California Appeal Court Granted Parole To A Former Charles Manson Follower Leslie Van Houten


In a 2-1 decision on Tuesday, a California appeal panel decided that Gov. Gavin Newsom lacked “some evidence” that one of the Charles Manson cult members who murdered Rosemary and Leno LaBianca in 1969 poses a continuing threat to society five decades later.

Leslie Van Houten attends her parole hearing at the California Institution for Women Sept. 6, 2017 in Corona, Calif. (Photo: Stan Lim/Los Angeles Daily News via AP, Pool, File)

Despite the fact that the Board of Release Hearings has repeatedly ruled convicted Manson Family member Leslie Van Houten eligible for release in recent years, Democratic governors have refused. Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom have revoked parole five times. Van Houten, now 73 years old and receiving concurrent sentences of seven years to life in prison, committed atrocious crimes, according to the appeal majority. However, Justice Helen Bendix noted in her opinion that Newsom’s reasoning for denying parole was based on “unsupported intuition” that fell short of the “some evidence” requirement defined by law, and Justice Victoria Gerrard Chaney concurred.

In short, the two appellate justices determined that Van Houten demonstrated her case for release better than the governor did in arguing that she should be imprisoned.

As a result, Van Houten’s habeas corpus petition was granted.

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The lone dissent was written by presiding justice Frances Rothschild, who stated: “In my view, the record contains some evidence to support the Governor’s decision to reverse Leslie Van Houten’s 2020 grant of parole in at least two ways.” Rothschild asserted that there is evidence that Van Houten continues to downplay her involvement in the LaBianca murders and that she can still be manipulated by others, posing a potential danger to society.

In conclusion, Rothschild made sure to point out that one of the guys Van Houten was seeing had murdered two women.

There isn’t much more information in the record about these relationships, but there is evidence that Van Houten had a romantic correspondence for about 16 years with a man who killed two women and that their relationship ended because the man committed suicide.

Law&Crime requested a response from the governor’s office.

Even after all this time, Van Houten’s parole request was denied by Newsom because he wasn’t convinced that the notorious cult killer comprehends “what allowed her to be vulnerable to Mr. Manson’s influence.”

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