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Pandemic cited by Arizona in bid to avoid contempt fine

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Posted at 4:58 PM, Mar 29, 2021

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona corrections officials cited staffing and resource demands of the pandemic in trying to fend off a contempt of court fine against the state for noncompliance with a settlement over health care for inmates.

The state has already been the subject of two contempt fines totaling $2.5 million for noncompliance.

U.S. District Judge Roslyn Silver has threatened the third round of fines.

Attorneys representing prisoners say the third fine could be as high as $17 million.

Silver has said coronavirus restrictions may provide a basis for noncompliance but emphasized that the virus can't be used as a complete shield against noncompliance.