A federal judge has rebuked Gov. Jerry Brown's lawyers for taking a swipe at the court-appointed monitor for prison mental health care.
U.S. District Senior Judge Lawrence Karlton on Wednesday issued an order giving California five days to either show why its allegations against Special Master Matthew Lopes should remain in the court record, or take them back. "The court takes very seriously any allegation of unethical conduct," Karlton wrote.
"However, the court can only be dismayed by the cavalier manner in which defendants ... level a smear against the character and reputation of the Special Master..." he continued.
The order is in response to a motion the state filed Jan. 29, suggesting Lopes submitted a report highly critical of the state's delivery of psychiatric care, including a climbing inmate suicide rate, to continue his own funding as special master. "Perhaps the reason is because there is no incentive for the special master to be objective in this case," Brown's lawyers wrote. "To date, the state has paid the special master, his Rhode Island law firm, and his team of monitors and experts nearly $48 million ... Further monitoring ensures that this revenue stream will continue."