Sexual violent predator court hearing - 10/25 update
Published Oct. 26, 2023
Another court check-in hearing has been held for the sexually violent predator, William Stephenson, whose request for immediate release was denied due to a lack of appropriate housing. The assigned prosecutor from the Placer County District Attorney’s Office was present at the hearing on Oct. 25 along with Placer County's legal counsel and a representative from the Placer County Sheriff’s Office. The court hearing was also attended by county officials, Crime Victims United, members of the media and community members. The Department of State Hospital (DSH) and its contractor, Liberty Healthcare, did not appear in person but rather via video. Sexually Violent Predator William Stephenson called in from Coalinga State Hospital.
Initially, the judge stated that he had not received any update from DSH and Liberty Healthcare regarding appropriate housing for Stephenson. An update was provided only yesterday to the D.A.'s Office but not to the court as required by court rules. After a delay for Liberty to email the update to the clerk, DSH indicated that no actionable location had been identified.
Liberty Healthcare reported that a recent property under discussion was no longer an option, as the property owner rescinded their tentative agreement to house Stephenson. Liberty reiterated that they are currently looking at permanent addresses for Stephenson and not a transient release location as originally intended. Specifically, they are looking at private properties that currently have an accessory dwelling unit (“ADU”) on the property or where one could be built.
Liberty admitted they have no current leads but offered the “potential of a possibility” as they are in contact with some homeowners that could lead to viable housing options. When the judge asked when another Community Housing Committee would be held, Liberty explained they had not scheduled one yet. They also indicated that they don’t need one right now and will schedule one at some unknown date when there is an update. Over the District Attorney’s objection, no Community Housing Committee meeting was scheduled.
While this process has been challenging for the Placer County community, engagement and interest remain extremely high. The Community Housing Committee meeting that took place on Oct. 17 had well over 12,000 views from community residents who are continuing to follow this process closely.
The next court hearing will be a status conference on Dec. 11 at 11 a.m. in Placer County Superior Court, Department 32. We will provide more updates before the December meeting -- as always THANK YOU for your support!
Sincerely, your Placer County District Attorney's Office