California Supreme Court Delays Van Houten Decision

Saturday, August 22nd, 2020

Aug. 22 – The California Supreme Court will take more time to decide whether to review or deny a petition filed by Leslie Van Houten which challenges Governor Gavin Newsom’s reversal of her 2019 parole recommendation.

The petition, filed on July 7th, argues the Governor’s decision was not supported by evidence of current dangerousness; due process was violated when Van Houten was denied access to the Tex Watson tapes; and that the notoriety of the crime creates a conflict of interest for Newsom, because his political career could be negatively impacted if he allowed Van Houten’s parole grant to stand.

The state’s attorney general told the court Van Houten’s petition should be denied.

“None of Van Houten’s specific challenges to the Governor’s decision has merit,” wrote Deputy Attorney General Jennifer O. Cano, in an answer filed on July 27th. “The Governor properly relied on the seriousness of her murders in his decision to deny her parole, and was not required to consider the Tex Watson tapes, which are not part of the parole record. Van Houten’s conflict-of-interest claim is also without merit as the Governor is constitutionally authorized to review parole decisions for convicted murderers — a review that is independent from the Board’s.”

On July 31st, Van Houten filed a 21-page reply to the attorney general’s answer.

Van Houten was found suitable for parole for the third time on January 30, 2019. Newsom reversed the decision on June 3, 2019, stating Van Houten lacked insight and must take additional steps to demonstrate she will never return to the type of submission or violence again. The decision was upheld in the Superior court on January 31, 2020. California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal also upheld the reversal in a 2-to-1 vote on July 2nd.

Justice Virginia Chaney was the lone dissenter, as was the case last year when the same court heard Van Houten’s appeal of former Governor Jerry Brown’s reversal of her 2017 parole grant.

“I would issue an order to show cause why the petition should not be granted because I find no evidence in the record to support the Governor’s conclusion that [Van Houten] currently poses an unreasonable risk to public safety if released on parole,” Chaney wrote in her dissent. “I also would issue an alternative writ directing the superior court to vacate that part of its September 11, 2019 order denying [Van Houten’s] request for the transcripts of taped interviews of Charles “Tex” Watson conducted in December 1969 and January 1970 and then issue a new and different order granting same, or show cause why it elected not to do so.”

Van Houten has since been recommended for parole for a fourth time, at a hearing held last month. The grant is currently being reviewed by the Board of Parole Hearings. Then it will be reviewed by Governor Gavin Newsom, who will either confirm, reverse or modify the parole grant. The decision will be finalized no later than November 20th.

The California Supreme Court will have until October 5th to decide whether to review or deny Van Houten’s petition related to her 2019 reversal.

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11 Responses to California Supreme Court Delays Van Houten Decision

  1. Cybele Moon says:

    I have to confess, these Tex Tapes are intriguing. They may contain nothing new but I think they should be public.

    As for LVH, I’m sure everything is going to be held till the last moment and then it will still go round and round. How old is she now, 71 or 72? Although I would have preferred 100 years for all of them or whatever it would have taken to keep them in for a lifetime, as things go she has served close to a life term- all her youth and the endless possibilities of an era are over for her. I can’t imagine what life would even be like for her now if she emerges into the chaos of today’s political and social upheaval in America plus the Covid virus. She would need to be isolated. Life outside might still be a prison. I say that with sadness and not in glee. We are all held accountable for our actions in varying degrees. She chose a horrific path that demanded a huge price. That doesn’t end just by being released from an institution however the outcome of all these petitions and court proceedings. Lawyers might win a legal battle but no one has won in this tragic and horrifying story of lost lives on every level.

  2. Nicole says:

    She didn’t kill anybody. Secondly had the crime not involved celebrity they’d all would’ve been released years ago aside from Charlie and Tex. You obviously have read false accounts on the crimes if you even read anything besides a headline

  3. Cybele Moon says:

    Hey Nicole,
    have you been following any of the threads here? False accounts?
    Really!! I guess going on a murder mission ( she knew) and or holding someone down for some one else to stab isn’t murder?” oh and..

    “And I took one of the knives, and Patricia had one a knife, and we started stabbing and cutting up the lady,” Van Houten testified in 1971

    yes this has been a famous story. unfortunate for Leslie I guess.

  4. Michael says:

    Even if Leslie had not stabbed Mrs. LaBianca, she surely would have been guilty of murder, both legally and morally. Both nights were cases of murder in concert, and everyone played their part and shares culpability.

    I think Leslie herself would agree with that.

    And Cybele, you’re right about winning. In this miserable story the word can’t apply to anyone.

  5. Cybele Moon says:

    exactly Michael. I agree and thank you for reading as I don’t think Nicole did judging from her response which didn’t relate to anything I mentioned.

  6. Michael says:

    You know, reading these comments over again, I get tired of the argument that these killers are doing longer sentences just because one of their victims was a celebrity. (Actually, there were two celebrities killed – Sebring and Tate – and a third prominent figure – Folger.)

    Sharon Tate’s celebrity status plays into it, I’m sure. But it’s also the perverse celebrity status of the killers themselves that works against them.

    Manson, especially, became an icon, and his followers share second billing. Their bizarre motive, method of killing, lifestyle prior to the crimes, and well publicized antics during the trial, all combined to make them famous in their own right, a fame they would have earned no matter who they killed. They’re not where they are just because of the celebrity status of a victim. They’re where they are because they made themselves into celebrities.

  7. JNL says:

    Michael – They reveled in their infamy during the court proceedings. I think Van Houten’s actions during and immediately after the court and sentence phases have definitely impacted the public’s perceptions of her. It come across as duplicitous when LVH, and the others, claim it is only the name Manson that has added to her incarceration.

    Cybele Moon – I think Leslie hit 71 yesterday (Sunday). Seventy one going on 100. Her face shows a double burden. Knowing that her name will always be associated as a murderess. Knowing that she turned her back on her family and chose Manson and his gang as her new ‘Family.” She ended up sacrificing her adult life for Charles Manson. What an astonishingly awful decision.

  8. Legion says:

    Its curious why those Tex Watson tapes haven’t been released for over 50 years, “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain”. Someone has a vested interest in keeping that information suppressed. Also, the research Tom O’Neil has uncovered over the last 20 years, all factually based evidenced information, speaks to some incredible things that from a Legal standing could implicate Bugliosi’s prosecution, the state, and essentially have all imprisoned “Manson followers” released, immediately, as they should’ve been decades ago. Outside the reality the Plutocracy feeds this world lives truths that can only be known by one seeking them. Everything else is provided for you to believe. Wake up dear…, it’s time to RISE.

  9. Cybele Moon says:

    Legion? – a strange name lol. “my name is Legion for we are many?”

    I read Chaos but was not as enamoured of it as you, it still remains theories and not factual at all. O’Neil’s interviews with a bunch of rather dubious characters were bizarre. However, he had some interesting points too. I doubt that the Tex tapes will get them all released! Why? Because they did what they did. No one else killed the victims. I believe it’s possible though that the tapes might refer to other murders by the Manson family. Tex requested that they not be released apparently a long time ago for what reason who knows. Oh and he was the one who smiled when he described the victims running around in panic like chickens. Now he’s a born again Christian.

    There was an interesting documentary recently, about two young women stabbed to death at that time in the same area. The tapes were mentioned during the episode and the murders have never been solved.

    JNL I agree.

    Michael, very good point. The murderers became famous or infamous. We still are talking about them to this day!!

  10. Michael says:

    Legion, to hear someone advocating for LVH’s release also call for people to “rise” is pretty disturbing, whether you meant it to be or not. You are aware, aren’t you, that Pat used the LaBianca’s blood to write “Arise” in on their walls after they were butchered, and that Leslie helped in the butchering?

  11. Christy says:

    Legion you sure that “someone “ isn’t Tex himself? He is still eligible for parole so are you referring to him with the group that would be released immediately? Or could it be he doesn’t want any more murders to come to light since it won’t help his cause?

    Just because it’s common belief he will never be paroled, and he probably knows this, doesn’t mean he no longer has hopes and/or doesn’t want any other crimes to hurt this or clobber the reputation he’s tried to build as a reformed person.

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