Saturday, February 13 , 2016, 10:51 pm | Fair 75º

DA Fighting to Keep Sexual Predator Out of County

State appellate court to decide where violent convicted rapist should be paroled in dispute between Santa Barbara, Placer counties

By Tom Bolton, Noozhawk Executive Editor | @tombol | updated logo 9:57 p.m. |

Facing what they see as long odds of success, Santa Barbara County prosecutors are headed back to court this week for what they hope will be the final push to keep a sexually violent predator from being released locally.

Tibor Karsai
Tibor Karsai

The hearing Wednesday before the state Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento presumably will decide where Tibor Karsai will be released.

“I am not optimistic,” District Attorney Joyce Dudley said Sunday night. “This is a Hail Mary if ever there was one.”

Dudley noted that appellate judges typically are not eager to reverse their own earlier rulings, but local prosecutors believe they must try.

The court will hear oral arguments Wednesday, and likely will render its decision in two to four weeks, according to Deputy District Attorney Michael Carrozzo, the lead prosecutor on the case.

Karsai, 59, was convicted in 1974 in Santa Barbara of forcible rape, and was paroled three years later to San Luis Obispo.

He was convicted six years later of forcible rape in Placer County, and sentenced to 26 years in state prison. He was then transferred to a state mental hospital, where he was designated as a sexually violent predator.

Karsai was to be released from the mental facility early last year, but that was delayed by a protracted legal fight between officials in Placer and Santa Barbara counties that went all the way to the state Supreme Court.

Last May, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye ordered the matter returned to the Court of Appeal, which previously had ruled against Santa Barbara County.

The legal dispute centers on where Karsai was living before being incarcerated.

Dudley and Carrozzo have argued that San Luis Obispo was Karsai’s proper domicile because it was where he resided before being sentenced.

Karsai was to be released from custody through a program run by Liberty Healthcare Group, which provides supervision for people released from prison and mental hospitals.

Local prosecutors objected to Karsai’s placement in a Santa Maria residence because it was within 2,000 feet of a school.

Ultimately, that house wasn’t available, so a Placer County Superior Court judge ruled that Karsai would be released in Santa Barbara County as a transient.

A motion to stay that decision was granted by the Court of Appeal, but that court eventually denied Dudley’s request. The Supreme Court subsequently reversed that decision, and ordered the appeals court to vacate its order.

The Supreme Court also directed that Placer County should be required to “show cause” why Santa Barbara County’s motion should not be granted.

“Although the odds may be against the Court of Appeal reversing itself on the release and transfer order,” Dudley and Carrozzo said in a statement that they hope to prevail in their effort “to keep Tibor Karsai from being released as a transient to this county.”

In the meantime, Karsai remains behind bars.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

» on 01.21.13 @ 12:26 AM

The liberals will be upset with the D.A

» on 01.21.13 @ 03:51 PM

I’m a liberal and I agree.

Why not get off your high horse and make a suggestion.

Perhaps you could be an advocate for forcing him and all “sexual predators” to have an orchidectomy, then he/they could be released anywhere without all this verbal fighting.

After all isn’t protecting people an important part of the constitution?

» on 01.21.13 @ 03:52 PM

This sounds like a prince of a fellow. Imagine most of CA’s other counties would be
competing for the right to have him live within their borders.

Maybe the ideal solution would be to find a half-way house for him as close as
possible to the home of the Sacramento appellate judges who must decide his fate.

Or perhaps right across the street from the state official who determined that he’s
ready for release, and poses no danger to the public anymore?

» on 01.21.13 @ 08:18 PM

When will society re-learn that animals like this do not deserve to live in a free society?  Fact: these guys are never going to be safe in our cities and they will re-offend.  Unfortunately Bruce Holms is ignoring the fact that liberals initiated ‘rehabilitation’ that in most cases does not work.  Who suffers? We do as a society.  The liberal idea that we can fix a broken mind will never work.  The fix is easy.  It should not cost $50,000 a year to house a inmate.  Tented camps with barbed wire and machine guns works for me, and then we can keep those who would harm our loved ones where they belong.

» on 01.22.13 @ 12:01 AM

Someone give this guy some rope, and let’s hope he uses it.

Society will be a teeny bit safer.

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