Governor Jerry Brown has reversed Leslie Van Houten’s parole recommendation, again. The ruling was sent out by Brown’s press secretary today, and reads as follows.
In the late summer of 1968, 19-year-old Leslie Van Houten met Charles Manson and began
living at Spahn Ranch. She was one of the youngest members of his cult, known as “the
Family.” Manson believed that a civilization-ending war between the races — Helter Skelter – was imminent, and that the Family would emerge from hiding in the desert at the end of the war to take control of the world. By 1969, the Family’s members, including Van Houten, ardently embraced Manson’s apocalyptic and warped worldview. Manson eventually came to believe that the Family would have to trigger the race war by committing atrocious, high-profile murders of white victims to incite retaliatory violence against black people. (See People v. Manson (1976) 61 Cal.App.3d 102, 127-30). At some point, Manson approached Van Houten and asked her “if she was crazy enough to believe in him and what he was doing.” She responded, “Yes.”
On August 9, 1969, several Family members carried out the gruesome murders of Abigail Folger, Wojiciech Frykowski, Jay Sebring, Steven Parent, and the eight-month pregnant Sharon Tate. Van Houten did not participate in the Tate murders, but she heard about them the next day from the news and Family members and reported that she felt “left out.”
On August 10, 1969, Manson instructed Van Houten and other Family members that the murders the previous night had been “too messy.” Manson told them they were going out again that night and he would show them how it should be done. As instructed by Manson, Van Houten took a change of clothes with her in case her clothes got bloody. At Manson’s direction, Linda Kasabian drove Manson, Van Houten, Charles “Tex” Watson, Patricia Krenwinkel, Susan Atkins, and Steve Grogan around for hours, making stops to allow Manson to locate potential murder victims. The group eventually stopped at the home of Rosemary and Leno LaBianca.
Manson entered the LaBianca home, tied up the couple, and returned to the car with Mrs. LaBianca’s wallet. His plan was to plant the wallet in an area with a large African-American population so they would be blamed for the murders, which in turn would initiate the race war. Manson told Van Houten, Krenwinkel, and Watson to go into the house. Once inside the LaBianca home, Watson told Van Houten and Krenwinkel to take Mrs. LaBianca into her bedroom and kill her. Krenwinkel retrieved knives from the kitchen and gave one to Van Houten. Van Houten put a pillowcase over Mrs. LaBianca’s head and wrapped a lamp cord around her neck. Mrs. LaBianca could hear the guttural sounds of her husband being stabbed to death by Watson in the other room. She grabbed the lamp and tried to escape, but Van Houten knocked the lamp out of her hands and wrestled her back to the bed. Van Houten then pinned Mrs. LaBianca down while Krenwinkel stabbed her. Krenwinkel stabbed Mrs. LaBianca with so much force that the knife blade bent on Mrs. LaBianca’s collarbone. Van Houten summoned Watson for assistance, and he came in the room with a bayonet. Watson stabbed Mrs. LaBianca several times with the bayonet and then handed a knife to Van Houten and told her to “do something.” Van Houten said she “felt” Mrs. LaBianca was dead at that point, but she “didn’t know for sure.” She continued stabbing Mrs. LaBianca at least 16 times. Mrs. LaBianca was stabbed a total of 41 times according to autopsy reports. Mr. LaBianca had 13 stab wounds, in addition to scratches, and 14 puncture wounds from a carving fork which was left sticking out of his stomach. A knife was also found protruding from his neck. The word “War” was scratched on his stomach.
After the murders, Van Houten thoroughly wiped away fingerprints from the house while Krenwinkel painted “Death to the Pigs” on a wall in the living room, “Rise” over a door, and “Healter (sic) Skelter” on a refrigerator door using Mr. LaBianca’s blood. Van Houten changed into Mrs. LaBianca’s clothes and drank chocolate milk from the LaBianca’s refrigerator before leaving. Back at Spahn Ranch, she burned Mrs. LaBianca’s clothes and counted the money taken from the home. According to Family member Dianne Lake, Van Houten told her that “she had stabbed a woman who was already dead, and that the more she did it the more fun it was.”
While the residents of Los Angeles and the surrounding areas remained in terror, Van Houten hid out for over two months at a remote location in Death Valley hoping to seek refuge in the “bottomless pit” and fulfill Manson’s prophecy. She was not arrested until November 25, 1969.
The question I must answer is whether Leslie Van Houten will pose a current danger to the public if released from prison. The circumstances of the crime can provide evidence of current dangerousness when the record also establishes that something in the inmate’s pre- or post-incarceration history, or the inmate’s current demeanor and mental state, indicate that the circumstances of the crime remain probative of current dangerousness. (In re Lawrence (2008) 44 Cal. 4th 1181, 1214.) Additionally, I am required to give “great weight to the diminished culpability of juveniles as compared to adults, the hallmark features of youth, and any subsequent growth and increased maturity of the prisoner” when determining a youthful offender’s suitability for parole. (Pen. Code, § 4801, subd. (c).) I am also required to give “great weight to any information or evidence that, at the time of the commission of the crime, the prisoner had experienced intimate partner battering.” (Pen. Code, § 4801, subd. (b)(1).) In rare circumstances, the aggravated nature of the crime alone can provide a valid basis for denying parole, even when there is strong evidence of rehabilitation and no other evidence of current dangerousness. (In re Lawrence, supra, at 1211, 1214.)
The Board of Parole Hearings found Van Houten suitable for parole on September 6, 2017, based on her growth and maturity while incarcerated, development of pro-social thought processes and healthy coping mechanisms, educational achievements, lack of a significant juvenile or adult record, stable social history as an adult, expression of remorse and acceptance of responsibility, low risk of future violence, and parole plans.
I acknowledge that Van Houten’s crime was committed when she was 19 years old and that she has since been incarcerated for 48 years. She is 68 years old and has made laudable strides in self-improvement in prison. The psychologist who evaluated her in 2016 noted that during Van Houten’s incarceration, she has “exhibited pro-social behaviors throughout most of her imprisonment.” She has never been disciplined for serious misconduct during her incarceration. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees and has received exceptional work ratings as a tutor for the past decade. She also received positive commendations from staff, including several in 2017. She has participated in and facilitated numerous self-help programs, including Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous, Victim Offender Education Group, and Relapse Prevention. She served as Parliamentarian of the Women’s Advisory Council. I carefully examined the record for evidence demonstrating Van Houten’s increased maturity and rehabilitation, and gave great weight to all the factors relevant to her diminished culpability as a juvenile: her immaturity and impetuosity, her failure to appreciate risks and consequences, her dysfunctional home environment, the peer pressures that affected her, and her other hallmark features of youth. I also gave great weight to her subsequent growth in prison during my consideration of her suitability for parole, as well as evidence that she had been the victim of intimate partner battering at the hands of Manson. However, these factors are outweighed by negative factors that demonstrate she remains unsuitable for parole.
In the summer of 1969, Van Houten and other members of the Manson family began their quest to start a civilization-ending war between the races — known as Helter Skelter— by committing atrocious, high-profile murders to incite retaliatory violence. Van Houten played a vital part in the LaBianca murders, one of the most notorious of the Manson Family crimes. She chose to enter the LaBianca home, brutally stabbed Mrs. LaBianca numerous times, and then helped clean up the scene and dispose of evidence. The devastation and loss experienced by the LaBianca family and all the victims’ families continues today.
The murders alone are not the only evidence that Van Houten remains unsuitable for parole. She has long downplayed her role in these murders and in the Manson Family, and her minimization of her role continues today. At her 2017 parole hearing, Van Houten claimed full responsibility for her crimes. However, she still shifted blame for her own actions onto Manson to some extent, saying, “I take responsibility for the entire crime. I take responsibility going back to Manson being able to do what he did to all of us. I allowed it.” She later stated, “I accept responsibility that I allowed [Manson] to conduct my life in that way.”
Van Houten’s statements show that she still has not come to terms with her central role in these murders and in the Manson Family. Van Houten told the 2016 psychologist that when asked to join Charles Manson’s “utopia” at the Spahn Ranch, she “bit into it, hook, line and sinker.” By her own account, she idolized Manson and wanted to please him. At her 2017 hearing, VanHouten explained that she “desperately wanted to be what [Manson] envisioned us being.” She admitted that following the Tate murders, she wanted to participate in the LaBianca murders because she “wanted to go and commit to the cause, too.” Van Houten told the Board she committed the crimes in order to “prove my dedication to the revolution and what I knew would need to be done to, um, have proved myself to Manson.”
As the Los Angeles Superior Court found last year, Van Houten’s recent statements, “specifically her inability to discuss her role in the Manson Family and LaBianca murders without imputing some responsibility to her drug use and her danger of falling prey to the influence of other people because of her dependent personality,” have demonstrated a lack of insight into her crimes. “[She] was not violent before she met Manson, but upon meeting such a manipulative individual she chose to participate in the cold-blooded murder of multiple innocent victims.” The court continued, “While it is unlikely [Van Houten] could ever find another Manson-like figure if released, her susceptibility to dependence and her inability to fully recognize why she willingly participated in her life crime provides a nexus between the commitment offense and her current mental state, demonstrating she poses a danger to society if released on parole.”
Van Houten has made admirable efforts at self-improvement while incarcerated and appears more willing today to accept responsibility for the part she played in these crimes. I considered and gave great weight to evidence in the record that Manson was clearly abusive to her and other Family members at the time of the crime. But even today, almost five decades later, Van Houten has not wholly accepted responsibility for her role in the violent and brutal deaths of Mr. and Mrs. LaBianca.
These crimes stand apart from others by their heinous nature and shocking motive. By her own behavior, Van Houten has shown she is capable of extraordinary violence. There is no question that Van Houten was both fully committed to the radical beliefs of the Manson Family and that she actively contributed to a bloody horror that terrorized the nation. As our Supreme Court has acknowledged, in rare cases, the circumstances of a crime can provide a basis for denying parole. This is exactly such a case.
Therefore, for all the above reasons, I reverse the decision to parole Leslie Van Houten.
Decision Date: January 19, 2018
EDMUND G. BROWN JR.
Governor, State of California
1) IT'S THE ONLY LAWFUL OPTION
2) BEING FORCED TO SERVE AN UNAUTHORIZED SENTENCE OF LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE
3) CDCR IS CLAIMED TO CORRECT AND REHABILITATE, NOT PUNISH. HAVING ALREADY SERVED 48 YEARS, EITHER THE STATE IS DISHONEST, OR IT IS INCOMPETENT AT REFORM
4) PROVEN AS EXCEEDS ALL SUITABILITY REQUIREMENTS; EXEMPLARY RECORD, MODEL INMATE, NO DISCIPLINARY WRITE UP OR ISSUES
5) STRONG SUPPORT NETWORK. SOLID PAROLE PLANS
6) DENIED THE SAME EQUAL RIGHTS TO FAIR AND IMPARTIAL DUE PROCESS REQUIRED REGARDLESS OF NOTORIETY
7) GUILT BY ASSOCIATION IS STILL NOT A CRIME, EVEN 50 YEARS LATER
8) NO CRIMINAL HISTORY OR CHILDHOOD DELINQUENCY PRE/POST OFFENSE
9) NEW TESTIMONY AND COURT FINDINGS OF MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES NOW PROVE (BY COURT ORDER IN 2017) THAT THE NATURE OF THE CRIME DOES NOT ARTICULATE A RATIONAL "NEXUS" CONNECTION TO CURRENT DANGEROUSNESS, AND MUST NOT BE USED AS SUCH
10) THE PUBLIC KNOWS THAT DENYING PAROLE FOR LESLIE VAN HOUTEN IS A DISHONEST AND UNLAWFUL ACT, ALL BASED ON A DECADES OLD MYTH, MEDIA, POLITICAL CORRUPTION AND OTHER IRRELEVANT MISLEADING’S. HOWEVER, IF THE SYSTEM IS INTERESTED IN JUSTICE, IT WOULD BE BASED ON FACTS, EVIDENCE, AND LAW THAT ALL CLEARLY SUPPORT PAROLE. DISTRICT ATTORNEYS, JOURNALISTS, WELL KNOWN PSYCHIATRIC EXPERTS, PROMINENT DOCTORS, CDCR WARDENS, HIGH RANKED CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS, COMMISSIONERS, REPORTERS, AND PAROLE BOARDS ALL AGREE AND HOPE FOR THE RIGHT AND ONLY JUST DECISION BE MADE. FREE LESLIE VAN HOUTEN
Leslie Van Houten's parole review timeline based on California procedure:
Sept 6; Parole board grants parole for Leslie Van Houten
Sept 7- Jan 5; The board reviews their decision for 120 days, to either confirm or revise their recommendation
Jan 5- Feb 5 ; Governor Jerry Brown has 30 days to approve, revise, or reverse the board's decision
IT'S NOT TOO LATE TO SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR LESLIE VAN HOUTEN'S PAROLE RECOMMENDATION
IN THE SUBJECT MENU, SIMPLY SCROLL DOWN AND CHOOSE "PAROLE- GOVERNORS REVIEW"
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About Linda Deutsch
The LA Times released an article today (below) written by long-time distinguished and reputable nationwide Reporter and trial expert, Linda Deutsch. Her decades-long tenure as an Associated Press courts reporter made her a witness to some of the most high-profile trials in U.S. history from OJ Simpson to Michael Jackson and countless others both famous and infamous.
But it all started in 1970 when she was assigned to what would be considered to date as one of the most sensational trials ever, the Charles Manson and family murder trial. Linda Deutsch had a front row seat throughout the trial including when Manson tried to lunge at the judge with a pencil. Over the decades, attorneys and witness’s that she has worked around have always described her as "extremely ethical and professional and very honest" High-profile defense attorney Thomas Mesereau, who successfully defended Michael Jackson and actor Robert Blake said “If she tells you something is off the record you can bet your life that it is. She also has a great belief in the importance of her profession as an honorable, valuable institution in society.”
Judge William C. Ryan concurred with the District Attorney's office that to release the tapes over to Van Houten and her attorney would go against the penal code limits discovery to only cases with sentences of life without parole or death. Rich Pfieffer, Van Houten's attorney says the exception to the penal code is if it is exculpatory evidence, something he remains adamant about the tapes.
But the Judge Ryan stated, "Even if Van Houten was entitled to the Tex Tapes, “Releasing the tape transcript would add nothing to the record that is not already well know"
"The first 77 pages, there are eight references to a “Leslie,” all made in passing as to who was present at certain events. Watson does talk about in several places how Charles Manson had a powerful influence over him and other members of the Manson family, but that information is also very well know, and to which Van Houten can testify,” Ryan admits.
But Pfeiffer contends that is the very reason the tapes are needed to validate Van Houten's "testimony" about Manson's control without being accused to minimizing her crime.
IF NOTHING NEW, AND NOTHING OLD, WHY REMAIN SO SECRETIVE?
Ryan’s ruling also disputed Deputy District Attorney Donna Lebowitz claims that releasing the tapes would compromise ongoing investigations. But Detective Ryan, of the LAPD stated that is inaccurate as there are no investigations.
We are requesting for everyone to go ahead and send letters of support to Governor Jerry Brown.
State of California, Governor Jerry Brown
Support letter- for Leslie Van Houten, CIW, CDC# W13378
c/o State Capitol Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
Earlier today Leslie Van Houten was granted parole by a California state parole board. The decision will undergo a 120-day review from the BPH, then will go to Governor Jerry Brown who will have until February 3, 2018 to either confirm, reverse or modify the parole grant.
More updates, as well as today's Parole Hearing Transcript will be available here soon.
Parole Suitability examples
Current and Ongoing programs Leslie is involved in:
• Leslie has participated and facilitated in a number of rehabilitative programs throughout her decades of incarceration. In the past year, her focus has been on, among other things, her community within the prison. (Helping others; being productive; etc)
• Leslie is currently an 'Executive Member of the Advisory Council' Almost a year ago, Leslie was offered this position (Something like a city council member) she has found it to be a rewarding and insightful opportunity to be part of the process of addressing what to do to begin moving forward with programs that offer both rehabilitation and a greater sense of being a part of a community.
• Works directly with a senior psychologist
• Helps facilitate programs for suicide prevention;
• Participates in the Actors' Gang Prison Project that has been at the facility (CIW) several years. This program has little to do with acting and everything to do with accessing emotions;
• Facilitating and participating in the Restorative Justice Victim/ Offender program which focuses on accountability of the offender' actions and responsibility for the suffering it caused;
• Assists with a new program for women who are stuck in addiction and violence. This program is designed to help them gain awareness of choices and offer a more productive lifestyle.
Leslie continues to work as a tutor for the Chaffey Community College. (approx 100 women) Half of the students are participating in a certificate program and the others are working on their associate degrees.
SOME KEY PAROLE SUITABILITY FACTORS DEFINED BY CALIFORNIA LAW
Psych Evaluations (No risk to society), Rehabilitation, Accomplishments, Consistent and Exemplary Behavior
• Leslie received another positive psych evaluation for the hearing this year. That totals about 18 doctors and experts over the years and each and every one unanimously have submitted that Leslie is not a danger to society and recommends parole.
• By Law, Leslie's crime offense qualifies her as a Youthful Offender Leslie was age 19 at the time of her crime. The law now requires her age at the time be given "great weight' on the decision to parole.
By Law, the court must accept all Franklin hearing testimony as true court findings and mitigating evidence.
• By Law, Leslie's current age qualifies her for "Senior Parole Advancement" A newer parole rule designed for prisoners over age 60 who have served 25 years or more than their sentence, should be given great weight on the decision to parole.
Leslie is grateful for her supporters and for the concern and care as she seeks her release. Please share with all your fair minded friends about support.
Attorney Rich Pfeiffer in the blue, then Detective Jenks who has the Tex Tapes (and hasn’t given them up) and DA Liebowitz on the end. In the back is Debra Tate.
Leslie Van Houten was granted a Franklin hearing that was held today at Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Los Angeles. Also today the issue of the Tex tapes went before the judge again. Her attorney, Rich Pfieffer and his office gave comments on the overall progress made with both the tapes issue and the Franklin Hearing concerning the control held of Leslie and some of the others, as well as her age, that falls into the new law of being a youthful offense.
The judge hasn't yet approved the Tex Tapes, as he is listening to them and will make a decision soon. No matter what, they will 'stay' the decision so the other side can go to the appellate court, however.
So today, there were two witnesses: Catherine Share (aka Gypsy), from the Manson Family. She was the one,along with Bobbie B., who brought Leslie in. She was abused badly by manson, and talked about that and how Leslie saw the beating. She also talked about what a good person Leslie was, and how she was the one everyone wanted as their best girlfriend. She talked about when things changed at the ranch, and when it became so dark rather than love and happy hippies. She talked about the drug use, marijuana every day, and LSD often. Manson used to put 2 tabs of acid on their tongues to give them a wild ride.
She also talked about how certain people, and Leslie was one, couldn't leave the ranch. Barbara Hoyt has said that wasn't true, but that's because she could leave. She was not in the circle of people Manson cared about. But Catherine talked about how she, and Leslie, and others, were not free to leave.
The psych, Dr. Elizabeth Cauffman, gave a great presentation. It was very similar to the one on "Ted Talks" It really goes into the juvenile brain, etc.
CASE UPDATES AND INFO
-Trial of the Century
-Susan Atkins-Patricia Krenwinkel
-Parole Transcripts 1985-2017
Franklin Hearing transcript 2017
-Tex Watson Tapes
-Criteria Parole Suitability
-Rich Pfeiffer's letter to the DA
-Parole Reversed 2016