Members of the Bonny Doon community turned out Tuesday morning
Bonny Doon community members turned out in November at Santa Cruz County Superior Court to express their displeasure with a proposed placement of Michael Cheek.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
Santa Cruz

Appeals court orders pause on the placement of a sexually violent predator in Santa Cruz County

An appellate court has blocked the placement of Michael Cheek, a man diagnosed as a sexually violent predator, in a Bonny Doon home pending a ruling on the matter. A Santa Cruz judge approved of the placement in November but then issued a stay.

Santa Cruz County residents against the placement of Michael Cheek in Bonny Doon won more time to fight their case this week.

The Sixth District Court of Appeal ordered Cheek, termed a sexually violent predator, to remain at Coalinga State Hospital pending its final ruling.

Judge Syda Cogliati ruled in November that Cheek could be placed in a home on Wild Iris Lane. Immediately following her ruling, however, she issued a stay on it to allow an appeal to be filed.

The appellate court then issued its own stay Tuesday to “permit further consideration of the issues” raised by prosecutors.

Stephen J. Prekoski, who represented Cheek in earlier proceedings, could not be immediately reached for comment.

“We are confident our position will be vindicated and a permanent injunction will follow,” Assistant District Attorney Alexander Byers wrote in an email.

He said the Court of Appeal will issue a final ruling once it has finished its own review of the case.

“While the Court prevented the placement of Cheek in Bonny Doon, the Department of State Hospitals is permitted to seek alternative placement locations for Cheek,” said Byers. “Finally, Cheek’s attorney can file opposition papers with the Court if they wish.”

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He said there is no set deadline for the court’s review.

Cheek, who never resided in Santa Cruz County, was convicted of multiple rapes and an assault charge in the 1980s. He was incarcerated for four decades before getting transferred to the state mental hospital, where he continues to receive treatment.