East County News Service
Photos: Michael Martinez, sexually violent predator proposed for release in Borrego Springs
June 14, 2022 (Borrego Springs) -- State Senator Brian W. Jones (R-Santee) has sent a letter to San Diego County Superior Court Judge David Gill asking that sexually violent predator (SVP) Michael Martinez not be paroled out of the State Hospital and into the community of Borrego Springs.
Martinez was convicted between 1979-2004 in four separate cases of child molestation, lewd or lascivious acts on a child under 14, and has been designated a sexually violent predator by the state.
The Department of State hospitals first proposed release of Martinez in Ranchita and now in Borrego Springs, both communities in Jones’ 38th State Senate district. Jones says numerous constituents have contacted him to voice concern about the threat Martinez poses to the health and safety of their community, given his extensive criminal history.
“Borrego Springs is a rural community, there are no medical, psychiatric, or social services facilities located in Borrego Springs, and only two deputy Sheriffs cover the entire Borrego Springs Valley. The proposed placement at 3406 Running M Road is located within 3 miles of elementary and middle schools in the area, placing Martinez in close proximity to children who fit the exact profile of his previous victims. This is unacceptable,” Jones write in his letter to Judge Gill.
“My constituents deserve better than to be repeatedly faced with the threat of having such unrepentant violent criminals placed in their communities. That is why I introduced SB 841, the SAFE Act, to call for geographic equity and increased transparency in the SVP placement process. I will continue to advocate for reforms to the SVP placement process, so that Californians will no longer have to fear continued efforts to place SVPs in their neighborhoods and it is my hope that your decision reflects your commitment to public safety,” Jones continues.
Back in April, Senate Democrat leadership ordered the defeat of Jones’s SB 841 in the Senate Public Safety Committee. The Committee instead passed SB 1034 (Atkins), a much weaker SVP bill that is opposed by the San Diego County District Attorney and the California District Attorneys Association. SB 1034 is still pending in the Assembly.
In his letter to Judge Gill, Jones concludes, “This game of hide the predator has to stop. Mr. Martinez’ crimes do not warrant release and he should remain in the custody of the Department of State Hospitals. It is clear that Mr. Martinez has been capable of unspeakable crimes in the past, and that the proposed placement in Borrego Springs is wholly inappropriate. Thank you for considering the safety of my constituents and our community.”
A July 8 court hearing has been scheduled regarding the merits of the placement location, during which members of the public are typically allowed to make comments to the court regarding the suitability of the placement. That 10 a.m. hearing will be held at the downtown San Diego courthouse.
Public comments may also be submitted until Wednesday to the SAFE Task Force, a regional law enforcement team that monitors and enforces sex offender registration laws in the county. Comments can be submitted via email to email@example.com; by calling 858-495-3619; or mailing a statement to SVP Release/SAFE Task Force, 9425 Chesapeake Drive, San Diego, CA 92123