Category Archives: Uncategorized
Wednesday, January 30th, 2019
Jan. 30 – Leslie Van Houten was found suitable for parole at a hearing held today at the California Institute for Women in Corona, California. This was Van Houten’s third parole suitability recommendation.
Van Houten was sentenced to death in 1971 for her part in the August 10, 1969 murder deaths of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. The following year, Van Houten saw her sentence commuted to life after the California supreme court outlawed the death penalty, stating it was unconstitutional. In 1976, an appeals court ruled Van Houten was denied a fair trial because her attorney, Ronald Hughes, disappeared during the trial.
Van Houten was retried in 1977, resulting in a hung jury. She was retried the following year and that time, convicted and sentenced to seven years to life. Because of time served on her original sentence, Van Houten was already eligible for parole when she returned to prison in August of 1978.
She has been denied parole 19 times since becoming eligible for parole in 1978. She was recommended for parole for the first time in April of 2016. On July 22, 2016, then Governor Jerry Brown vetoed the decision, stating, “I have considered the evidence in the record that is relevant to whether Van Houten is currently dangerous. When considered as a whole, I find the evidence shows that she currently poses an unreasonable danger to society if released from prison.”
She was recommended for parole a second time in September of 2017. Once again, Brown overturned the decision citing the heinousness of the commitment offense.
In January of last year, Van Houten’s attorney, Richard Pfeiffer, filed a writ of Habeas Corpus challenging Brown’s reversal, arguing the decision relied on isolated negative factors to support the conclusion that Van Houten posed an unreasonable risk if released. That June, Brown’s reversal was upheld by the Superior Court.
“The Governor met all due process requirements, and considered all relevant statutory factors tending to show suitability, including positive psychological reports,” wrote Judge William Ryan. “This court is not entitled to reweigh the evidence before the Governor; rather it is tasked with determining whether the record contains some evidence in support of the Governor’s decision. This court finds that it does, and that there is a rational nexus between the evidence in the record and the Governor’s determination of [Van Houten’s] current dangerousness.”
Pfeiffer challenged the ruling in California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal, who have yet to rule on it.
Today’s decision will undergo a 120-day review by the Board of Parole Hearings. Then it will be reviewed by Governor Gavin Newsom, who will have until June 29th to either confirm, reverse or modify the parole grant.
Thursday, January 3rd, 2019
BEAUSOLEIL FOUND SUITABLE FOR RELEASE
Jan. 3 – Bobby Beausoleil was found suitable for parole today by the California Board of Parole Hearings.
Today’s decision will undergo a 120 day BPH review. If the grant withstands scrutiny, it will then be sent to newly elected Governor Gavin Newsom. Newsom will have five options. He may uphold, reverse or modify the decision. He may also send it back to the full BPH board to review en banc (meaning all 15 commissioners at a monthly meeting), or he may take no action. If he takes no action the grant moves forward.
Beausoleil has been incarcerated since June 23, 1970, serving a term of 7-years-to-life, for the 1969 murder of musician Gary Hinman. He was tried twice, the first resulting in hung jury and the second, a conviction. He was sentenced to death on April 15, 1970, but saw that sentence commuted to life when the death penalty was briefly outlawed.
Beausoleil has been denied parole 18 times since he became eligible on August 4th, 1976.
Tuesday, November 6th, 2018
Nov. 6 – The Attorney General of California maintains that Jerry Brown’s reversal of Leslie Van Houten’s 2017 parole grant did not violate due process, in an informal opposition submitted yesterday to California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal.
Van Houten’s attorney, Richard Pfeiffer, filed a writ of Habeas Corpus in January, challenging Brown’s reversal, arguing the decision relied on isolated negative factors to support the conclusion that Leslie Van Houten posed an unreasonable risk if released. Superior Court Judge William C. Ryan upheld Brown’s reversal in June. Pfeiffer immediately sought relief from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal.
In early October, the Court of Appeal gave the attorney general 30 days to file opposition to the writ.
Upon receiving the informal opposition submitted by the attorney general, Pfeiffer submitted an informal reply with the court.
Thursday, October 4th, 2018
Oct. 4 – The 2nd District Court of Appeal has given the Attorney General of California until November 5th to file an opposition to Leslie Van Houten’s latest challenge of Governor Jerry Brown’s reversal of her 2017 parole recommendation.
In June, Superior Court Judge William C. Ryan, upheld Brown’s reversal, stating that the Governor had met all due process requirements
“This court is not entitled to reweigh the evidence before the Governor; rather it is tasked with determining whether the record contains some evidence in support of the Governor’s decision,” wrote Ryan. “This court finds that it does, and that there is a rational nexus between the evidence in the record and the Governor’s determination of [Van Houten’s] current dangerousness.”
Friday, September 28th, 2018
Leslie Van Houten has requested to be resentenced.
In June, Governor Jerry Brown signed an assembly bill which amended the penal code to allow the Board of Parole Hearings and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation the ability to make recommendations for resentencing, provided the new sentence is no greater than the original.
On Wednesday, Van Houten’s attorney, Richard Pfeiffer filed a motion with the Board of Parole Hearings and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation requesting they recommend Van Houten’s sentence be recalled by the superior court.
Van Houten is still waiting on an appellate court ruling regarding Governor Brown’s reversal of her most recent parole recommendation. Last week, Pfeiffer filed a supplemental petition bringing to light a newly published opinion that he felt bolstered Van Houten’s argument that Brown’s reversal was not supported by the record.
Van Houten’s next parole hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, January 30, 2019