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New Sexual Predator Law Has Affect On Local Courts

Sonora, Ca — Tuolumne County District Attorney Donald Segerstrom has positive things to say about a recent change in a state law involving sexually violent predators.

In the past, when predators were accepted to the Atascadero State Mental Health Hospital for treatment, they were forced to return back to the county for another trial every couple of years.

The law now allows individuals at the hospital to make the decision on whether the predator is okay to return back to society, rather than having them return for a new trial.

“If we obtain a finding that they are a sexually violent predator, the commitment is a lifetime commitment, and it is up to the person who is committed to prove that they have been rehabilitated.” says Segerstrom. “The burden has shifted from us, to keep them in all the time, to them having to prove that they are fit to get out.”

This change applies to 39 year old Rick Allen Hazeltine of Jamestown who was convicted in Tuolumne County Superior Court in June and to 55 year old John Warren who was sentenced Thursday evening for sexually violent crimes.

Segerstrom says the change will allow his office to spend more time focusing on other cases.

Written by BJ Hansen