U.S. Supreme Court Declines To Hear Calif. Disabled Inmate Case
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court without comment declined to hear an appeal from California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) of a court order that requires state officials to ensure that inmates with disabilities receive appropriate accommodations from county jails, the Los Angeles Times' "Nation Now" reports (Savage, "Nation Now," Los Angeles Times, 6/9).
The high court's decision lets stand a lower court ruling that the state is responsible for inmates with disabilities who are housed in county jails ("KPCC News," AP/KPCC, 6/9).
In 2012, U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken ruled that the state is required to monitor the nearly 2,000 inmates with disabilities and report to county jails when an individual is transferred to county jurisdiction who is entitled to accommodations under the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Such accommodations can include wheelchairs, tapping canes for the blind, or accessible beds and toilets.
The state complied with the order while appealing the ruling, Reuters reports (Chaussee, Reuters, 6/9).
In 2013, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Wilken's ruling. Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote, "These accommodations include the basic necessities of life for disabled prisoners and parolees," adding, "The state is not absolved of all of its responsibility for ADA obligations as to the parolees" because they are moved to county jails.
In March, Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris (D) appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that the ruling "sets a dangerous and sweeping precedent that effectively nullifies the states' 10th Amendment right to delegate powers to local governments." They added that if upheld, the ruling would make the state "liable for alleged ADA violations in the county jails" ("Nation Now," Los Angeles Times, 6/9).
Michael Bien, an attorney representing parolees in the case, said the Supreme Court's decision not to intervene requires the state to continue what it already has been doing for the past year ("KPCC News," AP/KPCC, 6/9).
California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesperson Jeffrey Callison said the state would continue to provide disability information to counties (Reuters, 6/9).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.