Borrego Sun - Since 1949

SVP Updates While We Wait


Last updated 9/19/2022 at 12:51pm

During the past two weeks, there has been activity in and near the Running M House in preparation for the placement of SVP Michael Martinez. A Sheriff’s Deputy went door-to-door in the immediate vicinity of the house to hand out flyers warning neighbors of the pending placement of SVP Martinez. Trucks arrived, delivering furniture and installing a satellite dish and appliances.

The Borrego Springs SVP Task force continues to communicate with the District Attorney’s office about the placements of SVP Martinez and SVP Douglas Badger.

The Task Force and Attorney Dan Fuller were notified by the DA’s office on September 7, that the DA’s office had analyzed the SVP Martinez case to evaluate for a possible writ to the court. The Task Force asked the DA to request the court withhold placement until the related matter of private schooling in Santa Cruz County is decided.

However, the DA does not at this time feel a writ will prevail and halt the placement, so they will not file a writ at this time. When SVP Martinez violated the conditions of his release in Boulevard in 2018, the DA’s office did pursue and obtain revocation of his participation in the CA Conditional Release Program (CONREP). The DA’s office would do so again if SVP Martinez violates the Terms and Conditions of his release.

However, Judge David Gill denied the release of the Terms and Conditions, so the community will not have knowledge of them – even though Liberty Healthcare did not object, nor did the DA’s office. It will be difficult for the community to know if SVP Martinez violates the terms and conditions of his release.

Judge Gill had stated in court that he felt comfortable releasing SVP Martinez into the house on Running M Road because the community was “so involved.” The community will need to be active about reporting all questionable behaviors observed until we are better able to determine what SVP Martinez can and cannot do.

Problems with mortgage fraud and code violations remain concerns for both properties, but at this time no action has been taken by the county agencies in these areas for either the Running M Road or Zuni Trail houses.

The SVP Task Force requested a copy of the transcript from Judge Gill’s placement review of SVP Martinez, and Judge Gill denied the request. This is within the prerogative of the judge, but it is strange that the request would be flatly denied because it was a review attended by the public.

Judge Theodore M. Weathers has not issued his decision about the proposed placement of SVP Badger in the house on Zuni Trail. When Judge Weathers last heard a proposed placement request for the Mount Helix community, the decision was not issued until six weeks after the initial court review. It is five weeks since the review and three weeks since the District Attorney provided the additional information requested by Judge Weathers.

Last week, the SDSAFE Task Force released news of a proposed placement in Jacumba, California, for SVP William Stafford. There are currently four SVPs residing in Jacumba and one SVP residing in Boulevard, which are communities adjacent to one another and very close to the border wall with Mexico.

SVP Task Force members traveled out to Jacumba and shared contact information with residents there, speaking with several community members. KUSI also visited and were unable to reach the proposed property due to the gates and private roads that close off access.

As far as we know, of all the communities where Liberty Healthcare has been placing its SVPs, Borrego Springs is the only community where citizens have not only spoken out strongly against the placement of SVPs here, but also have raised $50,000 to combat this injustice. Many town residents have made their voices heard by attending hearings both in person and via Zoom. And we have also, as a community, raised $50,000 to mount legal opposition to placement.

The Task Force would like to thank the Borrego Valley Endowment Fund, who started the funding campaign with a $25,000 donation, the Rams Hill management company who contributed $5,000, and the 74 individual community donors who contributed from funds from $20 to $2,000 to help us meet our matching goal of $25,000.

As of September 9, we are only $825 short of that goal. This speaks to the commitment and solidarity of our town against this SVP incursion. We may be a small town, but together we are mighty.

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