A quadriplegic serving 157 years to life for running over a woman with his car, kidnapping her and raping her again and again will soon be let out of jail because his care is costing California $625,000 a year.
Steven Martinez perpetrated the horrific crime in San Diego in 1998 — when he had working limbs. Three years into his sentence, two inmates attacked Martinez and one of them paralyzed him with a spine-slicing stab to the neck.
Now, the L.A. Times reports, the cash-strapped state will let him skip out on his punishment to slash the staggering cost of his care.
A recently enacted medical parole law, designed to cut costs, allows the release of inmates who require 24-hour care. Martinez was denied parole under the law in 2011 but received a favorable ruling last month from an appeals court.
The parole board cited his verbal assault of prison caretakers — saying that, even with lame limbs, his sicko mind and mouth make him a threat to society. Documents describe his behavior:
As the nurse was attempting to feed Martinez, he berated the correctional officer by saying: “You’re a jackass. You’re an asshole, a piece of shit.” After this verbal attack, the nurse and correctional officer left Martinez, but they returned a few minutes later to finish feeding him. Martinez continued his verbal barrage: “You don’t order anyone, jackass. I can do whatever I want. You are turning red. This pisses you off, don’t it, asshole?” When the correctional officer ordered Martinez to stop being disrespectful, Martinez responded by telling him, “You don’t order me. You don’t understand how important I am, do you, jackass. I’m going to sue you because you are so stupid you make it easy.”
He was sitting on the toilet and asked for assistance. Two nurses responded, but Martinez refused their help and became disruptive. Martinez said, “You are incompetent and stupid. If you’re not going to do what I say, then spin. You’re an idiot, an asshole, and stupid. You obviously don’t know who you’re dealing with. You’re one of the real smart ones, aren’t you? You’re lucky I can’t walk.” When the nurse asked Martinez whathe meant, he replied, “I’d kick your ass.”
… he called the nurse an “obnoxious ghetto rat” and threatened to urinate on the hover lift if the nurse put her foot on it again
But the most relevant incident of abuse involved a threat that speaks to the prisoner’s potential to make others do his bidding — the only way someone in his condition could be a legitimate threat to others:
When a nurse ignored his comments, he stated, “Oh, you’re ignoring me now after telling me you live inan apartment. By the way, did you tell your husband that you invited me to your apartment?” The nurse left the area, but later returned, which prompted Martinez to say, “The clock is ticking. I’m working on it. Next month is your last month, and you will be bye-bye.
The appeals court overruled the parole board and ordered the rapist’s release, saying in part (read the full decision below):
The Board did not clearly explain how the conditions of Martinez’s release, his placement in an acute care facility, would facilitate his ability to harm others. Instead, the Board implied Martinez’s ability to harm would be facilitated because Martinez is a “violent person who is capable of using others to carry out his threats.” The Board has identified a possible way in which Martinez can harm another. However, it is not areasonable possibility. … there is no evidence that Martinez would be reasonably capable of using others to harm people if released to an acute care facility.
A neighbor of the prisoner’s mother — who will help care for him upon release — summed it up:
“He can’t go out and rape anybody.”
Read the court of appeals’ decision: