Manson Doubts Case Will Get To Court
Tuesday, February 3rd, 1970
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 3 – Charles Manson asserts that he will get the whole “bag of tools” he needs for prying his path through the complexities of the courts, IF his case ever progresses to the point of trial.
But the suspected hypnotic-mastermind in the killing of actress Sharon Tate and six others, is afraid he won’t make it to trial.
Charles admits to being afraid of only one thing:
“These doctors here. They take me down to see them every day. That’s how Ruby (Jack Ruby, the killer of presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald) died — from the doctors; they gave him a leukemia shot!”
Charles claims the doctors tried to give him shots, but he objected and they didn’t try to force it on him. But if he continues his fast – he hasn’t eaten since Jan. 10 – they may have to give him shots to save his life.
But, Charles Manson serving as his own attorney in the county jail’s pro-per tank, apparently makes his mind control his body. He’s bright and squirrely. If it were you or I, we’d be in bad shape at this time, but he seems to have unusual power that controls his body completely.
It’s, as Charles Manson describes, “wall to wall attorneys” in the pro-per tank where the accused mass slayer and I serve as our own attorneys.
“It’s impossible,” charges Charles of the conditions and restrictions placed upon him by the Superior Court and County jail rules limiting pro-per prisoner’s defense efforts.
“Let’s see any attorney or the district attorney or prosecutor work under the conditions we have to contend with.
“Like the phone. Whoever heard of a one-way setup like this one? I can phone out but no one can-phone in to me. Can you imagine a district attorney or lawyer being allowed to make only three 10-minute outgoing phone calls a day and receive no incoming calls at all? It’s crazy! I am restricted as to how much and when I can defend myself.
“What if an important witness wants to call and talk to me? He can’t. But the D.A.’s witnesses can call and talk to him. That leaves him with an advantage over me. I have got to “have two-way phone privileges, calls in and call out. I should have the same tools as the prosecution, who have unlimited of the telephone, not just three 10-minute phone calls per day.”
On the subject of witnesses, Charles is equally scathing. Witness interviews are allowed only between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m.
“What do you do,” he asked me, “if a witness is only available at 10 or 11 o’clock at night? The way it is now you just don’t get to interview that witness because it don’t comply with the established interview hours. Theres nothing in the Constitution that says you can only interview a witness between 9 and 9 or 10 and 2, and a critical part of any defense is the interviewing of witnesses. It’s like the phone calls — they restrict you as to when and how much you can defend yourself, and procedures like that have got to go.
Manson refers to the numerous interruptions in the daily routine.
The legal library for pro-pers is open from 9 to 11 a.m., 1 to 3 p.m. and from 6 to 9 p.m.
“The law library ought to he open from early morning until late at night, without interruptions,” Manson maintains. “You no sooner get started than you have to give it up again due to some kind of interruption. It’s ‘go here, go there,’ and then wait, wait, wait in between times. Half of your time here is just spent waiting.
“Another thing,” he adds, “I can remember when I first used to come to jail. The windows had maybe two bars over them and the sunshine used to come through and make a big yellow two-striped rectangle on the floor or wall. When I came back the next time there were four bars instead of two and less sunshine. Now it’s all bars, steel panels over the windows and no sunshine. That’s a helluva thing, no sunshine at all.”
Solution of the “Great Mail Mystery” has thus far eluded Manson. The mystery is in two parts: mail that he does receive usually bears postmarks a week or 10 days old and mail he knows has been deposited for postal delivery to him is often never recieved.
“It’s all very mysterious,” he tongue-in-cheek confides in pseudo consternation. “The post office must be slipping on their efficiency, because I have been assured by the people here that the missing mail could not possibly be the jail’s fault.”
Investigation of his case, investigation from the defense viewpoint, is yet another area where he is severely handicapped, and offers the contention that the handicap has been intentionally placed upon him.
“The People have the law enforcement and investigative staff of the entire State to rely on. I have no one. Consider the odds against me — a thousand to one, ten thousand to one?
“The prosecution can use all these people to dig up all sort of things against me that don’t mean anything, where I have not one person to go out and unearth the really important evidence I need.
“There must have been — that I can recall — least 150 people that lived at or passed through the ranch at one time or another while I was there. Each of them may know something or other that would be helpful to one in this case. The Police have warrants out for most of them whose names they know knowing that most of the people named in the warrants will keep on moving rather than be arrested and have to go through what the police do to them.
“It isn’t a matter where the police really want them as prosecution witnesses, or as defendants, but they have done it simply to make those witnesses unavailable to me…keep them out of sight, maybe even out of the State.”
These things, says Charles Manson, are the essential points — the “Musts” needed for an effective presentation of his defense if his case ever comes to trial.
And Charles Manson doesn’t think it ever will.
By NEIL ROGERS
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The author is a jail mate of Charles Manson, accused as the mastermind behind the Tate-LaBianca murders. These are his impressions of Manson as well as Manson’s impressions of criminal justice.)