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Lawyers for inmates want official's contempt ruling to stand

Posted: 10:14 PM, Jun 10, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-11 05:14:52Z
Gavel shot

PHOENIX (AP) - Attorneys representing inmates in a lawsuit over the quality of health care in Arizona prisons want an appeals court to deny the Department of Correction's bid to throw out a contempt-of-court ruling against its director for failing to adequately improve inmate care.

The inmates' lawyers say there was abundant evidence to support the contempt finding against Corrections Director Charles Ryan and a $1.4 million fine against the state.

Lawyers for the state argue a lower-court judge didn't have the power to make the civil contempt ruling and impose the fine because the settlement was a private agreement, not a court order.

A month ago, a judge threatened to impose another round of fines for the state's failure to comply with the settlement.