Appellate Court Hears Oral Arguments in Van Houten Case

Wednesday, April 24th, 2019

Apr. 24 – An appellate court panel today heard arguments regarding Leslie Van Houten’s writ of Habeas Corpus challenging Jerry Brown’s reversal of her September 2017 parole recommendation.

Van Houten’s attorney, Rich Pfeiffer, sought the hearing because he felt Brown’s decision was not well supported and relied on isolated negative factors to conclude that Van Houten posed an unreasonable risk if released. The state’s Attorney General’s office argued in support of Brown, stating Van Houten’s case is a rare instance where the heinousness of the crime continues to offer evidence of her current dangerousness.

According to Pfeiffer, much of the hearing was spent discussing the Tex tapes and whether they should be released. Pfeiffer reasoned that since the basis of Brown’s denial revolved around the commitment offense, it made Charles “Tex” Watson’s 1969 account all that more relevant to Van Houten’s case.

The three judge panel ordered briefs be filed on whether Governor Newsom’s upcoming decision on Van Houten’s 2019 parole recommendation would make this case moot.

The court will have 90 days to publish an opinion.

UPDATED on 4/29 to include briefs ordered by the court.

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