A federal judicial panel has denied Gov. Jerry Brown's request to lift a court-ordered prison population cap, and threatened him and other state officials with contempt if they fail to comply.

  In its ruling issued late Thursday, the three-judge panel singled out Brown for ignoring its earlier orders to reduce the state's inmate population to the level ordered by the federal courts.

  In January, the governor sought to end the long-running court oversight of California's prison system and promised to take his fight again to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

  Naming Brown, the judicial panel wrote that state officials "will without further delay be subject to findings of contempt" if they do not take whatever steps are necessary to comply with the court's inmate-reduction order.

  The governor's office and corrections department did not respond to requests for comment.