Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has expressed confidence in Corrections Director Charles Ryan after the prisons chief was found in civil contempt of court nearly three weeks ago for failing to adequately improve health care for inmates.
The governor says on Wednesday that he wants state agency directors, not judges, to run their departments.
Ducey says he is confident the state will prevail when it appeals the decision.
The contempt ruling by then-U.S. Magistrate David Duncan stems from the state's acknowledged failure to follow through on some improvements that it promised in 2014 when it settled a lawsuit over care.
Duncan also fined the state $1.4 million after it acknowledged more than 1,400 instances in December, January and February during which it failed to make the improvements it promised.