California neighborhood residents relieved after law closes loophole connected to Cane Madden trial

The law closes a loophole that allowed mentally ill defendants who were ruled incompetent to stand trial, but would not benefit from treatment, to be committed.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Residents in the California neighborhood said they can breathe a little bit easier knowing one repeat offender may never walk free again.

Cane Madden is accused of raping and fracturing the skull of an eight-year-old girl in 2019.

A loophole in Kentucky law said if an offender was deemed not competent to stand trial but would not benefit from rehabilitation, that person would be released into the public and could become a repeat offender. Madden was one of those offenders.

A new law was signed by Gov. Andy Beshear Thursday closes the loophole, making sure those types of offenders can now be committed for involuntary treatment.

“It’s just a big relief for the whole community,” resident Dino Johnson said. “California community has been behind this little eight-year-old girl for the longest.”

Johnson has been a lifelong resident of the California neighborhood. He said the assault shattered the neighborhood, leaving people afraid.

This new law is something residents and officials have been fighting for.

“It’s about time that it got fixed,” said Metro Council President David James, who represents the California community. “There’s been a fear and an anger that he’s still been in the neighborhood and in the area.”

While the neighborhood is happy to see this law passed, Johnson said there is still work to be done. He said he feels like because the crimes were committed in a mostly Black community, their pleas were not taken as seriously.

“If this crime was happening out in J-town or St. Matthews, I feel something would have been done quicker,” Johnson said.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine said Madden isn’t the only offender like this, so the new law will ensure even more neighborhoods outside of California are safe.

RELATED: Beshear signs bill closing loophole for incompetent defendants amid Cane Madden trial

RELATED: Kentucky lawmakers have ‘beautiful conversation’ after emotional speech during debate

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