deadline to reduce the state's prison population by as many as 9,600 inmates. The legislation included a backup plan that involved sending thousands of inmates to other states and housing up to 2,000 more in privately owned facilities in California.
Federal judges ordered state officials to confer with inmates' lawyers and prohibited the state from sending any additional inmates beyond state lines in the meantime.
"This order, like the court's other recent actions, disregards the law and the role of the judiciary," the governor's lawyers argue in the brief filed Wednesday afternoon. "The court's interest appears to be in legislating criminal justice policy by reducing the prison population through outright releases of inmates that it, and [inmates' attorneys] do not believe should be incarcerated."
The brief says state officials have "no opposition to participating" in the mediation ordered by the federal judges Tuesday, but say yesterday's court order further muddies the waters of state prison policy.
Brown is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case inmates have brought against the state. Administration officials expect a decision from the Supreme Court by mid-October.