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In the end, having a gastrointestinal disease couldn’t protect convicted jewel thief George Turner from going to state prison. On Wednesday, a panel of First District Court of Appeal justices didn’t buy defense attorney Garry Preneta’s constitutional argument that transferring the criminal, who has Crohn’s disease and hepatitis C, from the county jail to San Quentin State Prison would be cruel and unusual punishment. “We need not and do not decide that issue because nothing in the record before this court supports the conclusion that Turner will be subjected to constitutionally impermissible punishment,” read the opinion authored by Justice James Marchiano. Although the court recognized “the gravity” of U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson’s recent findings citing the poor health conditions in state prisons, it ruled it couldn’t be applied to Turner’s specific circumstance. Justices Douglas Swager and Sandra Margulies concurred. The justices ordered S.F. Superior Court Judge Charles Haines to vacate a November order, which had allowed Turner to stay in the county jail until the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation could assure him that Turner would get adequate medical care. The CDCR never provided that assurance. Judge Haines, the opinion stated, did not have the authority to go against state law, which requires the sheriff to deliver criminals to state prison upon sentencing. Sheriff Michael Hennessey said he expects Turner to be transferred by the end of next week, along with his medical records. Preneta, unsurprised by the ruling, said the appellate court ducked the more significant constitutional issue and made conflicting statements. The defense lawyer expects to file a writ of habeas corpus in Superior Court within the next week.

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