Sept. 19 – Attorneys representing Leslie Van Houten are still pursuing disclosure of the Tex tapes, despite a ruling last week denying them access.
On September 12, Judge William Ryan denied Van Houten access to the recordings, reasoning that she wasn’t entitled to discovery and even if she was, the tapes only contained information already well known.
“Watson does talk about in several places how Charles Manson had a powerful influence over him and other members of the Manson family, but that information is also very well know, and to which Van Houten can testify,” wrote Ryan in his denial. “Releasing the transcript would therefore add nothing to the record that is not already well known.”
Yesterday, Van Houten’s attorney, Richard Pfeiffer, filed a motion to reconsider. In an eleven page brief, Pfeiffer, along with attorney Nancy Tetreault, reiterated the importance of the tapes, as well as Van Houten’s rights to access.
Pfeiffer feels the tapes are further evidence of Manson’s control over the family and wants to use them to impeach statements made by former Manson family member Barbara Hoyt. In Van Houten’s 2013 parole hearing, Hoyt minimized Manson’s control when she stated that family members came and went on their own free will, while Van Houten chose to stay. Governor Jerry Brown relied heavily on Hoyt’s statements in his reversal of Van Houten’s 2016 parole grant.
“When only one witness makes statements that contradict other statements relied upon by the Governor to reverse a grant of parole, the Governor can arguably rely on whichever statements he chooses,” Pfeiffer argues. “However, when multiple credible witnesses make the same statements that contradict a single witness, the Governor will have a difficult time relying on the statements of a single witness. That is what is at issue here. Ms. Van Houten and Hoyt’s statements contradict each other and the Governor chose to rely on Hoyt’s statements.”
Pfeiffer and Tetreault also delve into Van Houten’s rights to due process under the fourteenth amendment. The motion argues that the District Attorney’s withholding of the Tex tapes meets the criteria of Brady v. Maryland, which mandates the disclosure of evidence favorable to the accused, which is suppressed by the state, resulting in prejudice.
The Board of Parole Hearings found Van Houten suitable for parole on September 6 and following a review period, Governor Brown will have until February 3, 2018 to weigh in on the decision.
“All other factors in weighing Ms. Van Houten’s parole suitability are favorable,” argues Pfeiffer. “Therefore, any evidence that mitigates the commitment offense is essential. Denying access to that evidence is prejudicial.”
She was sentenced to death and then California abolished the death penalty which commuted her sentence to life.. My feeling is what if this was one of your family members that were murdered by these monsters how would you feel about them being free.. I don’t care if they were model prisoners never missed Sunday school, they were still sentenced to life in prison.. They whine and cry about wanting freedom who cares , I believe Manson is at fault sure I do but not all of these crimes can be blamed on Manson.. These girls choose to stay with Manson and never once made any attempt to leave. they murdered willingly i’m sure drugs did play some part in these killings but they still knew right from wrong.. Manson was Jesus to them, what a bunch of crap, they are capable of killing and proved that
For the record, Van Houten is not serving a commuted Death Sentence
I believe that they are all extremely remorseful for what they did. Lots of people have done worse crimes and have been released earlier than the Manson clan! The decision of the Governor of California not to release them is political and nothing but, for his own greedy and needs and the case being such a high profile case, involving the death of a famous Hollywood actress and her friends and a couple the next day! I believe that none of us are perfect and all of us have sinned in our lives although we have never killed, it still doesn’t make us perfect! Jesus Christ said in the new testament of the Bible, let those without sin cast the first stone!!
“[T]hey still knew right from wrong. Manson was Jesus to them …”
This seems a contradiction.
Hat off to Mr. Pfeiffer…he’s sure trying. We need more lawyers like him.
Life sentence means LIFE. Simple as that
Van Houten has served enough time considering her level of participation, anybody who knows anything about the case knows that, this is politics.
Leslie is serving a sentence of 7 years to life. She became eligible for parole after 7 years and the MAXIMUM sentence is life. She has served almost 50 years, more than any other woman in California save one. SIMPLE as that.
What happened to the Jerry Brown we used to know
don’t tell me it was only for a while those years ago
and don’t tell me now it’s all just another show
ah oh or politics you know
It seems to me that several people in the DA’s office in L.A.
and several people in the governor’s office talked last year and agreed
we won’t let Leslie go free
to me that sounds exactly like a conspiracy
well now you can see how they’ve been doing things
and they look down at us and they’re laughing
they’re saying what do you peasants care
the difference is we’re up here and you’re
I met governor Brown years ago in Denver at an indoor flea market called Mammoth Gardens-now it’s The Fillmore where touring bands play.
We chatted with humor for a couple of minutes.
Then I thought, Jerry Brown is a down to earth guy, an open minded, good guy.
I sent governor Brown a letter last year, then I sent an email too. (2016)
I received no reply for the letter and not even the courtesy of ‘we got your email’ or whatever, from his office. Which that site says they do…
That would be the staff, the people there in that governors office that read and decide.
No reply, why?
Those people in the L.A. prosecutor’s offices need to be told:
it’s not your job to have a re-trial of a case every time there is a hearing for parole.
There needs to be a letter sent to every judge that is on the California Supreme Court
by denying Leslie her right, by law, to be freed when that high court said in 2008, you can’t use the crime as the deciding factor, that law is violated.
So, to get around that, the denial, at the governor’s office, says, at the end, oh, she’s ‘an unreasonable danger to society.’
Who are we kidding.
They know damn well, that’s a cover and Leslie is no such danger.
Where is the ACLU and where is that ‘Justice Center’ at Stanford Law School?
Shouldn’t they be advocating for a person such as Leslie Van Houten?
Why, yes, they should…but, are they ‘into’ prejudice against her, too?
But they have no problem with the convicts that murdered one or more persons being let free?
I think that Jerry Brown needs to see what I’m saying here.
I’m sayin’ governor, you gotta be the good guy now. You who talked of rehabilitation and so, well, then, that it’s important to be fair.
What happened to the Jerry Brown we used to know
I think that maybe probably he’s there
but the people in the offices there
yeah the staff…you know…
Great post Fayez.
Hey Judy.. they had death penalty commuted life WITH possibilty of parole.
Why do I have the feeling that when the Tex Tapes are released Bo will be playing them in his car…
She was sentenced to life With the Possibility of parole actually.
As far as the Tex tapes go, I don’t think anyone has the right to them,
There is nothing on them that can help anyone I don’t think.
Mr. Pfiffer is a good lawyer and a very smart one because any lawyer that can get a Manson family member release is going to make millions.
Your kidding with the Bible thing right? Seriously…where was god when these people were being slaughtered and a life of of a baby begged for. (thou shalt not kill) God did not do a damn thing for innocent victims…waiting for the imaginary eye in the sky to do something when the criminals die is a little…No, A LOT bat shit crazy.
After all these years she continues to show more anger at her incarceration than how upset she should be when talking about the murders she participated in.
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