Manson Turns Back on Judge in Hinman Case
Friday, June 26th, 1970
SANTA MONICA, Calif., Jun. 26 – Charles Manson turned his back on a Santa Monica Superior Court Judge yesterday when he was denied his request to act as his own attorney in the Gary Hinman murder case.
It was not the first time Manson had turned his back to a judge and it was not the first time he had been told he could not represent himself in court.
Manson 35, and co-defendant Susan Atkins 21, appeared before Judge Laurence Rittenband for a ruling on defense motion that the State Attorney General take over prosecution of the case.
That motion also was denied by the judge, who said the Superior Court did not have the power to request the Attorney General to handle the case.
Judge Rittenband told Manson’s lawyer Irving Kanarek the Attorney General himself or Gov. Ronald Reagan were the only persons who could order the prosecution to an office other than the district attorney’s.
He suggested Kanarek take the matter up with Atty. Gen. Thomas C. Lynch.
It was at this point that Manson requested to speak to the judge about becoming his own lawyer.
‘”I don’t understand what seems to be wrong with the District Attorney and the judges,” Manson said. “They would deny me the right of being my own counsel.”
“Surely they’re not afraid of a layman,” the long-haired cult chieftain declared.
It was pointed out that in the Hinman case alone Manson had four times before asked to represent himself and was denied.
Manson also served for a time as his own attorney in the Tate-LaBianca case.
He was ordered to have an attorney represent him when a Superior Court judge in Los Angeles ruled Manson was “incapable ” of defending himself.
Judge Rittenband said he would deny Manson’s motion “without prejudice,” adding it could be renewed later.
It was then that Manson, already standing, turned his back to the jurist.
Judge Rittenband told him to sit down and Manson asked, “are you tying my hands?”
“No,” said the judge, “I’m telling you to sit down.”
“Am I forced to do that?” Manson asked.
“Yes, that’s an order,” the judge replied. And Manson turned around and sat down.
Hinman, a 34-year-old musician, was stabbed to death last July at his Topanga Canyon home.
He was killed about two weeks before actress Sharon Tate and six others were slain. Manson, Miss Atkins and two other co-defendants in the Tate case appeared in Los Angeles in the morning for their trial, which will resume today.
Another one of Manson’s “girls” tried to fire her attorney yesterday when he insisted upon questioning prospective jurors at the Tate-LaBianca murder trial.
This time the bid was made by dark-haired Leslie Van Houten 19, who stood up in court and said her attorney, Ira Reiner, was “not speaking my voice.”
The words were an echo of a similar attempt made Wednesday by Patricia Krenwinkel 22, when she tried to fire her lawyer, Paul Fitzgerald.
As he did Wednesday, trial Judge Charles Older denied the request.
The whole thing started Wednesday morning when Manson 35, asked to question prospective jurors himself, but was turned down by the judge.
The cult chief then said he wanted to dismiss his counsel, Kanarek, and act as his own attorney. This too was denied. Manson subsequently told Kanarek to remain silent during questioning of prospective jurors.
The lawyer has not said whether he will follow the instructions.