Van Houten Appeals Tex Tapes Ruling

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

Nov. 7 – Leslie Van Houten’s attorney, Richard Pfeiffer, has taken his pursuit of the Tex tapes to California’s court of appeals.

Last week, Pfeiffer filed a Writ of Mandate with the appellate court asking them to reverse a Superior Court ruling that denied Van Houten access to the nearly half century old recordings.

Attorneys for Van Houten have been trying to obtain the recordings through discovery for four years. In August, the Superior Court granted Van Houten a hearing pursuant to People V. Franklin, in which she would be able to establish a record of mitigating evidence in support of youth offender parole. Pfeiffer asked the court to order the tapes be turned over for use in the hearing.

Opposing the release, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Donna Lebowitz argued that the penal code limits post-conviction discovery to cases with sentences of death or life without the possibility of parole.

On September 12, Judge William Ryan ruled against the release, agreeing with Lebowitz’s argument and adding the tapes only contained information already well known.

On September 21, attorneys representing Van Houten filed a reconsideration motion, which Ryan denied on the 29th, stating that they had failed to show “new or different facts, circumstances, or law as to warrant a different result upon reconsideration.”

Pfeiffer contends 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.

Ryan ruled that Brady did not apply in a post-conviction context because Van Houten had been proven guilty and no longer has the same liberty interests as a free person.

In his filing with the appellate court, Pfeiffer argues that a Franklin hearing is essentially a subsequent sentencing hearing, in which all rights apply, including discovery.

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.

According to Pfeiffer, Ryan’s ruling constituted a reversible error because Van Houten’s ability to contradict the reasons for the Governor’s reversal should require release of the tapes pursuant to basic fairness and due process under the fourteenth amendment.

Franklin hearings are new type of proceedings and have only existed for little over a year. In light of this, Pfeiffer conferred with other attorneys throughout the state regarding the issue of discovery and admissibility in them.

“At Franklin hearings, attorneys have stated that the most contested arguments related to what was discoverable and admissible,” wrote Pfeiffer. “A published opinion regarding this issue will greatly assist attorneys and superior courts in what efforts to pursue and in making appropriate rulings. “

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.

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8 Responses to Van Houten Appeals Tex Tapes Ruling

  1. CB says:

    Good! Don’t give up girl.

  2. Paul says:

    this is ridiculous, the should have given them the tapes years ago.

  3. Fayez Abedaziz says:

    I see and say that this secrecy by some entities is quite disconcerting.
    There was an old saying that was commonly said, I remember, since I was a young
    cute teen, that said: “you can’t fight city hall.”
    You know, when you wanted to complain about an injustice or get some remedy for a problem whether for the neighborhood or your house or business.
    In the years of the 60’s and 70’s, there were journalists and media that investigated and uncovered this dastardly deed, or that, such as the Pentagon Papers, Watergate, political corruption and so on.
    So, us activists were happy to see that sunlight, so to speak, on government agencies and so on.
    Now…what a disappointment.
    It’s back to the dark ages.
    It’s worse than ever.
    Now, submitted for your approval:
    you cant’s fight city hall.
    You can’t fight State hall.
    You can’t fight federal hall.
    You can’t fight District Attorney hall, like the one in L.A.
    The only place you can find people/media that investigate and exposes dishonesty and questions legal and other matters is on the internet.
    It’s bad enough that the D.A.’s from L.A. are keeping what appears to be the old ‘state secrets’ papers or, in this case, tapes, but they are just so crazy about this old, met all criteria for release lady, Leslie, that they go lobbying the media and Guv Brown’s office to oppose a parole that was…granted!
    Why oppose the release… if they, that DA office can at a moments notice say, “okay here,” to Leslie’s attorney,
    “read or listen to the papers or tapes.”
    Those that originally belonged to a clients attorney to begin with-Tex’s, by the way.
    Okay, so can we then, well, I will say,
    at least leave the parole board… decision alone.
    They reviewed everything and said, Leslie, you are granted parole.

    Let that stand and just let it be
    rehab, fairness and the law say that
    everything’s been met oh and,
    thanks for reading this and hope you can agree

  4. Louise says:

    Oh where it would

    could ever be

    that Fayez’s words

    set Leslie free.


  5. CB says:

    Lame retort.

  6. Louise says:

    CB–so something that bolsters your position is a lame retort? Tarded much??

  7. JJ says:

    News reports the cult leader near death. I think his end may provide the political cover Brown needs to sign the parole board’s papers. If not this year, then once she hits 50 years behind bars.

    Personally, I think all of them should have had their original sentences carried out, but circumstances changed and LvH has met the guidelines of the changes.

    God please always watch over the souls who were murdered by the hands of these killers.

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