Judge Denies CDCR Plea for Removal of TRO and Renewed Demurrer in CCC Case

In a case status conference at the Lassen Superior Courthouse for the City of Susanville V the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Judge Moody denies CDCR’s plea to release the temporary restraining order as well as denies the motion to entertain a renewed demurrer plea at this time. Moody’s reasoning was he believes there is potential that the new statute, penal code 5003.7, that was rewritten in the final days of the budget bill, is unconstitutional as there could be issues of “separation of powers. The code outlining financial prison closure details was deleted in the Judge’s words and has delivered a bombshell to this case as it is directed solely at the closure of CCC. Moody says CDCR has been “armed to end this case.”

Judge Moody referred to a civil war case that challenged the legislative body’s separation of powers and asked both CDCR and the city to prepare briefs on a law review article based on this case from the late 1800s, Kline V the United States, that stands to this day as a landmark case where the US supreme court ruled Congress may not remove jurisdiction from a court and direct it how to decide a case. Judge Moody ominously suggested that if the city fails to prove the state abused its power “that the full force” of the new penal code would apply and close CCC. CDCR counsel argued that if the city were to win the case that it would ultimately end in a “do-over” sending CDCR back to the drawing board to close CCC.

City counsel, represented by Scott McLaren made the claim that the original penal code should still apply, as, at the time of CDCR’s selection of CCC for closure, the department did not follow CEQA or its penal code as was written then. The city also has a potential claim of contempt of the restraining order as they have information that high-ranking management individuals with CDCR were involved in drafting the trailer bill that would violate the TRO. To that CDCR counsel argues that with the new penal code in place, the city’s case should be dissolved by the court and the city can make a new claim under new statutes. CDCR Counsel also argued that the delay in closure of CCC is harming officers of CCC and the Department with irreparable harm if the injunction is not lifted ASAP to proceed with the closure of the prison.

The Judge moved forward with wanting a decision on the issue of “separations of powers” before going any further with amendments to either side’s pleadings. Briefs on the Civil War referenced case are due back to the court by August 16th, and a hearing will be held on August 26th at 9 am.