• Appellate Court Hears Oral Arguments in Van Houten Case

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 make a ruling.

Updated 4/26/19 – Attorney General Letter Brief
Updated 4/27/19 – Van Houten Letter Brief

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34 Responses to Appellate Court Hears Oral Arguments in Van Houten Case

  1. Gina says:

    If people want to know what’s in the Tex tapes, read his book “Would You Die for Me” the chaplain who paid over $ 40,000.00 (that’s the price given in Tex’ lawsuit that was paid for them) Since he used the tapes to write the book, maybe it’s in it.

  2. Pam says:

    I hope they keep this butcher in prison for the rest of her life.

  3. Cybele Moon says:

    who knows? Rich Pfeiffer is hopeful but a criminal law professor says the courts are often unwilling to overturn governor decisions etc. It may still lie in the hands of Newsome. Time will tell. It doesn’t look like they are going to make a quick decision.

  4. NoJusticeNoPeace says:

    Isn’t it so wonderful for the families of this murderous bitch to have the “legal” privilege to repeat the same shit year after God damn year? Sure it is…but hey, LVH is SO REPENTANT.

    Look. It. Up.

    Try your best to actually ACKNOWLEDGE what HER actions were, without blaming Manson…Not blaming Manson, blah blah blah.


    I want to see every last murdering one of them (Manson butt munching MURDERERS) to get their toe tag parole.

    Same tag she placed on HER victims.

  5. Robin Olson says:

    No judge or governor wants to risk being overturned. At 74 the suggestion of Leslie’s future dangerousness is ridiculous. As a “Manson follower” she has been branded for life. In other countries she would not have served near this amount of time. Steven Kay was actually quoted as saying, “She will be released by the age of 40.”

  6. Alexander S Hill says:

    Courts in California have been making rulings on governor parole reversals for decades. These judges are just full of it.

  7. Cybele Moon says:

    I think because of the opinion of most people regarding this case, the court is not going to rule easily or quickly. After all there is such a thing as “we the people.” It is not her current dangerousness physically that is the issue. It’s the psychological factor and what she stood for and the heinousness of the crime I would think. Also she is 69 not 74. We shall see.

  8. Cybele Moon says:

    but Colombo, Isn’t Leslie one of those murderers being defended too?

    No one is ever happy with whomever they elect. “You can’t please all of the people all of the time” as they say.

  9. Peter says:

    Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard. – H. L. Mencken

  10. Cybele Moon says:

    Can anyone explain to me as an outsider, why there is such a bitter wedge between republicans and democrats? It does seem that California is more a democrat state. Also didn’t the people vote for the option of having a governor have the last word in paroles? What are “ridiculous” environmental regulations? As for the death penalty ruling in California, Colombo mentioned that victim’s families are being given the finger. Did the Manson victim’s families also suffer that when the death penalty was briefly overturned. Will that go to a vote. As for Health Care issue isn’t that a proposal that has to be voted on as well.

  11. Peter says:

    Because as long as we are busy fighting each other, the state and federal governments can keep growing, increasing the opportunities for graft for the leaders of both parties.

  12. Okanahan says:

    It’s really too bad that one has to add a political rant to an otherwise interesting forum.

  13. Peter says:

    In fairness, if Leslie from Altadena was Lecilda from Ecuador, she would already be back on the street.

    Just sayin’

  14. Cybele Moon says:

    Peter, I don’t know if you are right about that but The Manson murders certainly had far reaching ramifications- socio-political-psychological etc, happening as it did in the anti establishment movement of the time and the hippie peace movement, a revolutionary music scene, along with the fame of the victims (and also other famous names connected) ,the horrifying thought of middle class children becoming rabid murderers, the gruesome and merciless crimes themselves, and the idea that where did we as a society go wrong. Philosophically to me it’s as though all these strange events converged together into a horrible fateful culmination. Just thinking.

  15. Peter says:

    I just want her to get out so she can go to the Once Upon a Time premier with John Waters.

  16. Alexander S Hill says:

    I doubt she will ever watch that. I’m sure she is sick of the topic.

  17. Pam says:

    I find it quite fascinating when people have more concern for killers than the victims and the long term damage they do
    They don’t understand the pain and suffering might be more important than Leslie seeing a movie. The killer has become the victim of a great injustice.

  18. Peter says:

    It’s possible to have concern for both. And its possible to be both a killer and a victim of a great injustice.

  19. NoJusticeNoPeace says:

    Yeah Peter, it’s called being a murderer who is a victim of their victim.

    Or justice.

    What evah.

  20. Pam says:

    You and Susan Atkins made the same argument when she called herself a “political prisoner”. The same person who help butcher a baby in his mother belly and spoke about the “hatred” of her victim’s relatives for her. And Leslie is the same, a “victim of the system” Truth is LVH chose to be a cold blooded killer and needs to die in prison like Manson and Atkins

  21. John Birr says:

    Peter, yes, I’ve made this point before. Of course, in this sad, decadent era known as the “Age of getting back at ‘whitey,'” having been a female in a group of commune-(ists) that also supposedly had some leader who was blamed for wanting to start a race war doesn’t help. The fact that it’s a media-driven lie shouldn’t surprise anyone though, either. If only she could claim she was of Mexican heritage, but, ah, too late. The damn Dutch don’t count for much. Nonetheless, Leslie ought to have been out years ago – having been significantly rehabilitated by the late 1970’s. The press back then thought she was a new woman when at her 77 and 78 trials. She was “poised,” and “intelligent,” and likely had been victimized in many ways herself. But, then, alas, came the cable TV “documentaries,” the unending references to Charlie, and significantly, the sudden, new incursion of victims’ family members being allowed to get significant camera time at parole hearings… yet I still say she will be out…eventually!

  22. Pam says:

    John, please don’t play the race card. Leslie’s race has nothing to do with her still being in prison.

  23. Christy says:

    Well, since Newsom gave the finger to the entire state by suspending the death penalty maybe we should remember LVH WAS sentenced to death and the ONLY reason she now has life with the possibility of parole was there was no life without when the Supreme Court ruled the death penalty unconstitutional. After that it was reinstated along with adding life without parole. But there was no way LVH was going to get either death or life without after she was convicted a second time.

    So in regards to LVH the governor IS following the will of the people to the best of his ability. They wanted her put to death. They couldn’t give her life without so this is the next best thing.

    Sorry Columbo. But you’re way off base with this. And if living here bothers you so much there are plenty of conservative states you can move to. Much cheaper cost of living and you won’t have to worry about boogie man liberals.

  24. Christy says:

    Oh and you won’t have to worry about pesky environmental laws either.

  25. Ben Gurecki says:


  26. Cybele Moon says:

    Columbo, Christy, Pam et al, interesting topic always!
    Justice is only a concept after all. The brutal concept of justice in some countries is horrifying to us. Those who are arguing for the law as it stands in California are understandable in those terms. I do get that.

    Am I sympathetic to LVH. No, not really. It won’t bother me if she remains incarcerated forever. Do I believe in redemption, yes I do and I don’t believe in the death penalty. Yet, was I sorry when a pedophile murderer was put to death? No, I thought he deserved it for the suffering he caused to the innocent. It’s all so complicated. I felt sympathy for the teenage girl who was sentenced to life without parole in another horrifying murder case. She had a sad life of abuse and poverty. She was diagnosed with a mental illness very early on (13) and deemed a danger to herself and/or others but… insurance wouldn’t pay for long term treatment in a facility so she fell through the cracks and grew up very angry. But Leslie and Pat,- they had not been deprived and had options and choices in life. For this reason I just cannot drum up a lot of sympathy. So what is justice. It seems to depend in which state you are living and now it’s become part of the politics of whether you are a republican or democrat.

  27. Kelly says:

    No baby was butchered it’s a urban legend. Get your facts straight before you speak, also Tex Watson already said years ago that Susan Atkins didn’t kill or stab anyone, it was all him and Patricia Krenwinkle

  28. Star Blazers says:

    Susan, at least held Sharon Tate from behind when Tex stabbed her. Also, Susan tied up and stabbed the legs of Frykowski that same night slowing him down from running away from Tex who shot his twice, beat him over the head with the gun and then stabbed him dozens of times. In a separate murder, Susan held a pillow over the face of Gary Hinman while Bobby Beausoleil stabbed him to death.

  29. Christy says:

    Thanks for clarifying cielodrive. I wasn’t sure if it was legally possible to sentence her to life without because of that. I thought it probably wasn’t but I also figured even if it was a worm can would have been opened if it had been legally possible and she was sentenced to it.

  30. Christy says:

    Cybele, here it’s been a matter of politics for a long time. If you read about things that went on in the 60s during the civil rights era you will see it. But it’s always been there in some form or another.

    And I agree with you about Pat and Leslie. Neither grew up in abusive households. The only thing that seems to be life altering was their parents’ divorces. If there were other things neither have said it. I also don’t buy the brainwashing argument. Influence sure. But to kill people? No. The other thing that has always gotten to me was afraid to leave the family. Both were local, both already knew how to hitchhike and get around if necessary. Both could have gone home. Pat managed to go to Alabama after the murders so neither were unable to just leave beforehand. Especially Leslie who already knew of the Tate murders the previous night. And that last really bothers me.

  31. Christy says:

    Kelly, Watson says a lot of things. Susan did stab Frykowski in the legs, as Star Blazers notes, and she admitted to that. Leslie stabbed Mrs LaBianca. As far as we know Pat killed Abigail Folger only. But all were complicit in the murders.

    Yes, Watson committed most of the murders those two nights. Or he had a hand in all of them. But only three, Parent, Sebring and Mr. LaBianca, can be laid wholly at his feet. And even there it’s murky. My guess is only Steve Parent because he was immediately shot.

  32. Susie says:

    This is going to rub a lot of people the wrong way but what made those crimes sooo heinous was the attention whore lawyers and prosecutors and Hollywood itself. People get stabbed and shot all the time in California. 1 out of every 9 prisoners is serving life in California the majority of those people stabbed or shot someone. All murder is heinous and there is no way to measure it as far as the victims family members go. But to you Joe Public who didn’t even know these people, the only reason you are care, think you feel outrage, etc. is because the media has been manipulating you on this case for the last 50 years. And there have been many way more heinous murders that don’t get attention and no one cares. Jerry Brown knows better, he doesn’t think she’s a danger or that these were the worst murders in California but he knows you do.

  33. Scofield says:

    All due respect Susie but the media hasn’t manipulated me one bit and the case is far different from other robbery/crimes of passion type stabbings that resulted in death. Your point however about the governor does ring true. The event and those connected to the victims and those who crossed paths with and even socialized with the perpetrators adds a complexity to it all that very few other crimes have and that makes it compelling. Add to that the era it occurred then add an 8 &1/2 months pregnant victim who was the spouse of an accomplished film director and a middle age couple and messages written in blood and a carving fork left in a victim’s abdomen in a killing spree that spanned two nights carried out by supposed hippie/flower children following the orders of a cult like leader and yeah that’s going to be written about and discussed for a long time.

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