Tate Figure Fails To Fire Her Lawyer
Wednesday, July 1st, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Jul. 1 – One of the three young women charged along with Charles Manson in the Tate-La Bianca murders tried for a second time yesterday to fire her lawyer.
Leslie Van Houten, 19, stood up at the counsel table when attorney Ira K. Reiner tried to dismiss a prospective juror. The three other defense lawyers announced earlier they would accept the panel as constituted.
She arose and said she, too, wanted to accept the panel as the jury. “Mr. Reiner and I aren’t working together,” she said. “I wish to dismiss Mr. Reiner.”
Her request was denied.
In other developments, Dist. Atty. Evelle J. Younger announced his office would ask the state Supreme Court to order a hearing into the competency of Manson’s attorney.
Younger conceded at a news conference the move was unprecedented, but he said he was taking the action in an attempt to assure that the case is not thrown out on appeal to higher courts on grounds Irving Kanarek, Manson’s lawyer, was not qualified to represent him.
Superior Court Judge Charles H. Older had refused to hold a hearing on prosecution charges that Kanarek is a “deliberate obstructionist” bent on thwarting justice. Older ruled he did not have authority to order such a hearing.
Younger said his office would urge the Supreme Court to direct Older to conduct such an inquiry.
The district attorney said eight judges would be among the witnesses who would testify on Kanarek’s past “pattern of conduct.”
Kanarek has charged that Younger, who is running for state attorney general, and the prosecutors in the case are politically ambitious men trying to make a showing out of the Tate-La Bianca trial and that his type of defense did not fit into their plans.
In the courtroom, jury selection for the trial plodded along slowly. The prosecution exercised the first peremptory challenge, excusing Mrs. Sonia Gordon, an Eagle Rock housewife.
Such challenges, a total of 80 on both sides, require no reason for dismissal of a prospective juror.