If Christopher Hubbart were convicted of raping dozens of women these days, California's three strikes law of 1994 would have kept him behind bars for life.
"If these crimes were committed today, this inmate's release would not be in question," Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in court, according to the San Bernardino County Sun. "Today's violent sexual predators face life in prison."
Instead, Hubbart has been in custody at a California psychiatric hospital as a "mentally disordered sex offender" who can technically be released after he's not considered a danger anymore.
His lawyer, public defender Jeff Dunn, told the Los Angeles Times in July that Hubbart finished his sex offender treatment last year and isn't dangerous anymore. During his years-long treatment, Hubbart was tested repeatedly by psychologists, took lie detector tests, and was closely monitored for how he behaved with female staff. Hubbart is also less likely to rape again now that he's 62, Dunn told the Times.
Judge Gilbert Brown didn't write a detailed explanation when he initially approved Hubbart's release back in May, but it appears he accepted Dunn's argument. The state's Supreme Court rejected an 11th-hour attempt by prosecutors to block his release without offering any explanation at all.
Hubbart was first arrested back in 1972 after raping about 25 women in the LA area, reportedly placing a pillowcase over their heads during the assaults. He was classified a "mentally disordered sex offender" and sent to Atascadero State Hospital, which released him in 1979, according to court records.
He relocated to San Francisco, where he raped another 15 women. Hubbart got a 16-year prison sentence in 1982 but was paroled after serving just half that time. He tried to rape two more women not long after he was paroled and got another three years behind bars.
By that time, the California state legislature had passed a law to keep serial offenders like him in mental facilities locked up until they're rehabilitated. He's been in a psych facility under the state's Sexually Violent Predatory Statute since the 1990s.
Now that he's being released, Hubbart may have a tough time finding a place to live. He'll have to register as a sex offender and won't be able to live within 2,000 feet of a park or school. Los Angeles has reportedly built new parks with the express purpose of keeping sex offenders away.
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