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Inmates' lawyers seek contempt order for Schwarzenegger

Saying the Schwarzenegger administration is thumbing its nose at three federal judges with a prison population reduction plan it submitted to them, inmates' attorneys on Thursday asked the judges to find the governor in contempt.

Rather than meeting the requirements of the three-judge panel's Aug. 4 order, a defiant Schwarzenegger and Corrections Secretary Matthew Cate "essentially have told the court that they will reduce the prison population as the state sees fit, to a level the state deems appropriate, and in a time frame the state has set for itself."

"The court must issue an order requiring (them) to submit a plan that fully complies with this court's . . . order, and requiring lead defendant Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to show cause why he should not be held in civil and criminal contempt of court," the inmates' attorneys said in a 19-page response to the plan.

Schwarzenegger's spokeswoman, Rachel Cameron, issued a response Thursday afternoon. "The state filed a plan that complies with population reduction and does not create undo risk to public safety, and we continue to object to the panel's arbitrary cap under a two-year timeline and are continuing our appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court," she said.

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