Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Although a Contra Costa County judge says sexual predator Cary Verse can go free, Verse will have to sit tight at Atascadero State Hospital until the Department of Mental Health sets up housing, treatment and support programs. That’s essentially the outcome of Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge John Minney’s ruling at a Friday hearing about who should coordinate support services for Verse. After the 32-year-old sex offender served more than six years in prison, he was civilly committed to the maximum-security hospital for about five years under the state’s Sexually Violent Predator law. Verse and a Santa Clara County offender will be among the first ever to “graduate” from custody under the 7-year-old law. Although Minney ordered Verse’s release in January, he has stayed locked up, in part, because the county refused to administer the predator program, and the state Department of Mental Health has struggled to find a replacement. Such delays have been a concern of the defense bar, which has argued that the law posed civil liberty questions because it allows some defendants to remain locked up in a hospital long after they have done their time. The state’s inability to set up a network of services and housing has helped delay the release of Verse and Brian DeVries, a Santa Clara County child molester. Verse’s lawyer, Deputy Public Defender Ronald Boyer, wanted Minney to force Contra Costa to provide the services. He argued that its local “program director” is designated by statute. “There is nothing in this statute that makes it any different from any other statute creating public offices,” Boyer said in court Friday. The county’s duties are similar to the ones that the law assigns to the sheriff’s office and the public defender, he added. The state, represented by the California attorney general’s office, argued that the statute did not bar it from designating an alternate provider. Lawyers for both the state and county warned that if Minney forced Contra Costa to provide the service, it and dozens of other counties would stop providing existing conditional release program services (CONREP) altogether, which would jeopardize care for 700 people. “We can’t have a county employee administer a program that the county does not want to do,” said Deputy County Counsel Linda Wilcox. “That does not make sense.” Minney initially grilled Deputy Attorney General Susan King and Wilcox about what would happen if he forced the county to administer Verse’s program. Ultimately, he decided that the county wasn’t legally bound to run the program. “It appears to me a reasonable reading of the statute . . . would allow the department to have more than one director,” Minney said. He ordered the state Department of Mental Health to give him a progress report March 28. In an interview, defense attorney Boyer said that the law only gives the state 21 days to set up a program for patients once a judge orders release. More than 40 days have elapsed since Minney ordered Verse released. Boyer said that he has not decided whether to appeal Minney’s decision. “We have to accept that [the state is acting] in good faith until we are informed otherwise,” he said.

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.