L.A. D.A. Tries to Keep Serial Rapist in State Hospital

If released, Christopher Hubbart could come to Bay Area

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The California Supreme Court has been asked to step into the volatile issue of the impending release of a serial rapist.

Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey, who lost an earlier bid to an appeals court, filed a request with the high court Friday for a hearing.

She said the release from a state hospital of 62-year-old Christopher Hubbart would pose a significant threat to public safety. Hubbart admitted raping and sexually assaulting 38 women in California between 1971 and 1982, including some in the Bay Area.

He was declared a sexually violent predator in 1996. Lacey's earlier appeal objected only to his release to LA County. She said his home was Santa Clara County.

In her new filing, Lacey seeks to prevent his release into any community. She asked that he continue to be held at a state hospital until legal issues are resolved.

"I am asking the California Supreme Court to grant us an opportunity to oppose the release of a sexually violent predator into any community -- not just ours,'' Lacey said in a statement released by her office.

She initially objected to a ruling by Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Gilbert Brown, who held that Hubbart should be released in Los Angeles County where he was born and raised. But Lacey argued that he lived in Santa Clara County in the years leading to his arrest and no longer has family in Los Angeles.

"A new hearing independent of regional loyalties should be held to determine whether Hubbart should be conditionally released,'' said the appeal. Hubbart's prison term was due to end in January 1996, but he was instead admitted to a state hospital under a then newly-enacted law that allowed sexually violent predators to be civilly committed for treatment.

Hubbart's release is the final phase in a multi-step treatment process that ends with a conditional release to 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.

Release terms would require him to wear a GPS ankle bracelet, continue treatment, obey a curfew and be subject to random searches and seizures, drug testing and polygraphs.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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