Confessed serial rapist granted release from prison
by Doug Saunders
CLAREMONT -- A man who admitted to raping nearly 40 women throughout California is set to be released from prison.
Christopher Evans Hubbart was granted a conditional release from custody by Santa Clara County Judge Gilbert Brown in May. Hubbart is an inmate at the Coalinga State Mental Health Hospital in Central California.
Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said in a news release Tuesday that her office will file a writ challenging the court's ruling to release Hubbart in Los Angeles County.
"Our ultimate goal is to seek justice for all residents of Los Angeles County and make sure sexually violent predators remain in custody," Lacey said in the release. "This inmate has a long history of horrific violence against women, and we must act to keep our community safe."
Hubbart was born in Pasadena in 1951 and lived there until his family moved in 1957 to Claremont.
State law requires inmates conditionally released to be placed back to their homes of record prior to incarceration unless extraordinary circumstances require placement elsewhere. Hubbart's last known address was Claremont.
Judge Brown has set a court date of Friday in Santa Clara County Superior Court to assess the progress of Liberty Healthcare Corporation in finding Hubbart appropriate housing. LHC, the contractor for the Department of State Hospitals, was assigned to locate housing and treatment for Hubbart.
Claremont's city manager and chief of police are still looking into the matter, according to Mayor Opanyi Nasiali.
"As soon as we know more, we'll make the public aware of all we know," Nasiali said.
Authorities say Hubbart began raping women in 1968 throughout San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties.
He was convicted in 1972 of raping 14 women, according to court records. After being paroled in 1983, Hubbart raped a woman on the day of his release, records show.
Authorities say he raped nine more women in the San Jose area that year before he was apprehended and returned to prison.
He was again released in 1990, but returned to custody a short time later after he took a person hostage, court records show.
Hubbart admitted to authorities he raped nearly 40 women throughout the state between 1971 and 1983, including 26 in Los Angeles County, according to records.
He is a threat to public safety, L.A. County 5th District Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich said in a news release.
"Based on his criminal history, the state's planned release of this predator into our communities will create a very serious public safety threat," Antonovich said.
Lacey asked the 6th District Court of Appeal in San Jose on Tuesday to compel the lower court to vacate its order granting Hubbart's conditional release into the county, according to the news release.
She also plans to ask the court to stop Hubbart's release from state custody until the trial court reconsiders.
"If these crimes were committed today, this inmate's release would not be in question," Lacey said. "Today's violent sexual predators face life in prison."
Lacey has already advised her staff to notify Hubbart's victims of his possible pending release.
Female inmates sterilized in California without approval
by Corey Johnson
Doctors under contract with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation sterilized nearly 150 female inmates from 2006 to 2010 without required state approvals, The Center for Investigative Reporting has found.
At least 148 women received tubal ligations in violation of prison rules during those five years -- and there are perhaps 100 more dating back to the late 1990s, according to state documents and interviews.
From 1997 to 2010, the state paid doctors $147,460 to perform the procedure, according to a database of contracted medical services for state prisoners.
The women were signed up for the surgery while they were pregnant and housed at either the California Institution for Women in Corona or Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla, which is now a men's prison.
Former inmates and prisoner advocates maintain that prison medical staff coerced the women, targeting those deemed likely to return to prison in the future.
Crystal Nguyen, a former Valley State Prison inmate who worked in the prison's infirmary during 2007, said she often overheard medical staff asking inmates who had served multiple prison terms to agree to be sterilized.
"I was like, 'Oh my God, that's not right,' " Nguyen, 28, said. "Do they think they're animals, and they don't want them to breed anymore?"
One former Valley State inmate who gave birth to a son in October 2006 said the institution's OB-GYN, Dr. James Heinrich, repeatedly pressured her to agree to a tubal ligation.
"As soon as he found out that I had five kids, he suggested that I look into getting it done. The closer I got to my due date, the more he talked about it," said Christina Cordero, 34, who spent two years in prison for auto theft. "He made me feel like a bad mother if I didn't do it."
Cordero, released in 2008 and now living in Upland, agreed, but she says, "today, I wish I would have never had it done."
The allegations echo those made nearly a half-century ago, when forced sterilizations of prisoners, the mentally ill and the poor were commonplace in California. State lawmakers officially banned such practices in 1979.
During an interview with CIR, Heinrich said he provided an important service to poor women who faced health risks in future pregnancies because of past cesarean sections. The 69-year-old Bay Area physician denied pressuring anyone and expressed surprise that local contract
The California Institution for Women in Corona was one of two state prisons where female inmates were sterilized without required state approvals. At least 148 women received tubal ligations in violation of prison rules from 2006 to 2010. (Courtesy of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation)doctors had charged for the surgeries. He described the $147,460 total as minimal.
"Over a 10-year period, that isn't a huge amount of money," Heinrich said, "compared to what you save in welfare paying for these unwanted children -- as they procreated more."
The top medical manager at Valley State Prison from 2005 to 2008 characterized the surgeries as an empowerment issue for female inmates, providing them the same options as women on the outside. Daun Martin, a licensed psychologist, also claimed that some pregnant women, particularly those on drugs or who were homeless, would commit crimes so they could return to prison for better health care.
"Do I criticize those women for manipulating the system because they're pregnant? Absolutely not," Martin, 73, said. "But I don't think it should happen. And I'd like to find ways to decrease that."
Martin denied approving the surgeries, but at least 60 tubal ligations were done at Valley State while Martin was in charge, according to the state contracts database.
Martin's counterpart at the California Institution for Women, Dr. Jacqueline Long, declined to discuss why inmates received unauthorized tubal ligations under her watch. But the Corona prison's former compliance officer, William Kelsey, said there was disagreement among staff members over the procedure.
During one meeting in late 2005, a few correctional officers differed with Long's medical team over adding tubal ligations to a local hospital's contract, Kelsey, 57, said. The officers viewed the surgeries as nonessential medical care and questioned whether the state should pay.
"They were just fed up," Kelsey said. "They didn't think criminals and inmates had a right to the care we were providing them and they let their personal opinions be heard."
The service was included, however, and Kelsey said the grumbling subsided.
Federal and state laws ban inmate sterilizations if federal funds are used, reflecting concerns that prisoners might feel pressured to comply. California used state funds instead, but since 1994, the procedure has required approval from top medical officials in Sacramento on a case-by-case basis.
Yet no tubal ligation requests have come before the health care committee responsible for approving such restricted surgeries, said Dr. Ricki Barnett, who tracks medical services and costs for the California Prison Health Care Receivership Corp. Barnett, 65, has led the Health Care Review Committee since joining the prison receiver's office in 2008.
"When we heard about the tubal ligations, it made us all feel slightly queasy," Barnett said. "It wasn't so much that people were conspiratorial or coercive or sloppy. It concerns me that people never took a step back to project what they would feel if they were in the inmate's shoes and what the inmate's future might hold should they do this."
Jeffrey Callison, spokesman for the state corrections department, said the department couldn't comment because it no longer has access to inmate medical files.
"All medical care for inmates, and all medical files, past and present, are under the control of the Receiver's Office," Callison wrote in an email.
The receiver has overseen medical care in all 33 of the state's prisons since 2006, when U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson of the Northern District of California ruled that the system's health care was so poor that it violated the constitutional ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
The receiver's office was aware that sterilizations were happening, records show.
In September 2008, the prisoner rights group Justice Now received a written response to questions about the treatment of pregnant inmates from Tim Rougeux, then the receiver's chief operating officer. The letter acknowledged that the two prisons offered sterilization surgery to women.
But nothing changed until 2010, after the Oakland-based organization filed a public records request and complained to the office of state Sen. Carol Liu, D-Glendale. Liu was the chairwoman of the Select Committee on Women and Children in the Criminal Justice System.
Prompted by a phone call from Liu's staff, Barnett said the receiver's top medical officer asked her to research the matter. After analyzing medical and cost records, Barnett met in 2010 with officials at both women's prisons and contract health professionals affiliated with nearby hospitals.
During those meetings, Barnett told them to halt inmate sterilizations. In response, she said, she got an earful.
The 16-year-old restriction on tubal ligations seemed to be news to prison health administrators, doctors, nurses and the contracting physicians, Barnett recalled. And, she said, none of the doctors thought they needed permission to perform the surgery on inmates.
"Everybody was operating on the fact that this was a perfectly reasonable thing to do," she said.
Martin, the Valley State Prison medical manager, said she and her staff had discovered the procedure was restricted five years earlier. Someone had complained about the sterilization of an inmate who had at least six children, Martin recalled. That prompted Martin to research the prison's medical rules.
After learning of the restrictions, Martin told CIR that she and Heinrich began to look for ways around them. Both believed the rules were unfair to women, she said.
"I'm sure that on a couple of occasions, (Heinrich) brought an issue to me saying, 'Mary Smith is having a medical emergency' kind of thing, 'and we ought to have a tubal ligation. She's got six kids. Can we do it?' " Martin said. "And I said, 'Well, if you document it as a medical emergency, perhaps.' "
Heinrich said he offered tubal ligations only to pregnant inmates with a history of at least three C-sections. Additional pregnancies would be dangerous for these women, Heinrich said, because scar tissue inside the uterus could tear, resulting in massive blood loss and possible death.
"It was a medical problem that we had to make them aware of," Heinrich said. "It's up to the doctor who's delivering (your baby) "¦ to make you aware of what's going on. We're at risk for not telling them."
Former inmates tell a different story.
Michelle Anderson, who gave birth in December 2006 while at Valley State, said she'd had one prior C-section. Anderson, 44, repeatedly was asked to agree to be sterilized, she said, and was not told what risk factors led to the requests. She refused.
Nikki Montano also had one C-section before she landed at Valley State in 2008, pregnant and battling drug addiction.
Montano, 42, was serving time after pleading guilty to burglary, forgery and receiving stolen property. The mother of seven children, she said neither Heinrich nor the medical staff told her why she needed a tubal ligation.
"I figured that's just what happens in prison "" that that's the best kind of doctor you're going get," Montano said. "He never told me nothing about nothing."
Montano eagerly agreed to the surgery and said she still considers it a positive in her life.
Dr. Carolyn Sufrin, an OB-GYN at San Francisco General Hospital who teaches at UC San Francisco, said it is not common practice to offer tubal ligations to women who've had one C-section. She confirmed that having multiple C-sections increases the risk of complications, but even then, she said, it's more appropriate to offer women reversible means of birth control, like intrauterine devices or implants.
"Every C-section, every situation is different," Sufrin said. "Some people with more prior C-sections have absolutely no problems and no risks."
History in eugenics
To be sure, tubal ligations represented a small portion of the medical care provided to pregnant inmates. Statistics and a report from the prison receiver's office show that from 2000 to 2010, 2,423 women gave birth while imprisoned in California, costing the state $2.7 million. Fewer than 1 in 10 were surgically sterilized.
But the numbers don't tell the full story. California still grapples with an ugly past: Under compulsory sterilization laws here and in 31 other states, minority groups, the poor, the disabled, the mentally ill and criminals were singled out as inferior and sterilized to prevent them from spreading their genes.
It was known as eugenics.
Between 1909 and 1964, about 20,000 women and men in California were stripped of the ability to reproduce "" making the state the nation's most prolific sterilizer. Historians say Nazi Germany sought the advice of the state's eugenics leaders in the 1930s.
In 2003, the state Senate held two hearings to expose this history, featuring testimony from researchers, academics and state officials. In response, then-Attorney General Bill Lockyer and Gov. Gray Davis issued formal apologies.
"Our hearts are heavy for the pain caused by eugenics. It was a sad and regrettable chapter in the state's history, and it is one that must never be repeated again," Davis said in a statement.
Missing from the hearings was the perspective of state prison officials. Then-Corrections Director Edward Alameida Jr. had informed the Senate committee that the prison system lacked records about sterilizations.
"While obviously this was a dark chapter in our State's history, the CDC (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation) played a minuscule role," Alameida wrote in a June 2003 letter. "Thus our participation in your hearing would provide no substantial information on that role and I do not believe our presence would contribute in any way toward your objectives."
However, Alexandra Minna Stern, a professor at the University of Michigan and leading expert on California sterilization, cited state prison activity among the lingering questions from that era. Stern testified during the hearings that she found in private hands and university archives evidence of 600 sterilizations at San Quentin State Prison prior to 1941 that were not included in official numbers.
California sterilizers, Stern told the committee, consistently viewed their work as humane and cost saving.
"One of the goals "¦ and this is critical to understanding the history of eugenics in California "" was to save money: how to limit welfare and relief," Stern told them, according to a transcript of her presentation. "And sterilization is very much tied up in this."
Seeking patient consent
Lawsuits, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling and public outrage over eugenics and similar sterilization abuses in Alabama and New York spawned new requirements in the 1970s for doctors to fully inform patients.
Since then, it's been illegal to pressure anyone to be sterilized or ask for consent during labor or childbirth.
Yet, Kimberly Jeffrey says she was pressured by a doctor while sedated and strapped to a surgical table for a C-section in 2010, during a stint at Valley State for a parole violation. Jeffrey, 43, was horrified, she said, and resisted.
"He said, 'So we're going to be doing this tubal ligation, right?' " Jeffrey said. "I'm like, 'Tubal ligation? What are you talking about? I don't want any procedure. I just want to have my baby.' I went into a straight panic."
Jeffrey provided copies of her official prison and hospital medical files to CIR. Those records show Jeffrey rejected a tubal ligation offer during a December 2009 prenatal checkup at Heinrich's office. A medical report from Jeffrey's C-section a month later noted that she again refused a tubal ligation request made after she arrived at Madera Community Hospital.
At no time did anyone explain to her any medical justifications for tubal ligation, Jeffrey said.
That experience still haunts Jeffrey, who lives in San Francisco with her 3-year-old son, Noel. She speaks to groups seeking to improve conditions for female prisoners and has lobbied legislators in Sacramento. Jeffrey recently completed her ACT college-entrance test and hopes to pursue a degree at San Francisco State University.
"Being treated like I was less than human produced in me a despair," she said.
State prison officials "are the real repeat offenders," Jeffrey added. "They repeatedly offended me by denying me my right to dignity and humanity."
Dorothy Roberts, a University of Pennsylvania law professor and expert on sterilization, said courts have concluded that soliciting approval for sterilization during labor is coercive because pain and discomfort can impair a woman's ability to weigh the decision.
"If this was happening in a federal prison, it would be illegal," Roberts said. "There are specific situations where you cannot say it's informed consent, and one of them is during childbirth or labor. No woman should give consent on the operating table."
Heinrich considers the questions raised about his medical care unfair and said he is suspicious about the women's motives. Heinrich insists he worked hard to give inmates high-quality medical treatment, adding that hundreds of appreciative prisoners could vouch for that.
"They all wanted it done," he said of the sterilizations. "If they come a year or two later saying, 'Somebody forced me to have this done,' that's a lie. That's somebody looking for the state to give them a handout.
"My guess is that the only reason you do that is not because you feel wronged, but that you want to stay on the state's dole somehow."
Barnett declined to say whether Heinrich's practices had been reviewed by the receiver's office, citing employee confidentially laws. Initially, she said she believed Heinrich had left the prison system. However, shortly after retiring in 2011, Heinrich returned in another role. He's currently listed as one of the prison's contract physicians.
Barnett stressed that she sought only to end prison sterilizations, not to investigate officials or interview inmates to discover whether abuses occurred.
"Did Dr. Heinrich say improper things? I can't say," she added. "Is our process sufficiently draconian enough to weed out bad actors? We have a lot of civil service processes. Is it 100 percent effective? Is it the best process we can come up with? No, of course not."
PRINCETON: After survey, police to reach out to Hispanic community
Princeton police said this week that the department is increasing its outreach to the local Hispanic community after getting “zero” feedback from that part of the population on a town-wide police survey a few months ago.
”They have to have concerns like everybody else. And we want to make everybody a part of our community and address everybody's concerns,” said police Capt. Nicholas K. Sutter in releasing the survey findings to reporters on Monday.
That outreach, he said, has taken the form of reaching out to church and community groups and community leaders. The department said it has been in contact with the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund, a nonprofit with offices in Trenton and Princeton.
Capt. Sutter said the department wants to address any fears they might have about interacting with police. According to the last Census, Hispanics make up about 8 percent of the total population of roughly 28,500 people living in Princeton, officials said. The department, which has seven officers who speak Spanish, said two of them have been going into the Hispanic community to explain the department's role as part of an education campaign.
This comes with the town considering whether to be a so-called “Sanctuary City,” a designation seen as being friendly to people in the country illegally. Officials said such a declaration only would restate current Princeton police policy that the department does not enforce federal immigration laws.
Councilwoman Heather H. Howard, who attended the announcement of the survey findings, called it an “important restatement of policy.” She said it was key that victims of crime or witnesses are not afraid to come forward.
”It's not in any way a change in policing policy at all,” said Capt. Sutter, the leader of the department with Police Chief David J. Dudeck on extended medical leave.
Starting in February and going through early May, the department sought to find out what problems were in the five different sections or geographic patrol sectors in the merged community and what expectations the public had for the police force. Capt. Sutter said the department did a door-to-door sampling in each sector as well as have the questionnaires — which was available in English and Spanish — also on the Internet through a service called “SurveyMonkey.”
The findings, based on 394 responses, showed that the “most common concerns” people had were maintaining a police presence, speeding and traffic enforcement and community policing, Capt. Sutter said.
”But generally, all of our citizens want a proactive police department that's out there taking care of the quality of life issues that people are concerned about,” he said.
As the consolidated police force is less than a year into operation, Capt. Sutter said the department can tailor “our response to what the community wants.”
”They can actually be a part of the foundation of the building of this department,” he said.
Capt. Sutter said the department planned to have community meetings in each of the five sectors. Though the department has 54 officers on the rolls, only 48 of them are available due to people being out on various leaves.
From the White House
America's immigration system is broken. Too many employers game the system by hiring undocumented workers and there are 11 million people living in the shadows. Neither is good for the economy or the country.
Together we can build a fair, effective and common sense immigration system that lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.
The President's plan builds a smart, effective immigration system that continues efforts to secure our borders and cracks down on employers who hire undocumented immigrants. It's a plan that requires anyone who's undocumented to get right with the law by paying their taxes and a penalty, learning English, and undergoing background checks before they can be eligible to earn citizenship. It requires every business and every worker to play by the same set of rules.
There are four principles to the President's common sense proposal:
Strengthen Border Security
The President's proposal gives law enforcement the tools they need to make our communities safer from crime, enhances our infrastructure and technology, and strengthens our ability to remove criminals and apprehend and prosecute threats to our national security.
Streamlining legal immigration
Legal immigration should be simple and efficient. The President's proposal provides visas to foreign entrepreneurs looking to start businesses here, helps the most promising foreign graduate students in science and math stay in this country after graduation, and reunites families in a timely and humane manner.
The President's proposal provides undocumented immigrants with a legal way to earn citizenship so they can come out of the shadows. It holds them accountable by requiring they pass background checks, pay taxes and a penalty, go to the back of the line, and learn English. It requires everyone to play by the same rules.
Cracking Down on Employers
Hiring Undocumented Workers
The President's proposal is designed to stop businesses from exploiting the system by knowingly hiring undocumented workers. It holds these companies accountable, and gives employers who want to play by the rules a reliable way to verify that their employees are here legally.
To learn more about the President's efforts to advance immigration reform, read the Immigration Blueprint [PDF] .