Superior Court Judge Considers Granting Van Houten Hearing

Friday, May 5th, 2017

May. 5 – A Los Angeles County Judge, yesterday ordered the District Attorney’s office to show cause why Leslie Van Houten shouldn’t be allowed a hearing in the Superior Court to create a record, documenting evidence of her immaturity at the time of the LaBianca murders.

A series of high court decisions over the past decade have highlighted the psychological differences between juveniles and adults, leading to several changes on how the two groups are handled, in terms of sentencing and parole. The courts have acknowledged that juveniles lack maturity and have an underdeveloped sense of responsibility, leading them to implusivity and reckless behavior. Juveniles are more vulnerable to negative outside influences and also lack strong character traits, therefore their actions are less indicative of who they are, or will become, later in life.

In response to this, California adapted youthful offender parole hearings with the passage of a senate bill in 2013. Inmates whose commitment offense occurred before the age of 18 and had served 15 to 25 years of their sentence, would be given parole hearings in which the board would have to put great weight on diminished culpability of juveniles and contrast it to any evidence of growth and maturity that has occurred since.

In October of 2015, the youthful offender parole program was expanded to inmates that had committed their crime before the age of 23, thus making Van Houten eligible.

In January, Van Houten’s attorney, Richard Pfeiffer requested a hearing to be held in Los Angeles County Superior Court, pursuant to People V. Franklin. The purpose of the Franklin hearing is to establish a record of mitigating evidence of Van Houten’s youth at the time of the offense. This record will assist the Board of Parole Hearings, Governor’s office and the Courts, by giving them a formal profile of Van Houten’s state of mind when she was involved with the Manson family.

Pfeiffer has submitted to the court a recent psychological evaluation of Van Houten and he has indicated he plans to subpoena the Tex Watson tapes.

The Watson tapes are the earliest known documented account of the Tate-LaBianca murders. Recorded before any codefendant account had been made public, the Watson tapes provide an uninfluenced look into the two nights of murder which he led. Watson’s account, more than any other account to date, can provide the greatest clarity on the murders and months leading up to them. The tapes will also provide insight into the influence on Van Houten, both at Spahn Ranch and at the LaBianca residence during the murders.

On Monday, Pfeiffer filed a motion with the Board of Parole Hearings to disqualify the entire Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office from participating in Van Houten’s upcoming parole hearing in September. The motion, charges that the office holds a bias against his client and is unable to exercise its function in an evenhanded manner. The motion largely focused on the District Attorney’s refusal to turn over the Tex Watson tapes despite the office conceding the tapes were exculpatory.

If the District Attorney refuses to turn the tapes over for the Franklin hearing, Pfeiffer has indicated he will file a motion to exclude their office from it as well.

Yesterday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Sam Ohta gave the District Attorney’s office 30 days to respond as to why Van Houten’s request for a Franklin hearing should not be granted, and whether or not, she has already had adequate opportunity to make such a record.

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12 Responses to Superior Court Judge Considers Granting Van Houten Hearing

  1. Linda Borell says:

    I believe they are letting a cold blooded murderer back on the streets. While hindsight may be 20/20,her actions speak louder than words!!!!

  2. leenie says:

    Van Houten has had been tried three times–three criminal trials. She earned the death penalty–voided in 1972 to life with chance of parole. She earns a new trial due to her attorney’s untimely demise. (Hughes) Hung jury leads to another trial, finding her guilty of first degree murder-parole eligible again. During her first trial she was adamant she was never under the influence of Manson. Suddenly prison is her life and she decides it’s time for diminished capacity…she was brain washed by Manson, she didn’t know what she was doing due to LSD trips, etc. Anything and everything to avoid responsibility for her crimes.

    And now the latest with endless parole hearings…as if she is the victim of her own choices. The death penalty was reinstituted and she and the other killers were still spared from it being retroactive. But here we have her and Krenwinkle playing the youthful offender card-they were abused, they were young, they were drugged, they were in fear. Why is this allowed to be retroactive but the death penalty was not. I’m about sick of these so called remorseful killers wanting mercy. Even trying to bar family members or their family representative (Debra Tate) of her victims, the DA as being biased due to the Watson tapes. Sling enough poor pitiful I was so young bullshit and some sticks. If she was truly repentant she’d serve the rest of her miserable life behind bars, stop all parole hearings and pray to God when she dies her victims are not at the pearly gates with their fingers on the Go To Hell button. Maybe then justice will be served.

  3. Fred Bloggs says:

    I really wish commentators would approach this with some maturity. It’s the least one can do if one wants to be taken seriously.

  4. cielodrive.com says:

    That would be nice

  5. flip says:

    So, mature people are not allowed to express a sense of their outrage about topics such as the erosion of the justice system viz. expanding parole opportunities for the Manson Family killers?

    Apparently our justice system now recognizes that 23 year old murderers automatically have the right to claim a diminished capacity fudge-factor due to their youthful immaturity.

    How comforting is that to their dead victims and the living families of their dead victims?

    It’s okay Mr. and Mrs. Folger, your daughter and her friends were viciously slaughtered, of course….but the one who chased down and brutally stabbed Abigail for no reason was under 23 yo, so you should obviously cut her some sla- ….ah, poor choice of words…you should give poor Katie a break, she was probably immature at the time.

    LaBianca family, take solace from the fact that Rosemary was held down and brutally stabbed by immature killers before the mature one in the group, Tex, came in and finished her off. That should be very comforting to you….at least it is very comforting to our justice system.

    What a bunch of crap.

  6. Lee says:

    I agree with leenie & flip. That is beyond ridiculous. LVH seems to be the darling of The Manson Family, however. People just seem to forgive her so easily. I do believe it was because she was a pretty, young girl. I bet if she had been ugly, or worse, fat, not one person would be coming to her defense so quickly. You don’t get a second chance after participating in a home invasion/blood bath.

  7. Kathy says:

    I don’t agree that up to age 23 a murderer should be given consideration as a youthful offender , but darn I want to know what is on those tapes.

  8. Teddi says:

    This just opens the door for other would be murderers. She’s in and there she should stay.

  9. Tre Mendes says:

    I wonder how the parole board might have viewed LVH over the last, say, 10-15 years, if she didn’t nitpick the minutiae of every aspect of her experience with the justice system – looking for any crack or crevice to wedge her way into to get parole?

    Perhaps, “I’ll accept whatever you decide, I respect your position and judgement” might have gotten her out by now.

  10. Marigold says:

    You sound like a jealous queen

  11. Marigold says:

    I agree flip!

  12. tranny says:

    Leenie= W from down under! who despises women because he is a NANCY BOY!!! His own mother in Sydney asked him if he was homosexual! This incredibly annoying rash All OVER body so called man is a fraud!!\

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