Leslie Van Houten's parole won't be challenged by Governor Newsom
In a statement released on Friday, the office of California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that it will not dispute the parole recommendation of convicted murderer and member of the Manson Family Leslie Van Houten. This brings Van Houten's potential release from prison one step closer after he has spent more than half of his life behind bars.
Leslie Van Houten should be released from prison, the California Court of Appeal decides
At the age of 19, Van Houten was arrested in 1969 for assisting the leader of the Manson Family, Charles Manson, in the murder of a Los Angeles grocer named Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, in August of the same year. During the murder, Van Houten directly held Rosemary LaBianca and repeatedly stabbed her. On the other hand, Van Houten was not engaged in the more infamous killings of Sharon Tate, which took place a few days earlier. Van Houten was found guilty and given a death sentence in 1971, but that verdict was reversed the following year, therefore his execution was never carried out. In 1978, after a number of more years of legal fighting, Van Houten was ultimately condemned to spend the rest of his life in jail.
Since that time, Van Houten has applied for parole a total of 26 times, with the most recent five attempts being after Manson's death in 2017. Both the previous governor, Jerry Brown, and the current governor, Newsom, have turned down his requests for parole many times. After Van Houten and his counsel contested the governor's most recent refusal, just as another parole attempt was turned down by Newsom, the California Supreme Court sided with the lower courts and affirmed the prior decision to deny him parole.
Nevertheless, Newsom's decision was contested, and the matter was brought before the court. The appeal was considered by three judges on the California Second District Court of Appeals in Los Angeles over the course of the previous several months, and the judgment, which was reached by a vote of 2-1, gave Van Houten probation despite Newsom's earlier refusal of the request in May.
The judges found that Governor Newsom did not fully explain how Van Houten was under Manson's control, how he still presented a danger, and that there was no evidence to support his allegations. Additionally, the courts found that there was no evidence to back his assertions that there was no evidence to support his claims.
"There is no evidence to support the governor's conclusions about Van Houten's fitness for parole," the judges wrote in their verdict on Tuesday. "Van Houten has demonstrated extraordinary rehabilitation efforts, insight, remorse, realistic parole plans, support from family and friends, favorable institutional reports, and, at the time of the Governor's decision, he had received four successive parole grants." "Van Houten has demonstrated extraordinary rehabilitation efforts, insight, remorse, realistic parole plans, and support from family and friends." Despite the fact that the governor asserts that Van Houten's historical issues "continue to be prominent," he does not specify anything in the record that shows that Van Houten has not effectively addressed those concerns via a number of years of counseling, drug addiction programs, and other initiatives.
The Governor of California has said that he would not challenge the release decision of Leslie Van Houten
It was widely speculated that Newsom would file a challenge against the appeal in the California Supreme Court. In the past, when Newsom has filed challenges against appeals filed by convicted killers, the court has always sided with him. On the other hand, Newsom made the decision on Friday not to challenge the judgement, which indicates that Van Houten would be freed in a matter of days rather than weeks.
"The Governor is disappointed by the Court of Appeals decision to release Ms. Van Houten, but will not be taking any further action as further appeal efforts are unlikely to be successful," said Newsom Communications Director Erin Mellon in a statement released on Friday. "The Governor will not be taking any further action as further appeal efforts are unlikely to be successful." More than half a century after the Manson Cult was responsible for these heinous atrocities, the victims' families are still reeling from the aftermath, as are all residents of the state of California. In a relatively limited number of cases does the Supreme Court of California accept appeals, and in general, the court does not choose cases based on this sort of fact finding.
Attorney Nancy Tetreault, who represents Van Houten, said that her client "is delighted. There is no evidence, and there is nothing on her present record, to suggest that she poses a threat to others. She is an elderly woman, and she has a wonderful disposition.
On Friday, many legal experts were taken aback by the unexpected judgment. They pointed out that earlier decisions suggested that Newsom would have triumphed, along with the current California Supreme Court, which is primarily opposed to the release of many high-profile offenders. However, the verdict shocked many of these experts.
"Everyone expected Newsom to challenge him, as he has a long record of paroleing these infamous murderers," Benny Forbes, a criminal law advisor, remarked to the Globe. "He has a long record of paroleing these infamous murderers." Even Newsom's opponents did not have anything negative to say about the several occasions on which Newsom had denied them parole. That is no longer the case as of today."
"They stated that he wouldn't have been successful, but A: That's not what occurred in the past, and B: He didn't even attempt to do it. And as a direct result of him, she is likely to lose her job."
This will cost Newsom a great deal of goodwill from his followers, and it will take away one of the few positives that his opponents provided him. Oh, and you can be sure that this issue will be brought up in any future election, such as when he is running for president in the year 2028. He granted parole to a murderer associated with the Manson Family. You cannot make anything nice out of the situation. If he had at least attempted it and the Supreme Court had ruled against it, then he would have had the ability to claim that he had done all that was possible for him to do, but he did not.