The California State Department of Hospitals is in court this week to ask judges to approve placement of two violent sex offenders north of Sacramento.
Tuesday a judge in San Jose denied a request by the California Department of State Hospitals to house a sexually violent predator, Dariel Shazier, in Placer County.
Sue Martin lives in Lincoln and was one of 60 people to attend the hearing. She says she has no confidence the system would protect her community.
"Therapists, two of them, stated he's a high risk chance of re-offending," says Martin. "And they put him in a mental hospital where he's not around boys age 13-to-17. So, there's no temptation when he's in the mental hospital. So, they're letting him out and they've got him medicated and who knows when he's gonna take himself off the medication?"
On Friday, Yuba County will ask a judge to deny a request to place one man, Eldridge Lindsey Chaney Jr., in a home about five miles north of downtown Marysville.
Leslie Carbah is with the Yuba County Sheriff's Department.
"Our concern is, because we are a small, rural community; because of the regulations around placement of (penal code) 290 offenders in respect to distance from schools and places where children congregate, it unfortunately tends to push them out into the rural communities in order to find a residence that meets that criteria," says Carbah.
He also says this is the second time the State Department of Hospitals has attempted to place a sexually violent offender in the same home north of Marysville. Chaney has been receiving treatment in state mental hospitals since 2000.
Placer County went to court Tuesday to ask a judge to prevent the State Department of Hospitals from releasing a different offender, Dariel Morrise Shazier, to a home in Lincoln.
Neither offender has ties to the community where the state is attempting to place him.
The state says Jessica's Law prevents placement of an offender near a school or park, which usually limits their options to rural areas.
The following is information from the California Department of State Hospitals' website on how SVP are placed into communities:
The search for appropriate housing does not begin until after a judge grants a SVP conditional release AND has determined the individual's county of domicile.
The first step is to review any past housing searches that have been conducted in the identified county. If no searches have previously been conducted, then a new one will begin.
Next, the county is notified in writing by DSH of the upcoming release. The county is asked if they want to create a housing search committee. A housing search committee may include representatives from local law enforcement, district attorney's office or other county administrators. The committee would meet regularly with the Executive Director of CONREP to receive updates on the housing search. Counties are not required to form a committee. If they decide not to, the search is still conducted and findings are relayed to the court.
The third step is the beginning of the actual housing search. Staff examines existing searches for properties that were previously identified. Such information is used only as a starting point. Staff uses many resources to find potential properties for rent including review of newspaper and Craigslist advertisements; visiting local real estate offices and even, driving through neighborhoods in search of "For Rent" signs.
GPS data is used to identify areas that meet legal distancing requirements.
Next, the staff begins contacting property owners to gauge their interest in renting the property to someone who is a SVP. When a property owner shows interest, the property in question is visited by the staff. They examine the rental property and also verify the measurements to any schools or parks. They spend some time in the neighborhood to gather information about the number of children in the neighborhood, their ages, and other factors that may be of interest to the judge.
Frequently, a property owner requires a deposit to hold the property while the court process is occurring. The deposit is refundable if the owner later withdraws from a rental agreement.
Each property that is visited is added to a housing report summary which is shared with the housing search committee (if one exists) and will later be presented to the court during a housing hearing.
If a property is approved by the court, a hearing date is set 45 days in the future to allow notification requirements of county officials and neighboring property owners. Even though a placement has been approved, a housing search does not stop. Staff continues to search for other possible properties.