Release of Sex Offender to Garberville Denied


Humboldt County Courthouse - FILE
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  • Humboldt County Courthouse
Multiple media outlets are reporting that Judge John Feeney today denied the placement of a man deemed by the courts to be a sexually violent predator for the second time in less than a year, this time to Garberville.

However, according to a Times-Standard article, Feeney did agree with his attorney’s argument that Joshua Cooley should be released but stayed his ruling until a suitable housing situation could be found.

According to the Redheaded Blackbelt, that could include rotating stays at Eureka motels. Another hearing has been set for May 5.

Feeney made a similar finding back in August of 2018, when he blocked Cooley’s release in a rural Freshwater neighborhood after an outcry from neighbors and opposition from the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office and Sheriff William Honsal.

At today’s hearing, District Attorney Maggie Fleming told Feeney that Cooley should not be released from the Coalinga State Hospital in arguing against the Alderpoint Road placement, according to the Times-Standard.

Cooley was committed to the hospital on his Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) designation in 2010 after serving prison time for sexually assaulting a minor. After an appeal, his petition for release was granted in December of 2016, with the search for a suitable placement site taking place over the last 20 months.

Read more about the SVP designation process in the Journal’s Aug. 20, 2015, story “Free and Afraid.”

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