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By Miriam Raftery
July 29, 2019 (San Diego) – Alvin Ray Quarles, dubbed the “Bolder than Most” rapist, will be released to a supervised home at an as-yet undisclosed location somewhere in San Diego County, Superior Court Judge David Gill ruled today.
Last fall, Gill ruled that Quarles could be released to a supervised residence in Jacumba Hot Springs, but later agreed to reconsider his decision at the request of prosecutors and Supervisor Dianne Jacob. After several days of an evidentiary hearing from which victims of Quarles were barred last week, Judge Gill has affirmed that Quarles can be released. However, the Jacumba property fell through, so an August 30 status conference has been set, when the state may present housing options and the public can testify, Times of San Diego reports.

Quarles, 56, pled guilty in 1989 to over a dozen sexual assaults in the 1980s and gained notoriety for attacking women at knifepoint, sometimes forcing their husbands or boyfriends to watch as he raped his victims. He was sentenced to 50 years in prison. But in 2014 he was transferred to Coalinga State Hospital and received sex offender treatment. In 2016, he petitioned the court through a conditional release program. 
Cynthia Medina and Mary Taylor, both victims of Quarles, criticized the process of closed hearings to prevent disclosure of psychiatric reports on Quarles due to privacy laws.
“This is just one more kick in the gut,” Taylor, an East County teacher assaulted by Quarles, stated tearfully after the hearing, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Taylor asked why she should trust the system after she was prevented from knowing who testified in support of Quarles’ release.
Supervisor Jacob said of the exclusion of victims, “That’s not fair and that’s not right.”  She has opposed Quarles’ release, but says if Judge Gill believes he is fit to be placed in a community, “I think we ought to put him right next to Judge Gill’s house.”
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Judge Gill has said he believes adequate safeguards will be in place at a supervised facility to protect the public. The judge has indicated that he does not believe Quarles will ever qualify for unconditional release, meaning complete freedom, into the community.

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Should Serial Rapist Be Released?

The U.S. has 5% of world's population and almost 25% of imprisoned people. A conservative estimate is 90,000 are completely innocent; but our criminal justice system is biased against admitting mistakes, so various innocence projects can only help a few, sometimes taking 20 years to get an innocent person released. In addition, we have the most draconian punishments for crimes in the Western World, destroying families and enriching for-profit prison corporations.

I've studied a lot of the literature of rehabilitation. Most crimes are carried out by young people and the recidivism rate even for murderers, not serial killers, is quite low. However, one group of criminals, rapists and child molesters, seldom can be rehabilitated. The odds are long. So, while I believe in forgiveness and redemption and would like to see our criminal justice system move in that direction, while there is always the remote possibility that a serial rapist like Quarles has been rehabilitated, I think the burden of proof must be much much higher than other criminals. In his case, even if experts believe he has been rehabilitated, I have my doubts. With rapists and child molesters, despite believing in second chances, I think the risk to the public should be the first concern. 

Quarles pled guilty to over a dozen sexual assaults.

While DNA testing has occasionally exonerated innocent people behind bars, there is zero reason to believe Quarles isn't guilty, and even he has never claimed that.   

I do agree with you, though, that the #1 prioriity should be protecting the public when there is such overwhelming evidence that this guy is a serious sexual predator.  I fail to understand why the state would even allow a serial predator out.  It is especially irresponsible to release repeat violent predators into rural areas such as Jacumba or Campo, where Sheriff response times are much slower than in urban areas.  To do this over and over in the same communities is also discriminatory against rural residents, many of whom are low income and cannot afford to move.

P.. What's your source on the percent of prisoners who may be innocent? I've seen the figures that the U.S. has the highest percentage of incarcerated individuals in the world, backed up by Census and UN figures, but the estimates I've seen on how many are innocent vary widely. 

Sources for Estimated Wrongful Convictions

First, I want to make it clear that I was referring to psychological studies of serial rapists and child molesters. While even one rape or molestation of a child is terrible, the circumstances, the psychological state of the perpetrator, etc. and the potential for rehabilitation are different than with those guilty of serial offenses. I would still be extra cautious in releasing one time offenders; but still, the odds are high they won’t repeat as opposed to serial offenders who far too often do repeat, can’t be rehabilitated despite claims by therapists.

I perceive, besides wrongful convictions, several other problems with our criminal justice system. I don’t like a sentence of 20 to life, meaning parole after 10 years. I think it would be more honest and clear if a sentence of 10 to life meant parole possibility begins after 10 years. As far as my reading, we are the only criminal justice system that piles on the charges, e.g. murder/rape, for instance, breaking and entering, illegal possession of firearm, etc. In essence, it almost ensures some conviction, making the defense near impossible. Finally, our draconian sentences, e.g. life plus 300 years. Unless they plan to hook the convicted to a machine and keep him/her alive, while emotionally appealing for some, just plain foolish. No other nation does this. And our draconian sentences for crimes that do not hurt others physically or deprive of property, etc. e.g., possession of drugs, years ago homosexuality. Though I have NEVER smoked, just tried alcohol a few times as a youth, NEVER used recreational drugs (except caffeine), while I support efforts to educate people, whether someone drinks alcohol or uses a drug, if they don’t drive a vehicle or share with a minor, while I wish they wouldn’t, making it a crime is wrong. Too often in American history, while extolling the Land of the Free and our Bill of Rights, we trample the 1st Amendment by outlawing behaviors based on our religious beliefs, our sense of self-righteousness (James Morone. Hellfire Nation: The Politics of Sin in American History, 2003, Yale University Press). In fact, according to John W. Whitehead in his book, Battlefield America: The War on the American People, 2015, there are so many laws on the books that any time a police officer decides to act, each one of us can be arrested for some misdemeanor or criminal offense (see also his articles on Counterpunch at: https://www.counterpunch.org [just type his name in Search Box]) Finally, allowing victims to testify. While seems right, two people convicted of “exact” same crime can receive different sentences. I guess an armed robber entering a home should check out if inhabitant has loved ones, then decide whether to kill or not? Either justice is blind, based on the actual act or it isn’t justice.

I first became interested in wrongful convictions as a youth when a 1957 TV series based on true stories, The Court of Last Resort, was shown. Still have the pocket book, cost a whopping 35 cents. Ever since then I’ve read articles and books on the subject.

As for estimates of number of innocents convicted, they don’t include those who take a plea bargain, though innocent (threatened with worse outcomes) and those who take an Alford Plea (DA threatens to prosecute again and they fear arbitrariness of juries. An Alford Pleas is a guilty plea in criminal court whereby a defendant in a criminal case does not admit to the criminal act and asserts innocence. In entering an Alford plea, the defendant admits that the evidence presented by the prosecution would be likely to persuade a judge or jury to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Just one more insane example of our unjust criminal justice system. There are numerous studies documenting prosecutors and/or police who refuse to admit a person’s innocence, despite OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE, either just because of their inability to admit mistakes, because to be elected based on conviction rate, or because they falsified evidence or withheld exculpatory evidence. Note. even when evidence falsified, almost no one has ever been prosecuted, that is, prosecutors and/or police when wanting to solve a crimes, to look good to public, need not fear an “overzealous” prosecution, even if it leads to an execution. Keep in mind that by convicting an innocent man, they allow the guilty to not only go free; but often continue to commit crimes.


NOTE: All of the following are available on internet, just type title in search box

Blume JH (2013 Jan 31). The Unexonerated: Factually Innocent Defendants Who Plead Guilty. Cornel Law Library.

Gross SR (2008). Convicting the Innocent. Annual Review of Law and Social Science; 4: 173-92. [about 185,000 innocent American defendants were sent to prison for a year or more from 1977 through 2004]

Gross SR, O’Briend B, Hu C, Kennedy EH. (2014 May 20). Rate of false conviction of criminal defendants who are sentenced to death. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences; 111(20): 7230-7235.

Gross SR (2015 Jul 24). The staggering number of wrongful convictions in America. The Washington Post. [includes misdemeanors]

Housley W (2017 Feb 9). How Many Innocent Americans Are Jailed Each Year? [9,750 wrongful convictions per year]

Jordan G, Kaplan AB, Beety V, Findley KA (2016). Contemporary Perspectives on Wrongful Conviction: An Introduction to the 2016 Innocence Network Conference, San Antonio, Texas. [90,000 people wrongfully convicted and imprisoned in the United States]

Liptak A (2008 Mar 25). Consensus on Counting the Innocent: We Can’t. New York Times. [suggest that about 185,000 innocent people have served hard time]

Rohrlich (2014 Nov 10). Why Are There Up to 120,000 Innocent People in US Prisons? VICE News.

Rose M (2018 Jan 17). Innocent But Still Guilty: Inmates are sometimes offered freedom in exchange for pleading guilty to a crime they probably didn’t commit. It’s a bad deal. ProPublica. [Note. this is a superb webpage, often works with PBS Frontline]

Sawyer W, Wagner P (2019 Mar 19). Mass Incarceration: The Whole Pie 2019. Prison Policy Initiative. [excellent article]

Zalman M (2012). Qualitatively Estimating the Incidence of Wrongful Convictions. Criminal Law Bulletin; 48(2): 219-279.