California inmates can appeal compassionate release denials

Mar 5, 2015 2:18 PM by News Staff

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The California Supreme Court has ruled that terminally ill inmates can appeal judicial denials of compassionate early release from their prison sentences.

The high court on Thursday reversed a lower court ruling. The lower court had held that only the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation could appeal a judge's denying early release for health reasons. The unanimous Supreme Court ruled that the "substantial rights" of inmates are affected by adverse rulings and they should be allowed to appeal.

A few dozen inmates were recommended for a release annually between 1991 and 2009, according to statistics filed with the court by the prisoner advocacy group Justice Now. In an effort to ease prison overcrowding and cut costs, state lawmakers have made more incapacitated and ill inmates eligible for early release.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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