Appellate Court Hears Arguments On Overturning Judge's Ruling to Release SVP
A prosecutor asked an appellate court panel Thursday to overturn a San Diego judge's decision to release a Sexually Violent Predator known as the "Bolder-Than-Most" rapist from a state hospital and into the community.
The three-justice panel took the matter under submission and did not indicate when a ruling would be made.
At issue is San Diego County Superior Court Judge David M. Gill's decision to release Alvin Ray Quarles, 57, to a home somewhere in San Diego County, where he would undergo treatment through a conditional release program.
Quarles was dubbed the "Bolder-Than-Most" rapist because of the way he attacked his victims, at knifepoint, sometimes forcing the women's husbands or boyfriends to watch. He pleaded guilty in 1989 to committing more than a dozen sexual assaults in the mid-to-late 1980s and was sentenced to 50 years in prison.
In 2014, Quarles was committed to a state hospital as a Sexually Violent Predator or SVP, a designation for those convicted of sexually violent offenses and diagnosed with a mental disorder that makes them a danger to the public.
Gill ruling last year to release Quarles followed a series of closed- door hearings involving testimony from psychiatrists and other experts.
Deputy District Attorney Samantha Begovich asserted that Gill had misapplied the law regarding the release of SVPs.
Begovich said Gill ruled under the idea that Quarles must be released to the "least restrictive setting" possible to continue his treatment. The prosecutor argued not only was that untrue, but that Quarles had also not proven he was fit for release.
Quarles' attorney, Euketa Oliver, countered that Gill did not make his decision hastily, and that it would have been the easy choice in the wake of public pressure to deny Quarles' petition for conditional release. Oliver argued the conditional housing program provided security measures to safeguard the public and cited a zero percent recidivism rate for offenders entering the conditional release — or CONREP — program.
In September 2016, Quarles petitioned the court to be granted release through the Conditional Release Program for sex offenders.
At one time, he was to be released to a home in Jacumba Hot Springs, but the agreement to rent the residence fell through. While the search for suitable housing continues, the decision to release Quarles may be reconsidered altogether, though an appellate court ruling could be months away.
Two of Quarles' victims, Mary Taylor and Cynthia Medina, said they felt "validated" by what they heard at Thursday's hearing, particularly when Presiding Judge Richard Huffman called Quarles' record "one of the most horrendous I've seen."
Taylor told reporters, "I have felt invalidated by the courts for 30- plus years" in regard to Quarles' shortened sentence and his proposed release. "Finally, someone understands that this is a dangerous person."
Taylor said she had no doubt Quarles would re-offend if he was released.
"If the chance comes, he will take it," she said.