Judge Saw Manson Lampoon, Plea Says
Tuesday, February 17th, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 17 – A petition filed Monday in the State Court of Appeal charges the judge assigned to Charles Manson’s murder trial viewed a comedy skit lampooning the hippie cult leader titled “A Family That Slays Together, Stays Together.”
The habeas corpus petition alleges the skit was performed by a singing quartet of lawyers and judges as part of the entertainment Saturday night during the installation dinner of the Los Angeles Criminal Courts Bar Association.
Among those in the audience, according to the petition, was Superior Court Judge William E. Keene, assigned to preside at the Manson trial.
The petition was filed by movie producer Robert S. Levy, 36, who identified himself as “a business acquaintance and friend” of Manson. Levy said he attended the dinner.
Levy’s petition charges a second skit depicted Manson being solicited by lawyers who offered to defend him in exchange for the literary rights to his life story.
“The quartet and choral number that mocked Mr. Manson was widely applauded by the audience that included the the very trial judge who was assigned to try the murder-conspiracy trial,” the petition held.
It contended Manson’s right to a fair trial has been reduced to “a farce and a sham” by the skits.
The reason for the petition, Levy said, was not to eliminate Judge Keene from the case, but to show the appellate court the prejudice in the Manson case.
Judge Keene refused to comment.
By MARY NEISWENDER