SAN JOSE (CBS / AP) — The California Supreme Court denied Los Angeles County’s appeal to stop the release of convicted serial rapist Christopher Hubbart, who law enforcement officials said is a significant threat to public safety.
The state’s high court issued the denials Wednesday of both Hubbart’s release and his specific release to Los Angeles County. That means 62-year-old Hubbart — a convicted serial rapist who has admitted to raping and sexually assaulting 38 women in California between 1971 and 1982 — will be released as soon as housing is found.
“We aggressively pursued and exhausted all legal avenues to stop the release of sexually violent predator Christopher Hubbart to Los Angeles County,” said L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey in a statement. “We now are committed to working with our law enforcement partners to ensure that all terms and conditions of Hubbart’s release from custody are strictly enforced.”
An attorney representing Hubbart could not immediately be reached for comment.
Those terms and conditions will be quite strict, said Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Vonda Tracey. It’s “a super intensive parole, it’s more intensive than any state parole or county probation out there,” Tracey said. Hubbart will be required to wear a GPS ankle bracelet, continue treatment, obey a curfew and be subject to random searches and seizures, drug testing and polygraphs. And unlike his prior releases from prison, where he began attacking women again, he’ll be monitored 24/7.
Hubbart was admitted to a state hospital after serving a prison term that was due to end in January 1996 under a then newly-enacted law that allowed sexually violent predators to be civilly committed for treatment.
Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Gilbert Brown granted Hubbart’s conditional release in May. Because Hubbart was born and raised in LA County and considers it home, he was ordered released here.
“It’s not going to happen tomorrow,” Tracey said. “The housing search generally takes six months to a year, and there’s a lot of thought that goes into placing these individuals some place that they can be monitored the best for community safety.”
Tracey said Hubbart’s release is the final phase in a multi-step treatment process that ends with a conditional release in the community under the supervision of Liberty Healthcare Corporation. The decision to release Hubbart was made by a panel of professionals at the state hospital who have followed and analyzed his progress.
Once a home is found, the community will be notified and they will have a chance to comment on the proposed housing location. In the meantime, Hubbart remains at Coalinga State Hospital while officials search for his housing.
Officials will have monthly hearings to discuss whether housing has been found for Hubbart. If it can’t be found within a year, Tracey said, there is precedent for a judge ordering a “homeless release,” which is considered a public safety and supervision nightmare.
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