California Attorney General Jerry Brown Monday announced that he had filed a motion opposing a federal court receiver’s motion to hold Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Controller John Chiang in contempt for failing to release $8 billion in state funds for a massive prison health care facilities construction project.

The state’s prison health system is operating under a federal receivership imposed after a federal judge ruled that the state had failed to abide by a settlement agreement in a lawsuit that alleged that the prison health care system is so inadequate that it represents unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment.

In August, the receiver, Clark Kelso, filed a motion seeking to compel Schwarzenegger and Chiang to pay $8 billion to fund health care facilities, starting with $3 billion in this fiscal year.

The motion came after lawmakers voted down a bill proposed by the governor that would have authorized lease-revenue bonds to fund the facilities.

Brown’s motion argues that the federal court does not have the legal power to mandate state prison construction and there is no evidence in the record justifying the sums sought by the receiver.

A hearing on the receiver’s contempt motion is scheduled for Oct. 6.

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