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November 10, 2010     Chester Progressive
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November 10, 2010
 

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4B Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010 Bulletin, Progressive, Record, Reporter State responds to local writ to remove serial killer Lassen Courlty filed writ of mandamus back ,in September Sam Williams News Editor swilliams@lassennews.com The Lassen County Superior Court should reject a writ of mandamus filed by the city of Susanville and Lassen County seeking to block serial killer Loren Herzog's parole in Lassen County, according to a response filed by the California Attorney General's Office Tuesday, Oct. 26. According to the attorney general's response, "Man- damus does not provide a remedy allowing the court to compel CDCR on where to parole Herzog. The court cannot grant injunctive re- lieve '(to) prevent the execu- tion of a public statute by officers of the law for public benefit' ... "The court in response to appropriate ap- plication may compel such agency to act, but it may not substitute its discretion for the discretion properly vested in the administrative agency." Traci Witty, former Lassen County senior deputy county" counsel, and Peter Talia, attorney for the city of Susanville and acting city administrator, filed the action seeking the writ of mandamus Tuesday, Sept. 28 alleging the California Departtnent of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the California Department of Parole "abused their dis- cretion" by paroling Herzog in Lassen County "with no prior input from petitioners and without sufficient inves- tigation of the facts 'and services available." According to the response from the attorney general's office, CDCR did not abuse its discretion, when it placed Herzog in Lassen County, and the county's requested relief- removing Herzog from Lassen County -- "is not warranted in a petition for a writ of mandate because it would interfere with CDCR's discretion in deter- mining parole placement. The legislature provided CDCR, California's proling authority, with the sole re- CHP, from page 4A Deputy Murray received no injuries. Deer, Nov. 7 Jarad Stevens, 31, of Greenville, was driving a 1996 Chevy Cavalier north on Nelson Street just south of North Valley Road in Tay- lorsville at 1 a.m Nov: 7. Stevens observed a deer crossing the roadway in front of him and swerved to the right to avoid a collision. Stevens' vehicle left the road and went into a small ditch where it caught air, losing traction on all tires and overturned a full 360 degrees, landing back onto its wheels. Stevens received minor injuries. sponsibility to determining a parolee's placement. A court order removing Herzog from Lassen County undermines this legislative mandate by directing CDCR to exercise its discretion in a particular way." According to the attorney general's response, CDCR considered several options before deciding to parole Herzog to a trailer located on state property outside the fence at High Desert State Prison Saturday, Sept. 18. CDCR received 17 victim notification letters from San Joaquin County and was unable to parole him in his last county of legal residence in a location more than 35 miles away from the victims/ witnesses as prescribed by state law, and that made it impossible for CDCR to give Lassen County 45-days notice of its decision. "The time required for CDCR to research each of the victim letters, determine their legitimacy and then determine the distance be- tween the victims and Herzog's residence made it impossible for CDCR to pro- vide Lassen County officials with the 45-day notice of Herzog's arrival," the attor- ney general,s office wrote. Under the circumstances, state law does not require CDCR to give 45 days notice to Lassen County officials --. only a 24-hour notice. CDCR also examined other options before deciding on Lassen County. It considered paroling Herzog at his sis- ter's house in Elk Grove (Sacramento County), but that location was too close to one of his victims. It also considered Modoc County, but that county is too remote for CDCR parole staff and the area lacks sufficient Global Positioning System coverage to adequately elec- tronically monitor Herzog's movements. "Several factors favored Lassen County as an appropriate placement for Herzog's parole," the attor- ney general's office wrote, including a strong GPS signal, accessibility by parole agents and a strong law enforcement presence. CDCR acknowledged a clerical error in a Wednes- day, Sept. 15 Notice of Release sent to the Susan- ville Police Department, the Lassen County District Attor: ney's Office and the Lassen County Sheriff's Office misidentifying Herzog's parole residence as Linen, Calif. Senior state officials and local law enforcement offi- cers discussed Herzog's parole in Lassen County by telephone that day and "Police Chief (Jeff) Atkinsor and Sheriff (Steve) Warren never expressed any confu- sion over Herzog's placement at High Desert State Prison," the attorney general's office wrote. A CDCR parole agent always accompanies Herzog and CDCR notifies the sher- iff's office dispatch center whenever Herzog leaves his residence. His parole agent also is notified, and can track Her.og's location through a GPS ankle bracelet. Accord- ing to the attorney general's office, Herzog has left his residence twice for "parole outpatient clinic appoint- ments" since arriving here in Susanville. The matter was calendared for 1:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 8 in Department 1 of the Lassen County Superior Court. Seasonal rest areas close for winter The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) District 2 announced winter closure of seasonal safety roadside rest areas: Nov. 1, 2010 - May 1, 2011 Lake AImanor - 4 miles east of Chester on State Route 36, Plumas County Nov. 1, 2010 - May 1, 2011 Hillcrest- 14 miles west of Burney on State Route 299, Shasta County Nov. 30, 2010 - April 1,201,1 Shingletown - 4 miles east of Shingletown on State Route 44, Shasta County Massack - 7 miles east of Quincy on State Route 70, Plumas County Roadside signs will announce the closures and direct motorists to the next available rest stop. District 2 maintains 19 Safety roadside rest areas in Lassen, Modoc, Plumas, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama and Trinity counties. For a list of all the Caltrans rest areas, with their location and amenities, visit dot.ca.gov/hq/maint/ra/Statewide.htm. 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