October 4, 2023

SANTA CRUZ — After months of back-and-forth, a superior courtroom decide denied requests Tuesday to launch a sexually violent predator from a state hospital with no designated tackle.

The ruling got here after the most recent listening to wherein a state-contracted agency, Liberty Healthcare, supplied an replace on its efforts to safe housing in Santa Cruz County for 71-year-old Michael Cheek.

“Liberty actually has proven its work this time and detailed many, many launch conditions,” Santa Cruz County Superior Courtroom Decide Syda Cogliati mentioned. “They defined intimately, primarily, why none of them at the moment look like workable.”

Among the many choices underneath dialogue was to position Cheek, convicted of two separate violent rapes within the early Eighties, in a leisure car. Ruby Marquez, of the Santa Cruz County County Counsel’s Workplace, described info she had supplied to Liberty about choices on county-owned land, naming challenges corresponding to zoning restrictions and county-controlled area inside different jurisdictions.

After listening to from Cogliati that his shopper would unlikely be free of the Division of State Hospitals — Coalinga on Tuesday, Cheek’s protection legal professional Stephen Prekoski requested the decide to formalize the ruling on his movement. Prekoski requested that Cheek obtain both an “outright launch” or a “transient launch” from the state hospital. He argued that an RV is just not required for Cheek’s transient launch, nor ought to the courtroom be concerned with points corresponding to zoning, sewage dumping amenities and size of time for car parking. Prekoski mentioned that Liberty’s report back to the courtroom talked about their efforts to take a look at lodges, tiny properties, RVs and tents as housing choices.

“Which, I believe is a horrible thought,” Prekoski mentioned. “I’ve had shoppers who’ve been positioned right here on the nook within the Santa Cruz Motel and it’s terrible. Nevertheless it’s higher than jail and it’s higher than fixed hospitalization.”

Cogliati mentioned that Liberty reported a continued seek for a rental, together with 42 property searches prior to now month.

Each Prekoski and Cheek himself, talking by Zoom from Coalinga, mentioned Cheek was “in peril” from different inmates and sicknesses on the state hospital.