A panel of federal judges named a retired California state appellate judge from Los Angeles to decide which and how many inmates to release from prison if California fails to meet a court-ordered limit on the state prison population, reports the Los Angeles Times. In naming Elwood Lui the compliance officer in the prison crowding case, federal judges also put much of his work out of public view, declaring that his communications with the courts are “confidential and privileged.”
The federal panel in February set new deadlines for California to reduce prison crowding to acceptable levels, and ordered that if the state fails to meet those goals, a court-appointed compliance officer will have power to release as many prisoners as needed. Corrections department officials have said they expect to be able to comply with the first deadline, in June, for a partial reduction in inmate populations. Lui stepped down from the state Court of Appeal in 1987 and has been a partner in the Los Angeles law firm Jones Day ever since.