Van Houten Petitions State Supreme Court

Friday, July 10th, 2020


Jul. 10 – Attorneys representing Leslie Van Houten are asking the California Supreme Court to review Gavin Newsom’s reversal of her 2019 parole grant.

On Tuesday, Van Houten’s attorney, Richard Pfeiffer, filed a 38-page brief petitioning the state’s high court to weigh in on the decision which has been upheld in the superior and appellate courts.

In January, the California Supreme Court granted review of former governor Jerry Brown’s reversal of Van Houten’s 2017 parole grant. But the case was dismissed and remanded to the appellate court, who made no changes to their previous ruling.

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Court of Appeal Upholds Van Houten Parole Reversal; Denies her Tex Tapes

Friday, July 3rd, 2020

Jul. 3 – California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal has denied Leslie Van Houten’s writ of habeas corpus which challenged Governor Gavin Newsom’s reversal of her 2019 parole grant. The court, which ruled 2-to-1 against Van Houten, also denied her access to the Tex Watson tapes.

Justice Virginia Chaney was the lone dissenter, as was the case last year when the court heard Van Houten’s appeal of former Governor Jerry Brown’s reversal of her 2017 parole grant.

“I would issue an order to show cause why the petition should not be granted because I find no evidence in the record to support the Governor’s conclusion that [Van Houten] currently poses an unreasonable risk to public safety if released on parole,” Chaney wrote in her dissent. “I also would issue an alternative writ directing the superior court to vacate that part of its September 11, 2019 order denying [Van Houten’s] request for the transcripts of taped interviews of Charles “Tex” Watson conducted in December 1969 and January 1970 and then issue a new and different order granting same, or show cause why it elected not to do so.”

Van Houten’s next parole hearing will be held on Thursday, July 23rd and will be conducted via Skype due to COVID19.

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Beausoleil Denied Parole

Wednesday, July 1st, 2020

Jul. 1 – Bobby Beausoleil was found unsuitable for parole at a hearing held today by the California Board of Parole Hearings.

Beausoleil, currently housed in the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, is serving a term of 7-years-to-life, for the 1969 murder of musician Gary Hinman. He was tried twice; first in November of 1969 resulting in a hung jury. He was then tried in April of 1970, resulting in a conviction of first degree murder. He was sentenced to death on April 15, 1970. In 1972, his death sentence was commuted to life when the death penalty was briefly outlawed.

Beausoleil has now been denied parole 19 times since becoming eligible on August 4th, 1976. He was recommended for parole at his last hearing, held on January 3, 2019. On April 26, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom reversed the decision, stating, “While Mr. Beausoleil reports to have accepted responsibility for his crime, I am troubled by his lack of insight into his underlying motives for committing such extraordinary violence. I am also concerned that Mr. Beausoleil will relapse into substance abuse if released. Given the heinous nature of this crime and Mr. Beausoleil’s limited insight into his violence and substance abuse, I do not believe he can be safely released at this time.”

Beausoleil will not be eligible for parole until 2023.

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Court Orders Briefs & Tex Tapes Transcript

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020

Jun. 3 – California’s Attorney General will have until next Thursday to oppose Leslie Van Houten’s request for a copy of the Tex Watson tapes.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal is currently reviewing a petition of Habeas Corpus filed by Van Houten challenging the legality of Gavin Newsom’s reversal of her 2019 parole recommendation. Part of the petition requested the court order the Watson tapes be turned over to Van Houten’s attorney Richard Pfeiffer.

In a order issued today, the court requested that a transcript of the Tex Watson tapes be filed under seal along with a short brief opposing release.

The Tex Watson tapes are the earliest known documented account of the Tate-LaBianca murders. Recorded before any codefendant account had been made public, the tapes provide an uninfluenced look into the two nights of murder which Watson led.

Attorneys for Van Houten have sought copies of the tapes for the past six years, believing they contain information relevant to Leslie’s parole suitability.

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California Supreme Court to Review Van Houten Parole Reversal

Wednesday, January 8th, 2020

Jan. 8 – The California Supreme Court has granted a review of Leslie Van Houten’s 2017 parole recommendation reversal. Briefing will be delayed until a pending case cited in Van Houten’s petition is resolved.

Van Houten was found suitable for parole in September 2017. Then Governor, Jerry Brown, reversed the decision in January of 2018, citing the heinousness of the murders. Brown also accused Van Houten of downplaying her role in the murders, stating she had attempted to shift blame to Charles Manson.

Van Houten’s attorney, Richard Pfeiffer filed a writ of Habeas Corpus challenging Brown’s reversal, arguing the decision relied on isolated negative factors to support the conclusion that Leslie Van Houten posed an unreasonable risk if released. The Superior Court upheld Brown’s reversal in June of 2018, stating that the Governor had met all due process requirements.

Pfeiffer challenged the ruling in California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal. The appellate court granted review and heard oral arguments last April. In September, the three justice panel ruled 2-to-1 to uphold Brown’s reversal. Now the matter will be addressed by the state’s highest court.

Van Houten is also waiting on a Superior Court ruling due in the next few days, regarding Governor Gavin Newsom’s reversal of her 2019 parole recommendation.

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