Nareau to hear state’s change of venue motion regarding CCC Monday, Aug. 23

Lassen County Superior Court Judge Mark Nareau ordered his temporary restraining order halting progress on the closure of the California Correctional Center in Susanville that was set to expire at 5 p.m. today will remain in effect until 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 23 when he will hear a motion from state attorneys seeking a change of venue motion.

On July 28, the city of Susanville filed a petition for a writ of madamus and an application for a temporary restraining order against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, CDCR Secretary Kathleen Allison and California Governor Gavin Newsom seeking to stop the closure of the California Correctional Center in Lassen Superior Court. Nareau originally granted a temporary stay until today’s hearing.

The city alleges that prior to commencing the closure of CCC, and contrary to legislative mandate, the state did not conduct (a) review under the California Environmental Quality Act. The state also allegedly failed to conduct such review, even though there can be no reasonable dispute that the decision to close the prison was a “discretionary project” subject to CEQA. Further, the city alleges the state violated Penal Code sections 2067 and 5003.7 when it selected to close CCC without doing a formal and adequate review and prior to ending contracts with its other private facilities.

Nareau noted CDCR had filed a change of venue motion in Sacramento set to be heard Sept. 28, but he said waiting until then to have the change of motion petition heard was not in the best interests of either party.

He also noted the 3rd District Court of Appeals had denied a motion by the state’s attorneys.

Nareau ordered both sides to file pleadings in the change of venue issue by 4 p.m. Friday, Aug. 20.

If the change of venue motion is denied Aug. 23, the city’s petition for the writ will be heard immediately thereafter. If the change of venue motion is granted, the case will not move forward locally and instead will be heard by the new court.

The attorneys for the state appeared in Lassen County Superior Court today via ZOOM. They will also appear remotely Aug. 23.