Borrego Sun - Since 1949

Waiting for Developments in SVP Placements


Last updated 9/2/2022 at 12:12pm

Borregans are waiting for the placement ordered by Judge David Gill for Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) Michael Martinez to be housed on Running M Road and for a decision by Judge Theodore M. Weathers whether or not to place SVP Douglas Badger on Zuni Trail. Two placements – one is ordered but delayed, and one decision is pending.

Last week, Judge Gill agreed to delay SVP Martinez’ placement by one-week, no later than September 16. This was based on a request by Liberty Healthcare representatives. In court, neither the court appointed counsel or Deputy District Attorney asked for a reason or offered opposition. It is likely related to the mortgage fraud and code violations that the property owners must resolve prior to placement.

Judge Weathers’ decision about whether or not he will order the placement of SVP Badger in Borrego Springs is still unknown. We anticipate that a decision will be issued without an open court session. This is purely speculation, but that is how Judge Weathers issued his decision for the Mount Helix placement in 2020. In that decision, Judge Weathers denied the request by the CA Department of State Hospitals and Liberty Healthcare to place SVP Wakefield in a Mount Helix neighborhood. SVP Badger had requested to be placed in the same location with SVP Wakefield, but that request was withdrawn supposedly due to “health concerns.”

Outside San Diego County, in Santa Cruz, a different SVP placement order was appealed by the District Attorney’s office there. The appeal is based on circumstances similar to those in both proposed placements in Borrego Springs involving private schooling within a ¼ mile proximity of the proposed placement. In the Santa Cruz case, Liberty Healthcare told the court that if private schooling was allowed to interfere with SVP placements, it would make their job harder. The clear intention of the legislature in enacting the law with the specific language in CA WIC 6608.5(f) is to preclude placements within ¼ mile of where children are educated. In 10 years of this legislation being in place, it has not been challenged. It is also clear that CA Education Code 33190 has only two categories of schools – public and private. What is generally referred to as a ‘home school’ is by definition of the CA Dept. of Education a private school. In essence, Liberty Health is asking the Judges to negate the validity of certain private schools, and to remove their protections in law.

As Judge Gill and Judge Weathers have stated, their job is to ensure their decisions are in accordance with the law. If anyone, including Liberty Healthcare, wants to change the law there is a legislative process for doing so.

The Appellate Court will hear the Santa Cruz case involving SVP Michael Cheek in November and a decision is anticipated by January 2023.

The Go Fund Me page for the Borrego Springs SVP Task Force has raised ~$20,000 to date – extremely close to meeting the $25,000 goal. Donations are tax-deductible and the website is: