VENTURA — Convicted rapist Ronald Steven Herrera told jurors Friday that he is not mentally ill and has refused psychological treatment to protest the state's violent sexual predator law that has kept him in custody.
"I feel I can function on a normal basis without" treatment, he said.
Herrera, 53, formerly of Santa Paula, was one of the state's first parolees committed under the 1995 Sexually Violent Predator Law, which allows authorities to hold sex offenders in custody for two-year stretches at mental hospitals if they meet certain criteria.
Under the law, sexual predators are defined as those criminals with mental health disorders and repeated sex crime convictions who are likely to attack again.
In 1996, a Ventura County jury deemed Herrera a sexual predator in the county's first such case. Now, the same issue is before a second jury in Superior Court Judge James P. Cloninger's courtroom.