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Tuesday, July 6, 2010
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SUBSEQUENT PAROLE CONSIDERATION HEARING
STATE OF CALIFORNIA
BOARD OF PAROLE HEARINGS
In the matter of the Life Term Parole Consideration Hearing of:
LESLIE VAN HOUTEN
CDC Number: W-13378
CALIFORNIA INSTITUTION FOR WOMEN
JULY 6, 2010
ROBERT DOYLE, Presiding Commissioner
CAROL BENTLEY, Deputy Commissioner
LESLIE VAN HOUTEN, Inmate
BRANDIE DEVALL, Attorney for Inmate
PATRICK SEQUEIRA, Deputy District Attorney
LOUIS SMALDINO, Victims' Advocate
DEBORAH TATE, Victims' Advocate Spokesperson
JAMIE LUNA, Victim/Witness representative, Observer
BARBARA HOYT, Observer
LINDA DEUTSCH, Associated Press, Observer
ALAN MILLER, Observer
MICHAEL CONTRERAS, Observer
ALICIA LOUDON, Observer
LETICIA TAYLOR, Observer
ROB MCMILLAN, KABC-TV, Observer
BRET MILLS, KCBS News, Observer
JAY JENKINS, KCBS News, Observer
REED SAXON, Associated Press, Observer
DENNIS FIGUEROA, Observer
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: It's a go.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: All right, folks. We're going to start over. Sorry for that delay. Technical difficulties. Are you through there?
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: Uh-hmm.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: Okay. Ready? The time is about 1:45. This is a Subsequent Parole Consideration Hearing for Leslie Van Houten, CDC number W-13378. Today's date is July 6th, 2010. We're located at CIW. Ms. Van Houten was received on August 17th, 1978 (sic), from Los Angeles County. The controlling offense for which she has been committed is murder in the first degree, two counts, 187 of the Penal Code case A253156. Additional counts of conspiracy to commit murder, 182.1 of the Penal Code. Minimum eligible parole date is August 17th of 1978. This hearing is being recorded and for purposes of voice identification, each of us will state our first and our last name, spelling our last name. Ms. Van Houten, when it's your turn, after spelling your last name, please give me your CDC number. I'll start and go to my left, Robert Doyle, D-O-Y-L-E, Commissioner.
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: Carol Bentley, B-E-N-T-L-E-Y, Deputy Commissioner.
DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY SEQUEIRA: Patrick Sequeira, S-E-Q-U-E-I-R-A, Deputy District Attorney, County of Los Angeles.
MR. SMALDINO: Louis Smaldino, L-O-U-I-S, S-M-A-L-D-I-N-O, Victim advocate.
MS. TATE: Deborah Tate, T-A-T-E, Victim advocate spokesperson.
MS. LUNA: Jamie Luna, L-U-N-A, Victim/Witness representative.
MS. HOYT: Barbara Hoyt, H-O-Y-T, (inaudible).
MS. DEUTSCH: Linda Deutsch, Associated Press.
MR. MILLER: Alan Miller, M-I-L-L-E-R, Observer.
MR. CONTRERAS: Michael Contreras, C-O-N-T-R-E-R-A-S, observer.
MS. LOUDON: Alicia Loudon, L-O-U-D-O-N, (inaudible) observer.
MS. TAYLOR: Leticia Taylor, T-A-Y-L-O-R, observer.
MR. MCMILLAN: Rob McMillan, KABC-TV.
MR. MILLS: Bret Mills, M-I-L-L-S, KCBS News.
MR. JENKINS: Jay Jenkins, J-E-N-K-I-N-S, KCBS News.
MR. SAXON: Reed Saxon, R-E-E-D, S-A-X-O-N, Associated Press.
MR. FIGUEROA: Dennis Figueroa, F-I-G-U-E-R-O-A, (inaudible).
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: For the record there is a correctional peace officer present in the room for security purposes only who is not participating in today's hearing.
ATTORNEY DEVALL: And Commissioner, I don't think -- Brandie Devall, D-E-V-A-L-L, Counsel for Ms. Van Houten.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: You need to speak up.
INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Leslie Van Houten, capital V-A-N capital H-O-U-T-E-N, W-13378.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: Thank you. Anybody else that we missed? Very good. All right, Ms. Van Houten, I've taken a look at the DEC system and your BPH 1073 form. You signed that on March 2nd, 2010, indicating you have no disability; is that correct, ma'am?
INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Yes, it is.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: All right. And can you hear me okay?
INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Yes, I can.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: I did notice you were wearing your glasses. And those work okay for you?
INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Yes, they do.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: You walked down here today on your own?
INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Yes, I did.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: All right. So to your knowledge do you have any disability that would keep you from participating in the hearing today?
INMATE VAN HOUTEN: No.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: Very good. I also took a look at your BPT 1002 form that you signed on that same date. And I note Counsel has gone over your rights in the hearing procedure today. And do you have any questions about your hearing rights or the hearing procedure?
INMATE VAN HOUTEN: No, I don't.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: All right. Counsel, do you agree that Ms. Van Houten's rights as it pertains to these two issues have been met?
ATTORNEY DEVALL: Yes, thank you.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: I'll note for the record that I did pass the parole consideration checklist marked Exhibit One to Counsel and on to the District Attorney to review to ensure that we're all working off the same set of documents and both have initialed as such. Now, Ms. Van Houten, as I said, we have had an opportunity to review your transcripts, your C-File and you'll have an opportunity to correct or clarify the record as we proceed today. As you know, nothing that happens here today will change the findings of the court. I'm not here to retry your case. We're here for the sole purpose to determine your parole suitability. Do you understand that, Ma'am?
INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Yes, I do.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: And Counsel, do you have any preliminary objections at this time?
ATTORNEY DEVALL: I do. It's my understanding that this hearing is going to be conducted pursuant to Proposition 9.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: That's correct.
ATTORNEY DEVALL: I object to the application of Proposition 9 in this case to Ms. Van Houten because she was tried and convicted long before the law was implemented. My objection is based on the fact that the law is ex post facto and it is a violation of Ms. Van Houten's due process rights.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: So noted for the record.
ATTORNEY DEVALL: Okay. I would also like to state a concern that I have. I understand that Ms. Tate is a victims' representative. I have some serious concerns about a potential taint that would in some way affect Ms. Van Houten because she wasn't convicted of anything having to do with the Tate crimes. And so I just would ask the Panel to be aware of that. And, like I said, I am concerned about a potential taint.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: And I believe that Deborah Tate is here for the sole purpose to read a statement on behalf of victims' next-of-kin that is involved in this case; is that correct?
MS. TATE: That is correct.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: Okay. So seeing that, I see no problem.
ATTORNEY DEVALL: Okay. And then finally I would, if I may, I know the Panel is well aware of this, but just for the record, I would like to outline very briefly the provisions set forth in 2030 about the role of the prosecution. And it states specifically that the role of the prosecution is to comment on the facts of the case and present an opinion about the appropriate disposition. In making comments, supporting documentation in the file should be cited. The prosecutor may be permitted to ask clarifying questions of the Hearing Panel but may not render legal advice. And again, I would put that on the record. Thank you.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: So noted. Any other objections?
ATTORNEY DEVALL: No, not at this time, Commissioner. Thank you.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: And Commissioner, do we have any confidential information that will be used on today's hearing?
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: We do. And basically it pertains to the victim witnesses, the crime partners, and also some letters in opposition. But we won't be using most of it.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: The letters of opposition?
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: They were old. They weren't recent.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: All right.
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: There were several, but we won't be. We have current letters in opposition that are not --
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: Thank you. And does Ms. Van Houten have any additional documents that she wishes to put forward to the Panel at this time?
ATTORNEY DEVALL: We do. We have one chrono that we don't believe is in the file because it's pretty new. There are also some additional support letters that are very recent that are not in that packet we don't believe. I also have an insight chart comprised of all of the psychological reports going back to 1978, just the statements from the various doctors which comment on Ms. Van Houten's insight. There are a couple of writings from Ms. Van Houten and a relapse prevention plan. And then the item on the top will probably come in play when we go over the psych report, just some concerns that Ms. Van Houten had about some issues in the psych report. Nothing major, but we thought it would be important to bring it to the Panel's attention.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: All right, thank you. And is Ms. Van Houten going to be speaking with the Panel today?
ATTORNEY DEVALL: Because Ms. Van Houten is in attendance now at her 19th parole hearing, because she's long accepted responsibility for the life crime and expressed remorse, because the record is replete with the demonstration of her insight, Ms. Van Houten will not be speaking at today's hearing. If there is a question that does come up or something that needs to be answered, if we could at that time be given a moment to discuss that issue, we might take that as it comes, but she won't be speaking directly to the Panel, no. She will be answering any burning questions through me, not addressing the Panel directly.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: All right. So point of clarification, not just about the life crime, she will not be speaking to the Panel today at all?
ATTORNEY DEVALL: Correct. She's decided to exercise her right not to speak.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: Okay. In case you do decide to speak, Ms. Van Houten, I'm going to go ahead and swear you in.
INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Okay.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: Please raise your right hand. Do you solemnly swear or affirm the testimony you do give in this hearing will be the truth and nothing but the truth?
INMATE VAN HOUTEN: I do.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: Thank you. Okay, I'm going to quickly read her personal factors. Ms. Van Houten, through your attorney if you decide to add or to delete from this, this is from the most recent Board report, your personal factors. Inmate Van Houten is now 60 years old. She was the second of two children born to the union of Paul and Jane Van Houten. She also had two younger adopted siblings. She was raised in Los Angeles, California, area in a loving, Christian home. She states that she was very sheltered by her mother who was also the main disciplinary figure and had high expectations of Ms. Van Houten. She states that she was very close to her father who was an alcoholic. Her parents divorced when Ms. Van Houten was age 14. Her father was -- Excuse me, her father has been remarried twice. She claims that there was no abuse in the family. Ms. Van Houten states her boyfriend introduced her to LSD at age 15. She subsequently became pregnant during her senior year in high school. At her mother's insistence, she had an abortion which emotionally drove the two of them apart. This is contrary to the probation officer's report which states Ms. Van Houten had a miscarriage. In spite of Ms. Van Houten's continued use of LSD, she graduated from Monrovia High School after which she moved in with her father and stepmother. She then graduated from Sawyer Business College as a certified secretary. In hopes of finding employment, she moved to San Francisco area where she met Bobby Beausoleil, B-E-A-U-S-O-L-E-I-L, who she lived with until she moved to the Spahn Ranch where she lived for several years. During her time at the Spahn Ranch, she became totally absorbed in the Manson culture using LSD and marijuana that Mr. Manson would supply. She states that she was very compliant to Manson's control, psychological abuse, and sexual promiscuity. She claims that Mr. Manson could be gentle and sweet but he could also humiliate her among others making her feel stupid. Ms. Van Houten was married in November 1981 at CIW to a parolee named Bill Cywin, C-Y-W-I-N. This marriage ended eight months later due to irreconcilable, I guess that's supposed to be, differences. It is noted, with the exception of the Board of Prison Terms' reports, dated March 16th, '82, April 11th, '85, and Ms. Van Houten's statements, there is no documents in the C-File regarding this marriage or divorce. Ms. Van Houten has never been in the U.S. military and she is not in the Mental Health Services Delivery System. Anything you wish to add or comment on as it relates to that, Ms. Van Houten?
ATTORNEY DEVALL: One thing. She actually (inaudible) for one year not (inaudible).
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: All right, let's take a look at your prior history. Ms. Van Houten, according to the record, had no juvenile arrests noted on the CI&I report. And her adult arrests and convictions consisted of April 19th, 1969, a grand theft auto. She was released on April 21st, 1969, with insufficient evidence. August 16th, '69, grand theft auto, that showed no disposition. On December 18th, 1969, a burglary with no disposition. And on October 10th, '69, grand theft auto, no disposition. November 25th, '69, grand jury indictment on the current case. And then in 1976 her sentence was reversed and she did have a retrial that was ordered and she was subsequently sentenced to seven years to life on the commitment offense. And I believe she did have on one of these, the grand theft auto, it was dropped when she was arrested on this double murder. And the authorities didn't pursue it any further. Any others that you wish to speak about, Counsel?
ATTORNEY DEVALL: No.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: Okay. All right. We're going to incorporate by reference the probationary report and also the court documents (inaudible) summary of the crime and again I'll be taking it from the Appellate document as it relates starting on page 6. Starting on page 5. On page 5, the day after the Tate murders at the Polanski residence. Sometime the next day, August 9th, 1969, after Atkins and Krenwinkel returned and told Van Houten that they had committed the Tate murders. Van Houten felt, quote, "left out," end quote, and wanted to be included this time. After dinner that night, Manson told Van Houten and other members of the family that the murders the previous evening had been, quote, "too messy," end quote, and that he would show them how it should be done. Manson, Van Houten, Watson, Krenwinkel, Atkins, Grogan, Kasabian got in the car. As instructed by Manson, Van Houten took a change of clothes with her in case the clothes got bloody. Kasabian drove while Manson gave random directions for about four hours selecting and discarding possible victims. Manson told her to stop at a residence of Harold True on Cielo Drive. Manson was acquainted with this residence and said he knew Harold True who was known to some of the Family and told Manson he could not go there. Manson said he was going to the house next door on Waverly Drive that belonged to the LaBiancas. Manson watched then went inside first. He surprised and tied up the LaBiancas. Manson returned alone several minutes later and reported he had tied up a man and a woman and, quote, "Got their wallet," end quote. Sticking directly to (inaudible) Manson told them to go in the house and do what he once had told them to. He also told them not to let the victims know they would be murdered. The purpose of this advice was to avoid the chaos of the Tate murders. Van Houten and Krenwinkel went into the residence and found Watson holding the LaBiancas at the point of his bayonet. While Krenwinkel and Van Houten went into the LaBianca residence, Manson and the others drove away. Manson had Kasabian plant the LaBiancas wallet at a gas station restroom hoping it would be discovered by a black person who would use the credit card and get blamed for the theft and murder. At the LaBianca residence, Watson asked the victims if they had any money. Ms. LaBianca's hands were untied and she brought out a small box of money. Watson told Van Houten and Krenwinkel to take Ms. LaBianca into her bedroom and kill her. Van Houten and Krenwinkel took Mrs. LaBianca to her bedroom. At some point Krenwinkel went into the kitchen and brought back some knives and gave Van Houten one. Van Houten then put a pillowcase over Mrs. LaBianca's head and wrapped a lamp cord that was still attached to a lamp around her neck. Mrs. LaBianca heard the sounds of her husband being stabbed and the unnatural sound of his breathing in the living room. She forced her way up from the bed yelling her husband's name. Mrs. LaBianca grabbed the lamp attached to the cord around her neck and swung the lamp at Van Houten. Van Houten knocked the lamp out of Mrs. LaBianca's hand and wrestled her back into the bedroom where she pinned her down so that Krenwinkel could stab her. Krenwinkel used the knife taken earlier from the LaBianca kitchen with such force down on Mrs. LaBianca's collarbone that the knife blade bent. Van Houten ran into the hallway calling for Watson who came into Mrs. LaBianca's bedroom with a bayonet according to Van Houten. She turned away and Watson stabbed Mrs. LaBianca with a bayonet eight times. Each of those stab wounds was made by a bayonet probably wielded by Watson because of the force required to produce these wounds. Each of the eight stab wounds alone could have been fatal, seven of which were in fact. Then Watson turned to Van Houten and handed her the knife and told her to do something. At that moment, Van Houten saw (inaudible) she said that, quote, "She felt," end quote, Mrs. LaBianca was dead, but she didn't know that. But she, quote, "didn't know for sure," end quote. Van Houten then used the knife Watson gave her to stab Mrs. LaBianca. She admitted at one point stabbing her in the lower back 16 times. At another point she said she stabbed her 14 times. Mrs. LaBianca was stabbed a total of 42 times. According to Dianne Lake, another Family member, Van Houten told her, quote, "She had stabbed a woman who was already dead and that the more she did it, the more fun it was." After the stabbing, Van Houten reportedly wiped away the fingerprints while Krenwinkel wrote in blood on various surfaces in the residence. She gave the extra clothes brought to Watson when he asked for them. Watson told her to put on some of Mrs. LaBianca's clothes, which she did and discarded in a dumpster the clothing that she had come in. She drank some chocolate milk from the LaBiancas' refrigerator, went back to the Spahn Ranch where Mrs. LaBianca's clothes that she was wearing were burned and seven or eight dollars in change from Mrs. LaBianca's box. They hid out for over two months in remote locations and wasn't arrested until November 25th of 1969. And in her latest version from the 2004, excuse me, 2010 Board report, Ms. Van Houten states, "When I was 19 years old, like many of us in the '60s, 1960s, I was searching for a commune of kids with spiritual values and idealism. I came to live at the Spahn Movie Ranch with a group of other young people under the watchful eye of an older man named Charles Watson. When I first arrived, Manson was not speaking of violent revolution and I believed I had found a peaceful loving commune. Over a period of time, through a process of manipulation and drugs, I came to believe that Charles Manson was the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. I was very naïve and idealistic and had never met anyone like him before. I've discussed my version of the crime in detail in the majority of my parole hearings since 1978, and I incorporate those facts in this report. I will continue to do my best to answer all questions the Panel members have. I am legally and morally responsible and take responsibility for the deaths of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. Looking back, I know how terrifying that night was for them, and I carry tremendous shame about it. I would like to apologize to the family and friends of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. It is my understanding that the state has a victims' rights program. If at any time any family member wishes to talk to me through an established intermediary, I would welcome the opportunity to apologize personally. I have taken very seriously these murders and truly am sorry. I know that Mr. and Mrs. LaBianca were kind and loving people, and I deeply regret the taking of their lives and having hurt those who love Mr. and Mrs. LaBianca as I know their pain is unending. Additionally I am aware of a fear my crime's impacts had on the greater community and for this I am deeply regretful. I apologize to everyone who suffered from my inhumanity. I am also sorry for the irreverent behavior I participated in during the trial of 1970, '71. As a mature woman, I realize this added to both the fear and pain that my actions caused." Counsel, anything she wishes to add to that?
ATTORNEY DEVALL: Yes, two sources. Well, first from the Court of Appeals opinion at page 9, I'd like to add these following two sentences. "Van Houten was tried a third time and the jury again convicted her of one count of conspiracy to commit first degree murder and two counts of first degree murder. However, the jury in this third trial was not required to decide that she premeditated and deliberated the murder because the trial court also gave felony murder instructions." I would also during the deliberations like to direct the Panel's attention to the 2004 hearing transcripts wherein Ms. Van Houten discusses the life crime at length. And that is starting at page 19. And again that's of the 2004 hearing transcript.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: Very good. With that, I'll turn it over to Commissioner Bentley.
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: It's been a number of years since I last saw you. Your last Board hearing was February 20th, 2009. But you postponed that hearing, so you're actual last hearing was August 30th, 2007. You came into here at CIW in August of '78. Your classification is currently 28, which is the lowest it can go. You have had a few disciplinaries that go way back. I believe one was for marijuana. But you have been disciplinary free since the mid '70s. You did receive one counseling chrono and that was in 1981. So you can be very proud of the fact that you've had no disciplinaries. Educationally you got your BS degree and now you're working on getting your master's degree from Dominguez. She has it?
ATTORNEY DEVALL: Well, it's a BA degree in English lit.
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: A BA, okay. Okay, but she's now working on her master's at Dominguez Hills.
INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Yes, currently.
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: University. Okay the job assignment that you're currently working on is that you are a tutor for Chaffey College Students. You're getting outstanding work reports and favorable comments from your supervisors on the work that you're doing in that area. Vocationally you came in with data processing skills and you've used those working in the clerical area for various people. Then based on the Board's concerns in 1996, you did complete the vocational data processing vocation. You have been involved in numerous self-help organizations, and I didn't have this current chrono, but she's been in this for a while, which is Emotions Anonymous. Which is the first I've heard of this which, I guess, is a 12-step program for people who are having emotional problems. Do you know anything more about that, Ms. Devall?
ATTORNEY DEVALL: There have been concerns in the past and Ms. Van Houten also had concerns about dependency issues, and so that's why she's taken the Emotions Anonymous, which is 12 steps dealing with emotional problems as opposed to substance abuse.
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: All right.
ATTORNEY DEVALL: And it's outlined here in this if you'd like to take a look at it.
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: Okay. This is called Journey Towards and Effective -- And this is apparently written by one of the participants in the program. And this author indicates that she attends the meetings to learn to live at peace with myself and to achieve serenity despite unsolved problems. It says I've learned I'm powerless over my emotions. That is to say they will affect me in some way no matter how deeply I repress them, how hard I try not to express them, or how fervently I ignore them. I thought this was interesting that you indicated she got involved in this because of previous Panels. And I know I've discussed this in the past about her dependency. And I know that it has been indicated she got married. And she married a person who had a criminal history that had, I believe she started corresponding with him while in prison. That was a very short lived marriage when she found out in '81 that she felt he had married her for his own personal financial gain. But then I noticed that she has also been in correspondence, and I've discussed this with her in the past, with a gentleman by the name of Michael Vines, who at the time was in prison in Texas. And she had been corresponding with him for 12 years. I don't know if that's still an ongoing relationship, but it just kind of gives the impression that it's probably not the best choice in men as was Charles Manson not the best choice in men. Now in other self-help programs she's been involved in and substance abuse Forever Free, which is a program that I know that they have here at CIW. It's an excellent program working on substance abuse. Back in '07, she was in a program called Addictive Personality. In '06 and for many, many years, she's been in AA and NA. And she's been in the hobby craft doing quilting and teaching others how to do it. Back in '03, she was involved with the canine team where they raised puppies to be assistance to the disabled. And in 2009, there was a chrono in there that she was involved in Ask Tea. Do you know what that's about, Ms. Devall? T-E-A?
ATTORNEY DEVALL: I'm actually writing down your concerns and then I'll (inaudible).
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: Okay. And she's been doing tai chi and I know what that is. And she's been involved in the past in the Victim Offender program and Conflict Management and Pathways to Wholeness. There's an awful lot of material that we have here. I'm sure that you're well aware, Ms. Devall. Is there something that I've, some major thing I've overlooked? I've tried to concentrate since your last hearing that you'd like to bring to our attention?
ATTORNEY DEVALL: The different programming is brought together in the relapse prevention plan. So just really that. I think she put a lot of different things together there as far as substance abuse and dependency.
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: Okay. Okay. All right. We'll go to her psychological report, which she did indicate in the paperwork that you handed me, she had some, felt there were some discrepancies. But in reading through that, I didn't think there were any major, yeah, okay. And this was done by Dr. Carrera. Is this a man or a woman?
ATTORNEY DEVALL: A woman.
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: Okay. And it's dated March 3rd, 2010, and this goes through the background, and this is where Ms. Van Houten thought that there were some errors, but again, nothing major. Education as she graduated from high school prior to coming to prison and apparently she did become pregnant and have an abortion and that was a rather traumatic experience for her. And she graduated from Sawyer Business College. It talks about her employment history and her parole plans, which we'll get to very and her prior criminal record. And under the assessment, the HCR-20, on most of the scales in the very low to low risk range for violent recidivism. These are in prior evaluations that were done. And it talks about how she came under the influence of Charles Manson. And it talked about the role that alcohol and drugs played in the commitment offense and the ability to refrain from future use. She says she was able to discuss how she feels indifferent to Charles Manson now. She has ceased trying to understand how he could commit such atrocities. She stated that one of her therapists told her you can never understand the mind of someone without a conscience. She indicated she is no longer interested in figuring him out but instead invested her time in figuring herself out and using what she has learned to help others. It says during her first incarceration she was disciplined for being in possession of marijuana. She reportedly discontinued her use of drugs in '76, and there's no documentation or admission of relapse. Due to her consistent participation in 12-step programs and current anti-drug mindset, she is considered to be a shortly, clinical she scored relatively reduced risk for relapse in the community. That's a really positive statement by the psychologist because they usually don't say that.
ATTORNEY DEVALL: No, they don't.
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: Okay. And then under the diagnostic impressions, we have polysubstance dependence in a controlled environment. No diagnosis under Axis II. It says that there is no indication that she is suffering with a mental illness. There is no symptomatology of a character or personality disorder. Recently examiners have found justification for removal of polysubstance dependence diagnosis based on the inmate's long term participation in 12-step programs. Her current anti drug philosophy and no evidence of relapse since 1976. And it gets into the life crime and her institutional programming which we have already gone through. And when they go for the assessment for risk of violence, again as in the previous reports, the PCL-R placed her in the very low range for the clinical construct of psychopathy. The items which required some level of endorsement were related to her adult history, the instant offense, and her early conduct in custody. These items included parasitic lifestyle, poor behavioral controls, promiscuous sexual behavior, impulsivity and irresponsibility. And her presentation in the interview suggested that she is mature, in control of herself and her emotions and her behavior. Her insight is good and hope that her ongoing participation in pro social activities will further assist her in formulating even deeper insight into her past choices. Under the HCR-20, it indicates scores were increased by factors relating to previous violence, relationship instability, employment problems, and substance abuse problems. Your scores were not increased in areas of young age at first violent incident, major mental illness, psychopathy, early maladjustment, personality disorder, and prior supervision failure. Overall under the HCR-20, she scored in the low range of violent recidivism. Under the LS/CMI, the score indicates that she is in the low category, and factors which increased her risk of recidivism were her adult criminal arrest record, having been incarcerated, having been punished for institutional misconduct, having some criminal acquaintances and friends by virtue of being incarcerated. Factors which did not increase her risk of recidivism included the lack of prior convictions, not having been arrested prior to the age of 16, never having been expended or expelled from school, her current employment status, her excellent work performance evaluations, her ability to interact well with coworkers and supervisors and the presence of support from her family members and members of the community. The lack of criminality within her family, her recent ongoing participation and organized activities, the lack of current alcohol or drug problems, her positive attitude regarding her conventions of society, her positive outlook regarding future supervision and treatment, her lack of antisocial mindset. After weighing all of the data from the available records, the clinical interview, and the risk assessment data, it is opined that Ms. Van Houten presents a low risk for violence in the community. And again as I indicated, this was done by Dr. C. Carrera, C-A-R-R-E-R-A, and it was done in March or probably February of 2010. Okay, very positive report.
INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Thank you.
ATTORNEY DEVALL: Commissioner, may I just add that the doctor also notes that in the clinical domain, there are no factors that would increase her likelihood to recidivate. She just talks about insight, impulse control and all that and says that again there is no one single factor that increases her risk.
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: Okay. Thank you. Okay, let's talk about parole plans. You have a letter from Crossroads. And the Panel is very familiar with Crossroads, as they assist a lot of women who are released on parole and provide a good program for them. And they usually provide some employment and substance abuse programming. And that's in Claremont, California, not too far from here. Okay, then it also indicates that you would possibly live with your friend Connie Turner, who has been your friend for a number of years. And we do have a letter from her indicating that. She lives in San Gabriel. And you do have some employment offers from Chaffey College and employment offer for a research assistant for Albert Urdinaz? Okay. And then we do have a letter from Dr. Donald Miller indicating that you would have employment. That he would give you a job. In the most recent letters that were just handed to me, we have a letter from your brother. And it says that they will be a support system to you. And it says that you're not a threat to anybody and already paid dearly for the running away at a young impressionable age into something way above her head. It says that you're a loved sister. And we have numerous letters that I won't go into them all. I've taken some examples, but they're from all over the U.S. of people that have read about you or have corresponded with you and know you in one way or the other. You've got so many papers here.
ATTORNEY DEVALL: I'm putting mine away slowly.
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: These came in in the 10-day packet and I'm assuming you got these, right, Ms. Devall? Okay. And we have a letter from Christopher Earl Harris. And he works for an Episcopal Church in Palm Desert, California. And he apparently met Ms. Van Houten through the incarceration of his sister; is that correct? And all of these letters reflect your accomplishments that you've made in prison. How you've reached out and helped others. We have a letter from Edward Baker who apparently is a small business owner. Allison Hearlbet (phonetic) and Steven Godfried. And then we have a letter from Michael Farquhar, F-A-R-Q-U-H-A-R, and he did a profile on you for the Washington Post and was very impressed with your remorse and forgiveness and the possibility of genuine rehabilitation. And you've continued your correspondence with him and telephone calls. And he feels that you are now a very genuinely good person. We have a letter from Nancy Hodenpratt (phonetic). She sent along a lot of pictures. She was somebody that you went to high school with. And she sends us pictures of the senior band and apparently she was a good friend of yours that stayed in contact with you over the years. And she sends along the high school pictures. We have Sister Suzanne Jabro. I'm just trying to see where they're located.
ATTORNEY DEVALL: Los Angeles.
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: Okay. And they will offer transitional support for you upon release. And they'll assist with your integration back into society. We have Action Committee for Women in Prison signed by Gloria Killian, executive director. It says she's known you for many years while you've been incarcerated. And then we have one that is a little angry.
ATTORNEY DEVALL: Some of them are a little sassy but Ms. Van Houten has nothing to do with those. She doesn't know her.
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: Yeah. And we have a letter from Elaine Brushank (phonetic) and she says please respond. Why won't you let them free? They have served over 35 years in prison. Yes, she was a little angry.
ATTORNEY DEVALL: Another impassioned citizen, but again.
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: Yeah, she lives in Illinois. And she sends us a cartoon.
ATTORNEY DEVALL: Yes, that was hard to figure out I think.
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: I'm not sure what it meant, but she thought it was appropriate. And then we have, okay, that is a duplicate of what we've already gone through. Okay. Do you have something else now that you wanted to bring to our attention?
ATTORNEY DEVALL: I don't. I just was going to say about Mr. Harris that was 15 years ago when Leslie helped -- I'm sorry. The interview where the Washington Post.
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: Yes, Farquhar?
ATTORNEY DEVALL: That was 15 years ago, yeah, that they were in contact. But she made such an impression that he still is writing.
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: That he wrote, yeah, okay. All right. Is he still with the Post?
ATTORNEY DEVALL: I don't think so. I think he did call me, but he's not with the Post anymore.
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: Okay. All right. What else did you want us to know about the parole plans? We do have the relapse -- report.
ATTORNEY DEVALL: The relapse plan.
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: Yeah. The book
ATTORNEY DEVALL: The book report.
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: That Commissioner Davis had suggested that she might do. And you chose Healing the Shame that Binds You. And he was concerned about your alcohol abuse and this apparently addresses all that and your dependency issue. And then your relapse prevention that I have read through, and it talks about the various programs that you've been involved in. And, of course, your number one thing is that you will get in contact with your sponsor. Does she have a sponsor now?
ATTORNEY DEVALL: Yes, she does. Wasn't there a letter? Robin Kebold (phonetic).
INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Yes.
ATTORNEY DEVALL: She wrote a letter. She's willing to be Leslie's sponsor. And then number one in the relapse prevention plan is a lady that Leslie knows that works with hospitals and prevention here and that's who Leslie is also planning to reach out to.
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: Okay. And, of course, you'll have Crossroads too.
ATTORNEY DEVALL: And that's her number one parole plan. That's what I was going to say. And they have a lot of programming.
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: Okay. All right. We do have letters in opposition. We have over 60 letters that were submitted today. And these again are from all over the U.S. indicating that they are opposed to the release, basically based on the commitment offense and the extreme savagery of it. And these were from Florida and talks about the victims of both of the crimes and particularly the LaBiancas and the mockery you made of your first trial.
ATTORNEY DEVALL: How horrible that was.
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: Uh-hmm. It didn't bring out much public sympathy. And, yeah, they're basically the same and they all express their opposition to you being released. As I indicated in the confidential folder, but as I recall, the opposing letters in this, well, this one is '09, and it's a lengthy letter and it goes through the details of the crime and indicates that Ms. Van Houten had an infamous temper, one that she had before she met Mr. Manson. And this is in the confidential so I don't want to divulge much of that, but now the rest of these letters that we have in here are decidedly older. But there is a lot of opposition out there too. We send out 3042 notices. Those go out to agencies that would have an interest in this hearing today. We did receive a letter from the sheriff's department indicating that this was not their case and to refer it to the Los Angeles Police Department, and we didn't receive a letter from the Los Angeles Police Department. We do have the Deputy District Attorney here and in response to those notices, we have victims' next-of-kin. So with that, I'll return to the Chair.
ATTORNEY DEVALL: Commissioner, may I add Leslie also wrote a letter. It was a letter statement to the LaBianca family. Would now be the time to have that read or when would be a time to get that into the record?
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: At closing statement (inaudible).
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: It's yours, Commissioner.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: I would just put on the record as it relates to the psychological evaluation my concern that this psychological evaluation, psychologist Carrera, I was disappointed in the lack of depth of this psychological evaluation as it related to Ms. Van Houten other than what Ms. Van Houten had to say. She pretty much told her what, just wrote down what Ms. Van Houten told her. It really didn't seem to explore to real significance some of those areas that certainly would have been of concern to this Panel. We'll move to, well, any clarifying questions that the DA may have of this Panel.
DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY SEQUEIRA: I would have a number of questions, but it's my understanding Ms. Van Houten is not going to answer questions, so.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: That's correct.
DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY SEQUEIRA: Then I would leave it at that.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: Counsel, questions?
ATTORNEY DEVALL: I don't have any, but Commissioner, could you specify the areas? You said there were some --
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: I'll further elaborate at a later time.
ATTORNEY DEVALL: Okay.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: All right, we'll move to closing statements by the DA.
DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY SEQUEIRA: Thank you. The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office respectfully asks this Panel to deny parole to Leslie Van Houten at this time for a number of reasons. First of all, there are numerous factors of unsuitability that are present within Ms. Van Houten's case. Starting first of all, she comes from an unstable social history. The record is quite clear with respect to her drug usage at an early age, her disaffection with her family, mother, father, and peers. By all accounts, she led a pretty normal average lifestyle. She had all of the benefits of a middle class upbringing. But yet she chose to throw those away, to use drugs, to become associated with negative influences in terms of boyfriends and things of that nature. And eventually she gravitated towards, you know, a lifestyle in which she was looking for, as I believe she described, the spiritual and idealistic lifestyle. And I point this out because when you look back at her unstable social history, it begins before she meets Charles Manson, before she joins the Family. In fact, in some of the earlier probation reports, it indicates that in high school, she wanted to join a group called the SFS, which I believe stands for Self-Mutilation Fellowship. She wanted to be a nun in this fellowship. The fellowship required that she wait a year after high school before she became a nun, so that's when she attended Sawyer Business College and later dropped out and moved up north and began associated with Bobby Beausoleil who also later became a Manson Family member as well, and was convicted in the murder of Gary Hinman which occurred a few weeks prior to the Tate-LaBianca murders. I point this out because there is a similarity between Ms. Van Houten and a number of the other Manson Family members, and that is this fascination for religion, this fascination for philosophy. Charles Manson was very much into Scientology at one state. Bruce Davis also was into Scientology. I see later on in prison that Tex Watson became a minister. Other Manson Family members have embraced religion or some form of religion or philosophy. And Ms. Van Houten's history not only prior to the commitment offense, during the commitment offense, but even after the commitment offense to this day seems to still hold a fascination for religion, for philosophy, and that's based upon her studies at Antioch College. Her degrees and the number of classes she's taken shows a continued fascination. And the reason I bring this up is because when you look at the Manson Family culture, this was a quasi religious group. This was a quasi religious group that obviously gravitated towards violence. A group that felt that a race war was inevitable between the blacks and the whites and that the Manson family intent began to facilitate this race war. They began practicing and preparing for Helter Skelter. They committed, you know, they went out and did missions. They dressed in dark clothing. They practiced sneaking up on people's homes. They talked about Helter Skelter on a constant basis and they felt that the Beatles were speaking to them through the White Album, basically telling of the inevitability of this revolution. And, of course, at the end of this revolution of a war between the blacks and the whites, the blacks would win. However, due to the inability of the blacks to handle this sudden ability to rule and govern, that Charles Manson and this inmate and the other Family members would emerge from the desert to offer to be the leaders. To offer to essentially rule the world. A certainly extremely far-fetched and almost unbelievable concept or motive. This is the generating motive. This is what caused the family to try to instigate this race war through the murders not only at the Tate residence but, of course, in this case in the LaBiancas. Now it may seem far-fetched that there is this fascination for religion, that there's this willingness to kill to spark further conflict and further violence, but in today's society, we can see examples of that all over. There are many people that are completely wed to philosophical, political and national fervor that they're willing to kill innocent people. That they're willing to sacrifice even themselves to blow themselves up or kill themselves to achieve a goal which many of us have difficulty understanding. And that is essentially the situation with Inmate Van Houten. It's very hard to understand how someone would want to participate in slaughtering and murdering random innocent people with the idea that you're going to start a race war. And that's what makes this crime much more horrifying than your typical murders. This goes beyond just being angry at somebody. It goes beyond a murder for financial gain. This is a hate crime, and that's a very significant factor that was even alluded to in one of the earlier Appellate Decisions in this case. But in addition to the brutal savagery and slaughter of Rosemary and Leno LaBianca, you also have the fact that there was a multiple murder, that they broke into their residence so this was a robbery/murder, an residential burglary/murder. These are all special circumstances that elevate this case beyond your typical murder, your typical situation that we see many times in these lifer hearings. And now going back to Ms. Van Houten's history. I want to go back to now she's joined with Mr. Beausoleil and this group. They then become involved with Charles Manson at the Ranch. This is something that she willingly joined with. She willingly joined this group and although it may be said, it has been said many times that this was just a group of people that fell under the spell of Charles Manson, that he had such mind control, he had such a force and presence that he turned all of these people into mindless robots to follow his bidding. But it's also very clear from the record that the people that were at the Ranch, the so-called Manson Family were a number of different people. They were people that came and went on a regular basis. There were people who were part of that commune who did not embrace the philosophy of murder and violence, who did not go out and participate in violent crimes. It's true that many of the family members were involved in some petty crimes in order to survive. Stealing, taking food from trash, automobiles, credit card theft, that type of thing. But there was only a very small core group that actually completely bought in and agreed to join in this concept of murder for the purpose of starting a race war. And this inmate was one of those people. In fact, this inmate has admitted to that on various occasions. I mean, she's mentioned the fact that she saw Charles Manson as a quasi religious figure, as Jesus Christ, as Satan. She willingly not only embraced this philosophy but when asked by Charles Manson prior to the LaBianca murders if she could kill for him, she thought about it, she waited, and she said yes, she could. And although she was not along with the murder crew that brutally slaughtered the residents at Cielo Drive, the Tate murders, she was extremely disappointed that she wasn't asked to go along. She felt rejected by not being able to go along on a murdering spree where five people and an unborn fetus were brutally slaughtered. Now it's been -- But yet the next night she was asked to go along. And she was asked to go along and she willingly made the preparations, the change of clothes, the organization with the other individuals and all of them got into a car. All of them meaning, I believe there's a total of seven, Inmate Van Houten, Inmate Krenwinkel, Tex Watson, Charles Manson, Steve Grogan, Linda Kasabian was driving the car, and Susan Atkins. Now they drove around for several hours looking for victims. Looking for a target. They went to a church, but no one was home. They went to another location, but they saw some pictures of children and Charles Manson decided at that point that at some point children needed to die, but not this particular night. They finally settled on the LaBianca house. Now the facts are quite clear as to what happened. Charles Manson and Tex Watson went in and tied up Rosemary and Leno LaBianca. But what is also listed in some of this is this was just one part of a killing crew because Charles Manson, Linda Kasabian and Steve Grogan left to look for more victims. Now when they did leave -- Also I need to add this in too, when they did leave, they took Rosemary LaBianca's wallet with them. And they went to a gas station in what they believed to be a black neighborhood. And the idea in the women's restroom, Linda Kasabian was told to stash the wallet of Rosemary LaBianca in this restroom. And the idea behind it was being a black neighborhood, a black woman would come into that restroom. They would find Rosemary LaBianca's wallet which contained credit cards and money. I think it was just credit cards at that point. I think they may have removed the money. But in any event, would take the credit cards, use the credit cards and later be blamed for the slaughters at the LaBianca residence. This was all part of the plan. This was all part of his desire to ignite and start a race war. And after that occurred, the trio, Ms. Atkins, Linda Kasabian, and Charles Manson went to look for other victims. They drove down to the beach. They settled, at one point they thought of killing a random motorist on the street but didn't do it. They then went to an apartment house where Ms. Kasabian had been on a previous occasion and she had met someone. And Charles Manson decided that was a good target. So they went to the apartment complex. Ms. Kasabian deliberately led them to the wrong floor so when they knocked on the door in the very early hours of the morning, a stranger opened the door and wouldn't let them in and so they had to abort the mission. This is the background of what transpired on that night of the LaBianca murders. They were not just the killers at the LaBianca residence, but there was also this other hit team that was out to further cause panic, mayhem, and violence to the citizens of Los Angeles County. Now the savagery and brutality of the murders, Mrs. LaBianca was stabbed 42 times, 16 times by the admission of Ms. Van Houten herself. Eight fatal stab wounds, many of those stab wounds were in the back. Leno LaBianca was brutally stabbed numerous times over 10 or 15 times in the stomach alone with a carving fork. A carving fork that was imbedded and left in his body so deep that it actually went all the way to the junction of the two tines of the carving fork. And a knife was left stuck in his throat as well. And on top of that, as if that wasn't sufficient enough, to further show savagery and mutilate the body, the word war, W-A-R, was carved into his chest, excuse me, his stomach area. Mrs. LaBianca was in a bedroom and had to listen to her husband being savagely killed or stabbed at that point by Charles Tex Watson. She struggled for her life. And when she struggled, this inmate helped hold her down and was involved significantly in making sure that she was stabbed and killed. Now the inmate has given numerous stories over the years with respect to her participation in the actual murders. She has at times defined herself as being a reluctant participant. She has said that when she stabbed Rosemary LaBianca 16 times, Ms. LaBianca was already dead. She was just stabbing a corpse. Yet she also tells a witness at the trial, Ms. Moorehouse, that the more she stabbed, the more fun it was. That's hard to reconcile sort of reluctantly stabbing someone as just kind of an afterthought as if it were something to just show that you're participating. And then yet describing that as a frenzy where you're deliberately stabbing someone 16 times. And that's part of the problem that this inmate presents to the Board is that there are these inconsistent statements. There are these instances of minimization of her role in this crime. And the inconsistencies are many. There are a couple of hearings in the '90s, for example, when she said she didn't watch what Tex and Katie Watson, excuse me, Patricia Krenwinkel were doing in the bedroom. In other words, she looked away at the crucial points where she claims Ms. LaBianca was killed by Tex Watson and Patricia Krenwinkel. And that's from the 1991 hearing. At that same hearing, she said that she believed that Ms. LaBianca was dead at this point after he stabbed her. She also claims that she was asked to mutilate the bodies but she couldn't do it. She says she doesn't remember putting the pillowcase over Ms. LaBianca's head, but she said she probably did. I think from the Appellate Decision it appears that the conclusion of the Appellate Court was that she did, in fact, put a pillowcase over Ms. LaBianca's head, but she goes back and forth with respect to the pillowcase. And then in 1996, at her hearing, she said that she was definitely certain that Tex had killed Ms. LaBianca before she stabbed Ms. LaBianca in the back. She also gives the familiar refrain that I've heard in other hearings with other Family members that Tex handed her the knife and said do something before she stabbed her. Again, these are all a way of minimizing one's responsibility for the crime by looking away, by not wanting to mutilate the bodies, by not wanting to write in the victim's blood the word war or Helter Skelter or death to pigs. But yet what do we know that she actually did? We do know that after the murders, she meticulously cleaned up the residence, wiped it completely clean of fingerprints. And then she and the others drank some chocolate milk, ate some cheese from the residence, changed clothes, because their clothes were bloody, left the residence, hitchhiked back to the Ranch, burned the clothes and took the money. All of these facts in and of itself show a willful, deliberate, premeditated murder. This was something that was planned and it was carried out. There were numerous times through different hearings where there seems to be a suggestion by Ms. Van Houten that this was not all that planned. That she was just kind of along for the ride. There's the discussion of her being under the influence of LSD, which she told one of the psychologists in an earlier hearing that she was on LSD at the time. And that transpired throughout a number of these hearings, but yet finally there's an admission that she was not under the influence of drugs. In fact, none of the family members were under the influence of drugs when they committed this crime. And that's consistent with Charlie Manson wanting this particular crime to go much smoother than the slaughter the night before at the Tate residence where it got really messy. Nevertheless, the explanations given by Ms. Van Houten over the years as to what caused her to commit the crimes, this first of all blaming it on Charles Manson, blaming it upon his ability to control her, these are all themes that keep coming up. And the latest one that I've seen in the most recent psychological report is that now that her mother encouraging her to have an abortion was the traumatic trigger that caused her to later become a mass murderer. And I'm having a hard time understanding that. I'm having a hard time understanding even how usage of a lot of LSD or any drugs would cause somebody to become a mass murderer. I haven't seen a lot of studies that show that there's a direct correlation between any of that. There are many people with drug problems who do not commit violent crimes. There are many young women who are forced or feel compelled to have abortions that don't go on to join a quasi religious group and commit murders, savage murders. The motive for the crime is inexplicable. It is as mentioned before far-fetched and inconceivable. Multiple victims were included obviously but beyond the two victims at the LaBianca residence, there's also the motive which was to cause even further violence, to cause a race war to break out, for blacks and whites to become angry with each other over the slaughter at the LaBianca residence and to kill and hurt each other, which now extends this beyond just a savage murder of two individuals but something that was designed to really spark further violence in society. In looking at the psychological evaluation -- Well, then, let me first look to her behavior after she was arrested. If you look through some of Inmate Van Houten's statements over the years, it would seem to suggest that she was just in shock over all this and that there might have been some sign of remorse or some sign that she really regretted what she had done. Far from the contrary. After she was arrested, she and the others caused disruptions during their trial. There are movie clips that I've seen, I'm sure everyone has seen, of the three girls holding hands dancing and singing down the courthouse, inside the courthouse, on the way to the courtroom. The disruptions within the courtroom where they had to be physically restrained by the bailiffs. The outbursts when the death penalty was first announced as to all of them. And, of course, the famous carving of the X on her forehead and the shaving of her head, which even the psychiatrists have noted was a sign of rebellion, a sign that they have basically X'd themselves out of the world. That they are no longer part of society. And furthermore, her explanations to the psychiatrist when she first came to prison with respect to why she participated in the crimes and what motivated her use of, I'm looking first of all at Dr. Coburn's report in 1971. He writes on page -- I think it's the last page of his report, the last paragraph, her own individual, speaking about Inmate Van Houten, her own individual rage and capability for violence was in tune with the action and provided her with an immediate sense of release. She stated that after the murders had been committed, she was in the house that a, quote, "immense drudge (sic) had been lifted and everything was lighter," unquote. She also related feeling vaguely that they had done something right and the fact that there was a dog in the house and that the dog looked like he was smiling and licked their hands supported this. And this is the mentality of this inmate. This is her attitude towards the crime that she had committed. And Dr. Coburn goes on to say her character structure and value system is so at odds with society and appears so deeply ingrained in her that it is difficult to see a true change as ever occurring. She views herself as now even more capable of committing similar offenses than in the past. And this probably is not just bravado. There is also in the report from Dr. Fishman also in 1971, he's discussing, this was actually a joint interview with Van Houten and Krenwinkel, but he talks about the two girls talking about their truce. And this is in the first page of the report. It says they both tended to expose and argue their truth. This, quote, "truth," unquote, encompassed a more or less integrated system of conceptualization and intellectualizations with a strong mystic religious flavor. Example, quote, "Life is death and death is life. One is at the establishment or murdering thousands in Vietnam. All people are our children and we are children of everyone," et cetera, et cetera. Both girls, quote, "know that they know, while others are confused and don't know that they don't know," unquote. They acknowledge that according to the other truth which is not the truth, they are guilty of murder but claim that, quote, "According to their truth which is the truth, they are innocent," unquote. Dr. Fishman goes on to say that it appears that this tribe, referring to the Manson Family, developed its own peculiar ideology, lifestyle, semantics and vocabulary which impregnated the psychology of the core of its members. And he goes on to say in his second page, he goes, small esoteric, secretive radically nonconforming sectarian groups oriented towards mysticism that shocked with their beliefs and deeds which surrounds society are well known in history. Frequently witchcraft, blasphemy, murder, sexual deviancy, et cetera, of these groups played a functional role in the psychology of some of their members, satisfied certain pathological needs or expressed certain latent tendencies. In other cases, however, the radical deviation from the standard norms was nothing else than role playing performed by, quote, "normal," unquote, and psychiatrically little or not at all disturbed individuals (for example the German SS men who murdered thousands because the leader order it and the ideology justified it). And you see that pattern with respect to Inmate Van Houten that basically there were people being killed in Vietnam that these people, meaning the LaBiancas and the residents that were murdered at the Tate house, were all pigs. That they deserved to die. They just needed a good whacking as the line from the Beatles song goes. And this is the attitude that this inmate had that not only did she commit these horrible murders, she reveled in it. She flaunted her nose at society, and part of that philosophy was they believed the race war was going to happen. So even though they were incarcerated. Even though they were given the death penalty, eventually they were all going to be freed. This race war was going to happen, and they would escape. So they didn't care. To them they didn't do anything wrong. This was all part of the philosophy. This was necessary. You know, I note that with respect to Ms. Van Houten's acceptance of responsibility for the crime, that even in the most recent psychological evaluation in 2004 she also makes the statement that Tex murdered the two of them. Again, trying to deflect responsibility from her own actions in this crime. And I find that that's really significant because, you know, there's this pattern. She chooses not to speak today. She's spoken a few times in the past. She chose not to speak about the commitment offense, and she certainly doesn't have to. That's her prerogative. It's her choice. And just as though she's not speaking about the rest of her crimes as well, I mean the rest of her factors of suitability or unsuitability. But nevertheless, the real question that arises with respect to this inmate becomes who does this? Who joins this group knowing that this group, this family has brutally slaughtered people at the Tate residence, then chooses to go along and join in the slaughter. Now there's been numerous explanations about drugs, about Charlie, about the parents, about abortions, but the bottom line is that there is just something about this woman. There is something inherently, a part of her, that caused her to gravitate towards this quasi religious, cultist devotion to the point where she was willing to cross a heavy line and become involved in some brutal savage murders. Lastly, with respect to, obviously, she's done a fair amount of programming while in prison. She's managed to stay disciplinary free. She has some parole plans. There has been some questions in the past and questions that I've raised and other Panels have raised regarding her dependence upon and her attraction to negative influences. And that was discussed not only in the realm of substance abuse but also just in the realm of interpersonal relationships. And I noticed that through the history that we have her associating and making poor choices, not only just the entire circumstances of the commitment offense, but we also have poor choices with respect to the person she married and poor choices from then on. I note that her career roles have been formulated along with some plans in the past, at least at the least hearing. And I know a current job offer outstanding to basically work as a paralegal for inmates. One job offer is from a man who is a convicted lifer himself, who was released by a court order. Another job offer of a couple years ago with an inmate defense attorney. And the Panel at the last hearing expressed some concern whether these were truly the types of environments that this inmate should focus on if she were to get a parole date. And if she is so weak, if she is so easily manipulated by negative influence, it would seem to me that you would fashion a parole plan that would take you far away from criminals, from drug users, and from being not only representing but even having any close contact with those types of individuals. And I don't quite see that. I know there is a job offer outstanding as an assistant (inaudible) professor at (inaudible) college but also again a professor of psychology. Again, this fascination with philosophy and psychology continues with this inmate. You would think that at some point in her life, that maybe she would turn away from these areas that have caused her problems in the past, but she doesn't seem to do that. Nevertheless, in looking at the entire circumstances involving the savagery of the LaBianca murders, this inmate's involvement in antisocial lifestyles, all of the factors of unsuitability which are very much highlighted and dramatized in this particular case and weighing that against the factors of suitability, it is The People's position that the factors of unsuitability far, far outweigh -- excuse me, the factors of unsuitability far, far and away outweigh any factors of suitability. And I would ask the Panel to deny parole to Inmate Van Houten (inaudible). Thank you.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: Thank you. Counsel, closing statement.
ATTORNEY DEVALL: Thank you.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: Do you need a brief recess?
ATTORNEY DEVALL: No, I'm okay. I'm just taking a few minutes to gather my final last thoughts. I would before turning to the many factors that Ms. Van Houten satisfies under the Code, I would first like to address some of the concerns raised by the District Attorney's office. And these are recurring concerns. Many of them steeped -- Not many of them, by and large the concerns are steeped in history. The psych reports that go back to 1971. The immutable facts of the life crime. And I'd like to just shed some light on some of the concerns raised by the District Attorney's office and also to directly rebut some of the things that were said. Now first there was this idea set forth that Ms. Van Houten is saying that Tex made me do this. And repeatedly there has been from the District Attorney's office an emphasis on this idea that maybe Ms. Van Houten is trying to say she was not really a willing participant or all this is an accident. And these assertions are not borne out by the record. Taking a look at the 2004 hearing transcript, the Panel asked directly, did you choose to go along. Was this your choice? And she said yes. That's very sad, but, of course, it is the reason that we're here. Also looking at the recent psychological report, taking a look at page 10 and going on to page 11, Ms. Van Houten says I am morally and legally responsible for the deaths of Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. The psychologist notes that Ms. Van Houten did not make excuses for her behavior nor did she attribute her choices to outside influences. So for some time now, we've had Ms. Van Houten accepting responsibility for the life crime. This idea that there are differing versions of the story set forth is not accurate. At the 2006 hearing, there was quite an issue made because Dr. Smith's report said that Ms. Van Houten and her codefendants committed the life crime and they were on LSD. And Dr. Smith actually writes an addendum and sets the record straight. And he says Leslie Van Houten never told me that she was taking LSD on the day of the life crime. Taking a look at the Central File, it's abundantly clear that Ms. Van Houten has never used drugs as a crutch or a reason to justify this life crime. And she's never claimed to be on LSD. It appears that some of the codefendants were. I know Tex Watson was high on speed and other drugs. But this is Leslie Van Houten's parole hearing. And she never said that she was on LSD at the time of the life crime. And that is certainly true and consistent since 1978, when the forensic experts began to take note of the tremendous change. You know, the District Attorney's office set forth one really good inquiry. What kind of a person would do something like this? I think that's a very fair inquiry. If you take a look at the first trial, if you take a look at the reports from '71, you see what kind of a person would commit a crime like this. But if you look back now for some 30 plus years, that's three decades, you see nothing short of consistent and true change and reform. I'd also like to talk just a little bit more about some of the other concerns that were set forth by the District Attorney's office because, like I said, they're consistent. Some of the language that we heard, we heard him mention more than once of the Tate murders. At the '07 hearing, the word terrorism was introduced. And I think this language is inflammatory. I think this is intended to invoke an emotion. This is a hard case. All of these cases are bad, but this is a terrible case. Fortunately the case law gives us a new mandate. The case law tells us to look to current facts, current scenarios, current psychological reports to look at who is sitting before you today and assessing whether or not this person is suitable for parole. Surely if we relied on the facts of the life crime or the first trial or the '71 reports, Ms. Van Houten would not be found suitable for parole. But if we were to take a look at the three decades of reform, at the 20 some psychological reports that speak favorably, I think that the law mandates a different conclusion. There was also maybe some stretching going on. I wanted to first, the Panel raised a concern about Mr. Vine's correspondence. First I'd point out that that correspondence ended in the early '90s. And that was strictly platonic. Mr. Vine was married, so it wasn't a romantic relationship. But from the District Attorney I did hear some concerns about the marriage that took place in the '80s and how that was a bad choice and how it's evidence of continued bad choices. But not so. I think if you're looking at the latter part of the '80s, well, first of all, how quickly she terminated that marriage when she thought something was up. That was one thing she couldn't do with Manson. That was the one thing she didn't know how to do was walk away. And I'll talk about that because Leslie goes into that at the '04 hearing transcripts and the '06 hearing transcripts. She talks about not having the tools. If you ever want to test a person, you've got to give them some real life, you know, to play these tests out. That marriage was a great example. As soon as she smelled a rat, she was out of there. That marriage didn't last seven months. I think that's another factor to be considered in favor of Leslie's parole. That and the fact that the marriage was in the '80s. I mean, we all make mistakes. She was 32 then. Now she's 61. It's a long time to have passed, and clearly she's learned from it. The most important thing that I'd like to stress before I move on to the factors that Ms. Van Houten satisfies is that opposition to parole is steeped in historical factors. Ms. Van Houten and I will be the first people in this room to submit to the horrific nature of those facts, but the record clearly and unequivocally demonstrates continued commitment to change, reform, and rehabilitation over the course of several decades and from one hearing to the next. Taking a look at the suitability factors that Ms. Van Houten satisfies in this case, I would first like to state for the record that Ms. Van Houten is, of course, entitled to individual consideration. Of course, Leslie Van Houten was one of the members of the Manson cult. That is in part why we're here. That's a factor that, of course, can't be denied. But I would note that as recently as 2007, Charles Manson was receiving bad psych reports. No big surprise there. As recently as 2000, Dr. McDaniel, who evaluated Leslie twice gives Leslie favorable low risk psych reports. He evaluated Susan Atkins, one of the codefendants, and he found elevations in her risk to recidivate. And I say that to say that Leslie was not only the youngest person involved in these life crimes, but taking a look at Leslie as she compares to other individuals who had a major role in these crimes, who were there on both nights, she has received far better psychological reports and it has been consistent. So I'd ask the Panel to bear that in mind. Even though these are horrible crimes, Leslie Van Houten stands out as one of the individuals involved in this nightmare that has impressed multiple forensic experts, multiple corrections officers, those that came in contact with her and other people involved with the Manson group. And I think that that speaks volumes because you do ask yourself who could be involved in something like this, and when you look at Leslie's record and you look at the record of the other people that were involved, they didn't get it, some of them will never get it, some of them never did get it, but Leslie got it and the light came on quickly. It came on very soon once she was alienated from the group. And I think another key issue to be addressed is the fact that the first trial everyone was convicted. They were given the death penalty. The law changed, they got new trials. The second trial was a hung jury. The reason for that is that Leslie not only had started to wake up upstairs, not only started to change in her heart, but she was not tried with the other defendants in the case. There was an individual consideration given to Leslie and that is why the trial resulted in a hung jury. The third time around, the prosecution introduced felony murder, premeditation did not need to be proven, and so a conviction did lie and rightfully so. But I think what's important is the fact that when Leslie wasn't grouped in with everyone else, when she was looked at as an individual, it was much more difficult. And I'm about to give you some of the reasons why. First I did submit for the Panel going back to 1978 the highlights of the psychological reports, which have been overwhelmingly favorable. I don't think a lot of people can walk through the door and say that since 1978 they've consistently been given low risk psychological reports. Since 1975, they have been consistently found by staff and forensic experts to be moving in the right direction, to be maturing, to be genuine and sincere. Taking a look at the 2010 report, the doctor notes that since the early '70s, there is a general consensus among evaluators that she does not, Ms. Van Houten does not meet the criteria for either Axis I or II diagnosis. The doctor notes the unanimous consensus that Ms. Van Houten is in the very low to low range to recidivate. The doctor finds that Leslie has achieved significant insight into herself, the psychosocial precursors to her disenchantment with society, her decision to join the Manson subculture, and it was a decision, and she said that repeatedly. And she's talked about the shame that that choice, that decision, has caused her. And the doctor notes that she's also gained insight into her choice to participate in the life crime. The doctor notes again demonstrated good insight. Finding that Ms. Van Houten can, quote, "draw a clear line from her childhood through her parents' divorce, her experimentation with drugs, traumatic abortion, estrangement from her parents, the influence by Manson, and the life crime." That is insight. That is insight. The ability to take these things that happened to other people that doesn't cause them to react the same way. Combine them all up and look at how it led you to this point in time. The doctor notes that Leslie has been drug free since '76 and that she's at a reduced risk for relapse in the community. The doctor notes that coping skills and judgment are good. No Axis II diagnosis Under the PCL-R and the level of service inventory, she scored lower than 94, 95 percent of the population sampled. Then, of course, overall a low risk to recidivate. In 2007, the doctor found that there was no Axis I or II diagnosis, that Ms. Van Houten accepts responsibility for her actions, and evidences guilt and remorse. Low on the PCL-R, low on the HCR-20. In 2006, very low to low under the HCR-20, notes that a risk of return to substance abuse is considered low because of the life of sobriety and extensive education and self-help. Finds that there is a significantly better than average chance of succeeding on parole. So we have three different psychologists that have administered the testing that the Board uses now, PCL-R, the HCR-20 and repeatedly by different doctors over an extended period of time on the objective testifying Leslie Van Houten has scored low. Going back to 2004, the doctor notes that Leslie acknowledges responsibility and opines that Leslie would not be dangerous if released to the community. In 2002, again the doctor concludes that Leslie would not be dangerous if released to the community. In 2000, insight continues to be highly developed into the origins of her behavior. Notes expressions of remorse. Opines that Ms. Van Houten would not be -- sorry, Ms. Van Houten would not be dangerous if released to society. Then in 2000, there was a private report done by a cult expert. Her name is Dr. Smith. If the Panel doesn't have it, I have a copy available. On pages 5 through 7, the doctor goes through the six stages of the cult process used by the cult leader. At page 8, she discusses -- I'm sorry, you're right, Dr. Singer not Dr. Smith. Page 8, the doctor discusses the use of sexual freedom as a tool. Page 10 finds that the Manson family was a cult. Talks about the importance of the use of mind altering drugs and the indoctrination process. Notes that since '78, she has been consistently evaluated to pose a low risk of danger to society. Notes that at the time that she met Manson, Ms. Van Houten was cut off from financial sources, housing and emotionally immature. All of this the doctor finds was exacerbated by the drug use. She notes that Manson was very controlling and that the members of the cult were under his control. Then she notes Leslie's feelings of guilt and remorse in relation to the life crime. At page 20, the doctors notes the change in Ms. Van Houten noting that there is currently no indication that she could ever become involved in cult activity again or with any persons or person that would harm her or others in the future. In '99, '98, '96 we have the psychological reports by Dr. McDaniel. Again, he's the doctor that evaluated one of the codefendants and he did not conclude in the same way. But about Leslie, over the course of the three reports, he states that -- Well, first the reports grow increasingly favorable. He talks about the insight that she has into her life and drugs. And that this insight is highly developed. He notes expressions of remorse and empathy for the victims. If released, indicators suggest that she would comply with the rules of society and he notes the decreased violence potential. In 1999, again she was evaluated by two private psychologists from UCLA. They note her insight at page 14. They administered some of the same testing that the Board uses. She scored well in all the testing. They note expressions of guilt and remorse since the second trial. And I think that's very important. Going back very early, we see, like I said, as soon as she was extricated from this group, as soon as she had time to think and reflect, as soon as she had time to engage in the programming and therapy, we saw the remorse. This report concludes that she is a viable candidate for parole. In '93, the forensic expert notes that she is improving her attempts to understand her life crime and take responsibility for it. I think that's also important because when you have a crime like this, you're not going to get it all at once. I think it's good to have indicators from forensic experts over the course of Ms. Van Houten's incarceration that show the progress. In '91, the doctor notes in discussing the life crime that she was both tearful and ashamed. Judgment and insight are good. Significant remorse for the crime. She's committed to rehabilitation. And the doctor in '91 finds that Ms. Van Houten is no threat to society and asks that she be given every consideration for parole. In '89, the doctor notes her remorse and opines that she will not become involved in drug use again, asks that she be given every consideration for parole. In '88 and '87, violence potential very low compared to the norms of society. Notes the maturity. Notes the remorse. In '85, the doctor says that she's a well rounded adult who would never allow herself to be involved in antisocial behavior again. In '82, it is estimated that she will no longer be a danger to the community if released. In '81, evaluated by two separate doctors, two separate reports, I'm sorry, the same report, two separate doctors, violence potential estimated to be below average, prognosis for successful parole is good. Then in '78, we see the big turnaround. And in '78, '76, and '75, we also have positive reports which note insight and maturity. And they also conclude that violence potential is average and low. So again we don't see records like this often. This is something that can't be faked. You can't fool everybody and certainly not for this long. This is especially true of the corrections officers and the counselors that have written favorable chronos in this case. Going very specifically to the Board reports, which are favorable. They're favorable going back to 1981. The '81 Board report by Ms. Van Houten's counselor notes the positive attitude and maturity. The '82 Board report talks about acceptance of responsibility, which evolved even further from that point on. In '85, prognosis for parole is good. In '86, notes Ms. Van Houten's intelligence, ability to accept her past with remorse and coping skills. And also concludes that prognosis for parole is good. In '87, notes the horrendous nature of the crime. Then focuses on the program and development. Also concludes that prognosis for parole is favorable. In '89, the counselor notes that Ms. Van Houten has done everything asked, exceeded expectations. And that a prognosis for parole is good. In 1991, the counselor concludes that Ms. Van Houten would pose a low degree of threat. In 1993, the counselor concludes that Ms. Van Houten would pose a low degree of threat. In 1996, '98, and '99, the counselors, multiple counselors conclude that Ms. Van Houten would not pose a threat if released. In 2000, the report notes that the negative personal factors have been ameliorated with the years of positive programming and concludes that Ms. Van Houten would be a low degree of threat. In 2002, concludes that Ms. Van Houten would be a low degree of threat. In 2004, the counselor's report concludes that Ms. Van Houten is mature, remorseful, and insightful and would pose a low degree of threat if released. And, of course, that was the last year when counselors were allowed to make those assessments. So again, we have experts, a different kind of expert. People who are experts in working with these men and women in corrections all day long. We see nothing in the numerous Board reports that would speak to unsuitability and, in fact, the Board report like much of the file speaks to the contrary, speaks to Ms. Van Houten's suitability. Of course, there are many positive chronos. Ms. Van Houten has marketable job skills. Thirty years of clerical experience which she's currently employed in the field and then, I shouldn't say in the field, but currently employed and engaged in this skill set. And also she has a completed vocation in data processing. And then she has the educational upgrades. She has the bachelor's degree and she's currently working on her master's degree. The self-help. There is self-help of every kind. The self-help taken in this case speaks to remediation. A substance abuse programming, Emotions Anonymous, Al-Anon, relapse prevention, individual and group therapy, victim's impact and reconciliation programming. So again, the self-help also is a factor to be considered favorably. The work reports have all been above average to exceptional. Again, this is from free staff that works with inmates, regularly they come to know these people. These aren't just average reports, but generally they are exceptional and above average. And that says a lot about Ms. Van Houten as well. As far as prior hearings go, I would note, of course, Ms. Van Houten has complied with all the requests of prior hearings. Going back to the very first hearing which was in 1980, the District Attorney's office was there and that was Mr. Kay. And Mr. Kay at that time said or he indicated that one day Ms. Van Houten would probably be suitable for parole. But back in 1980, he said the change is good but it's just too soon. And I can certainly understand that position. Now, of course, we have three more decades of exemplary conduct and reform. So we can't be saying that more time is needed to observe Ms. Van Houten. That is contrary not only to common sense, but also to the case law which I'll get to in a minute. The disciplinary record, again, both outstanding and amazing. And, you know, it's interesting because you have around the time of the life crime, these contacts with law enforcement. Then you have the life crime which was horrible. And then you have Ms. Van Houten comes to prison and she's able to slowly open her eyes. She's able to stop engaging and some of the minor things that we see early on in the Board reports and whatnot, and we see by looking at that disciplinary record that this is who she is. She's changed. She can follow the rules. She doesn't need to live with drugs. All of that is reflected in the disciplinary report. The prior record, I would note, of course, there's no assaultive juvenile history which is a factor to be considered favorably. We talked about some of the early contacts. None of those were convictions. And gain it's all, I think, part of what contributes to this life crime and the poor choices that Ms. Van Houten made some 40 years ago now. Parole plans, again I'd like to comment on one of the concerns that the District Attorney's office raised. First I know that defense attorneys are, unfortunately, at the bottom of the barrel, I know that. But these letters written from the paralegal services, from defense attorneys, these were unsolicited. And just like a lot of the letters here for and against, nobody asked people to write them. When people come in contact with Ms. Van Houten, I certainly got lots of phone calls with people asking, you know, what can I do. So a lot of this is unsolicited. Ms. Van Houten knows what is right for her, and that's why Crossroads is her first choice. And I think that's another decision that reflects her maturity. She has multiple offers of employment, multiple offers of housing, and the job skills to go out in the world and take care of herself. And so I think that that requirement under the law is also satisfied. That leaves us then with two areas. And that is the life crime and this nebulous factor that's very hard to catch in a cup that of insight, remorse, and acceptance of responsibility. First I'd like to address the life crime. As I said and as many people have said before me, the facts of that crime won't change. I would ask the Panel to consider her age at the time of the life crime, which Roper and Rosenkrantz tell us is a factor to be consideration in mitigation. And her current age of 61, which Title 15 tells us is a factor to be considered in favor of parole. I would also note that in 1977, when Leslie was out on bail, she was released by the trial judge because he found that she was fit for bail. The trial judge in '77 didn't think that Leslie was still dangerous. I think that's very important because the trial judge heard evidence from all sides for many days. He heard the good. He heard factors that could be considered in mitigation. He observed Leslie then and he observed her in '77 and concluded that she was okay to be released on bond. So I'd ask the Panel to consider that. I would also like the Panel to consider that this crime comes about from a set of circumstances that is unlikely to recur. First of all, Leslie was 19 year old at the time of the crime. She chose to experiment with drugs which the multiple forensic experts say she's very unlikely to use drugs again and she has a very comprehensive relapse prevention plan, so we have her age, we have the drug use, and then we have her involvement with Manson. Now Manson was 14 years her senior. He was a pimp. He was a criminal. He spent about two decades in prison. And he had a knack for finding lost, young people and manipulating them. And the record makes that clear. I have some documentation from the Treasury Department where they've written to Leslie and asked her to come and talk about cults and cult influence because Charles Manson was a master manipulator. The facts that came together at the time of the life crime could never realign themselves. I would also note that there are several cases where we have a very unfortunate, of course, each case is different, but there is some precedent for a finding of suitability when you have bad crimes and you have multiple victims, Barker, that's a very well known case. That was a triple murder. Danny Murray, we have four dead there. Bruce Davis, one of the Manson Family members who was found suitable for parole earlier this year. Squeaky Fromme was released in 2009, of course, she attempted to assassinate the President. So we have other people associated not only with Manson who have been released or found suitable because they have, like Ms. Van Houten, demonstrated a commitment to change and reform, but we also have precedent in other cases where you have bad facts, but after the passage of time the courts or the Board has found them suitable for parole. And the point that I'm making here is that people can and they do change. That leaves me then with insight. And I would just like to direct the Panel's attention to the 2007 psychological, I'm sorry, the 2007 hearing transcript. Starting at pages 29 through 33, where Ms. Van Houten goes into great detail about her insight and remorse. She talks about her drug use. Again, at page 78 through page 85, Ms. Van Houten talks about insight. She talks about remorse and step eight very specifically at page 84. And also, and I think this is really important, starting at page 80, she talks about why she didn't leave. She talks about the tools that she didn't have then that she has now. Directing the Panel's attention to the 2006 Board hearing, I would ask that the Panel take a look at page 46 through 48 where Ms. Van Houten talks about relapse prevention and the 12 steps. And also I would direct the Panel's attention to page 49 through 51 where Ms. Van Houten goes through and she talks about her insight into codependency. I think that's also very important. And then finally for the 2004 hearing transcript, if the Panel would take a look at pages 16 through 18. Ms. Van Houten talks in detail and it's very sad about the fact that she was a willing participant in this crime. Because I think sometimes that is glossed over or there's this notion put forth that Ms. Van Houten is saying something other than these are my choices. I participating in this, there was something wrong with me, but she really lays it out at the '04 hearing. There's also further insight given into why she made these horrible choices starting at page 22 and ending on page 24 and then page 25 she goes into why she can't blame anyone or anything else. She can't blame and doesn't blame Tex Watson or Charles Manson, exactly like the 2010 psych report says in 2004, page 25, she says no, it was me. Page 53 through page 56, she talks about the fact that she was a monster. She talks about some of the personal issues that she had at the time of the life crime. Then finally starting on page 56 through 57, Ms. Van Houten goes into how she's changed and the tools that she has developed to cope with life on the outside and life here on the inside. And then again at page 62, she talks about her remorse which is well documented. I know this is a very, very difficult case. The thing that makes this case so hard is not just the life crime. That's tough. That's horrible. But then you have the salt on the wound because of the behavior that the perpetrators of the crime exhibited after. And I certainly understand after ten years, 20, 30, how somebody who commits a crime like this can be denied parole. Now as we approach Leslie's 60th decade in life, her 40th decade incarcerated, in light of the recent case law, both Lawrence and Shaputis, the federal court cases, Pearson, Hayward, they all say the same thing. When you have a record before you of reform and rehabilitation, the facts of the life crime don't control absent some nexus to current dangerousness. This is a case where it is unequivocal, there is nothing in the record that speaks to current dangerousness. Expert after expert both forensic experts and correctional officers have repeatedly vouched for Leslie. She's been evaluated objectively with the Board's testing. People have set forth their subjective opinions, raw observations. Back in 1980, you had her counselor come to the prison to the parole hearing and speak on her behalf. This record is just replete with examples of change and reform. And I know it's hard and it's horrible when you see that people are still hurting. It's hard for me. I know it's hard for this Board. It's hard for Leslie. It's hard for everyone involved, but the law gives a clear mandate when not five, not ten, but 15 psychological experts find that an inmate is a low risk to recidivate and a good candidate for parole, when you have repeatedly the state courts and the federal courts calling for a nexus, talking about years of reform and the fact that the life crime doesn't control when you have this type of rehabilitation, I think it's very clear that in this case, because Ms. Van Houten is clearly rehabilitated, because the record speaks for itself and the bad facts are all related to the life crime, Ms. Van Houten unequivocally has earned a parole date if ever one has been earned in a case like this where the facts will always hurt but the individual has proven their change. I thank you very much.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: Thank you, Counsel. Ms. Van Houten, certainly you're more than welcome to stand on what Counsel has had to say in closing. It's also an opportunity for you at this time to share with this Panel why you feel that you are suitable for parole.
INMATE VAN HOUTEN: I wrote a closing statement, but it's more of an apology.
ATTORNEY DEVALL: Why don't you read it into the record.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: That's fine. Go ahead and read it.
INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Okay. I also have a letter that I wrote to the LaBianca family that I would like them to be able to have.
ATTORNEY DEVALL: If they want it.
INMATE VAN HOUTEN: If they want to accept it.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: Give it to us and then we'll make that determination.
INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Okay. My deepest apologies are given to the family members and friends of Mr. and Mrs. LaBianca. I apologize to you for all the harm and pain I caused your family. Not only did Mr. and Mrs. LaBianca deserve full lives, you should have had them here to share the day-to-day joys and sorrows. I am so sorry. Additionally, I would like to state that I accept full responsibility for my actions as were noted in the Statement of Facts. I understand the enormity of attempting to start a race war during the turbulent 1960s, and I make no excuse for what I have done. My actions August 10th, 1969, were contemptible and they were without justification. I apologize to The People of the State of California along with the people of this country for the fear they experienced until I was arrested and for my disgraceful behavior during the trial of 1971. I equally apologize to those whose cultures and ethnicities I offended by my ignorance and my arrogance. As a rehabilitated woman, I would like to state that the insight I have gained is not meant to excuse any of my acts. Insight is understanding the whys of behaviors so that it will not be repeated. I appreciate this opportunity to make amends to the many I directly and indirectly have offended and harmed. Thank you.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: Thank you. Is everybody good or do we need a recess? Seeing no hands, we'll continue. And we'll move to the victim's next-of-kin. Please state your name once again for the record.
MR. SMALDINO: Louis Smaldino speaking on behalf of the LaBianca family. Here to voice our objections to the release of Ms. Van Houten. We all ask ourselves many times or how many times we must come to present our objections at these hearings. Nothing has really changed. Ms. Van Houten committed brutal murders with a callous disregard for the lives of two innocent victims in the prime of their lives, 45 and mid 40s to be exact. They left five children and numerous relatives, a thriving business, which subsequently failed, and a trail of woe due to premeditated, calculated acts of that August night. I see my grandmother and mother devastated with grief and die way before their time. I've seen the children of Rosemary and Leno shun these hearings due to their ongoing grief and fear. I have seen injustice in that Ms. Van Houten is even considered for parole. She was sentenced to die, but our justice system reneged due to technicalities and misguided judgments. Yet here Ms. Van Houten is again trying to play the system for I believe the 20th or 21st time. Let's talk about facts. Ms. Van Houten committed the crime brutally and without true remorse. And yet to this day she claims Rosemary was already dead when she stabbed her multiple times. This is a complete lack of taking of responsibility. She was involved in a multiple murder scenario unbelievably after the murders she had time to eat, drink, take and put Rosemary's clothes on, and then subsequently left the home. By any definition, this is a sociopath. No regard for any other human life or being. She premeditated this act when she was not asked to join Manson on the Tate murders and insisted on going on this subsequent murder spree. She has no true remorse, but has focused on being a model prisoner so she can gain her freedom. The only problem with this is that no member of our family has ever received a note of sympathy contrary to her counselor's representation earlier today although I see one was presented today. She lives, but our caring and generous Rosemary and Leno do not. She has life. Our family is burdened with death. She claims that Charlie made her do it, and it was the drugs. And today I guess it was the abortion too. Good people do not commit premeditated murder for thrill or to start race wars, only sociopaths do. There is no taking of responsibility on her part. We as a family will never be able to share a holiday in the family's home where these murders took place or to see the bright eyes of Leno and Rosemary again, never. What Ms. Van Houten did was permanent. Yes, she can change, but what she did cannot change. I was always brought up to accept responsibility for my actions and have taught my children and business associates the same. Ms. Van Houten has never really accepted her total responsibility and sought justice in this matter. Justice should have claimed her life many years ago. Justice can only serve our family if Ms. Van Houten is permanently incarcerated. She should accept this and pray for forgiveness and, instead, cynically is trying to get her own way out. She surrendered her rights to freedom when she took another's life for no sane reason and for actually some pretty devious reasons. What troubles me the most is the example that the Manson Family forced on our society. We all live today in constant fear of terrorists attacks and the counselor earlier today tried to discount that. That this wasn't a terrorist attack when, in fact, it was. What else can we call the Manson Family group but a group of homegrown terrorists who visited terrors on our neighborhoods in the 1960s. We as a society have no compassion for foreign born terrorists and we want them exterminated. But somehow we change the rules and change gears when it comes to our own native terrorists. We use the law, psychologists, work programs to justify the unjustifiable. Ms. Van Houten is a murdering terrorist and her character does not change. Keep her where she can never do harm to another human being. We as a society cannot risk her freedom. I would not want any other family to ever have to face our realities. She has never shown, as stated before, any true remorse for her callous and brutal deeds. And the result is that our family still suffers and remembers. I thank the Board for the indulgence today and to remind you that the only reason we are here today is that Ms. Van Houten wants out any way she can manipulate it. We ask that you not let this happen and hold her accountable. I remind you that she was originally given a death sentence, and under today's law, the best she could ever hope for is life without parole for these crimes. With our compassion, she wants to see her family, but we will never be able to see our family or hear Rosemary and Leno again. She does not seek real justice only our mercy. Because justice demands that she be incarcerated for the rest of her life. We need to give an example to others who would perpetrate these kinds of heinous crimes. Moreover family such as ours should not have to go through these types of hearings on such a frequent basis. In the past ten years, I think I've been to eight hearings, seven or eight hearings. And, you know, all the while allowing no real evidence is introduced. That shows that Ms. Van Houten has really changed. Her character or viewpoint on these callous murders makes her a sociopath. I ask that you for the sake of our family and society, that she be given the maximum period being mandated here in (inaudible). Thank you.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: Thank you, sir. Please state your name once again for the record.
MS. TATE: Hello, Commissioners, my name is Deborah Tate. I have been appointed the representative for Angela Smaldino. I have been dealing with Ms. Smaldino for the last 13 years and offering her mental counsel after her appearance in this very room. I'm not going to speak with you about her original offense. You're very well acquainted with that. It's Angela's wishes that I let you know how continually devastated this family is as a result of Leslie's actions. These crimes took place in their family home where all of the family would get together. They are an Italian people and they live, love, and party for family always. All of the homes and dreams and memories of children rolling down green grass hills and romping around have been tainted by the visions of the horrible, heinous brutality at these people's hands. That has left Angela Smaldino a shell of a woman that was extremely intelligent. A USC student, a person that is still to this day struggling to try to get her doctorate degree. She has struggled with being a functional human being and slips back into being dysfunctional whenever these hearings come up. We as a family believe, I am now speaking for Angela, that Ms. Van Houten is to be commended for her growth within these confined walls. And the psychological evaluations have alluded to the possibility of her reform, but until she is let out of these binds, nobody is absolutely sure. The world has changed immensely. And it's not a risk that society is willing to take. It's not a risk that the LaBiancas or Smaldinos are willing to take. It's not a risk that most of us would take. Angela feels that it would be a very sorry day when our judicial system sets free serial killers. And since this day has already taken a great toll on all of us, I am going to conclude that as her statement. Thank you, Commissioners.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: Thank you, ma'am. Ma'am, do you wish to speak? Is that it? If that's it, that's it. All right, we'll recess for deliberations. The time is four o'clock.
CALIFORNIA BOARD OF PAROLE HEARINGS DECISION
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: Okay, we're back on record.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: The time is about 4:55. Prior to me reading the decision, I do want to put on the record I think it's important in lieu of the fact that this Panel did not have an opportunity to engage with Ms. Van Houten, which was, you know, her right to do. But on June 23rd, 2009, this was after her 2007 hearing, the Honorable Peter Espinosa had answered, I believe it was a writ. And that was the last legal action prior to this hearing. And in his conclusions, the Honorable Judge Espinosa stated that the court finds that there is some evidence to support this determination which was to deny parole because the petitioner's commitment offense was so heinous, atrocious, or cruel and that her due process rights are not violated by the denial of parole on the basis and because of her continued lack of complete insight into her offense. He goes on then to recite the crime which we've heard here today. And then on page 3 of his decision he also states that after a long period of time, a commitment offense may no longer indicate a current risk of dangerousness to society in light of a lengthy period of positive rehabilitation. And he cites Lawrence. However, a commitment offense may continue to be predictive of current danger if after decades of maturation if it was especially brutal such as a hate crime or a crime involving torture and the brutal offenses that were committed with the intent of framing a black person, inciting a race war, and the act that the victims were allegedly tortured and they were bound and threatened and then repeatedly stabbed to death, that those are, that it then rises to the level. The notorious murders for which the petitioner was convicted are so heinous, atrocious or cruel that her due process rights are not violated by the denial of parole based on the gravity of the offense. With that we'll move into the --
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: Can I just add something to the judge's decision?
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: Yes.
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: This is the first time that we've ever seen a decision, Commissioner Doyle and myself, I'm not saying that there haven't been others, but we have never seen a decision by Judge Espinosa that didn't ask us to do a rehearing or release the inmate. So his history with us is a little different from what he stated in this decision.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: Yeah, this was certainly, in my experience this was unique coming from that court. All right, moving on to the decision. The Panel has reviewed all the information received from the public and all the relevant information that was before us today in concluding that Ms. Van Houten is not yet suitable for parole because Ms. Van Houten currently poses an unreasonable risk of dangerousness if released from prison. This finding of unsuitability is based on weighing the considerations provided in the California Code of Regulations, Title 15. On August 10th, 1969, Ms. Van Houten and her crime partners set out to kill people. This after some of the crime partners the night prior murdered five people at the Polanski residence. This was all in furtherance of Charles Manson's scheme to kill white people so that black people could be blamed and a race war could be started. After driving around for some time, they went to the home of the victims Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. Ms. Van Houten and her female crime partner took Ms. LaBianca into the bedroom. Ms. Van Houten put a pillowcase over her head and a lamp cord around her neck and laid her on the bed. She could hear -- Ms. LaBianca could hear her husband being stabbed to death by the male crime partner who had bound and gagged him, bound him, his arms and legs. They were in the living room. She forced her way off of the bed screaming his name and swung the lamp at Ms. Van Houten. Ms. Van Houten knocked it out of her hand and wrestled her back onto the bed where her female crime partner stabbed her with one of the knives that she had gotten from the kitchen. The knife broke off in her shoulder, and Ms. Van Houten yelled for the male crime partner to come to the bedroom to assist in the killing of Ms. LaBianca. He stabbed Ms. LaBianca eight times and then handed the knife to Ms. Van Houten who stabbed Mrs. LaBianca 14 to 16 times. The victim was stabbed 42 times it was found at autopsy and did die. Ms. Van Houten then wiped away the fingerprints, changed clothes while the female crime partner wrote on various surfaces in blood. After the murders, Ms. Van Houten fled and hid out several months until arrested on November 25th, 1969. Ms. Van Houten did have a prior unstable social history as she started using drugs at age 15. She left the home, went to San Francisco and continued her drug use there with her boyfriend and then also took part in criminal activity and then had gotten pregnant, came back home and had an abortion at 17 and then left and eventually ended up at the Spahn Ranch with her boyfriend. Her priors included being arrested for grand theft auto, burglary, some of these crimes as stated earlier had been dropped upon arrest for the murder first degree. She certainly had an escalating pattern of criminal conduct continually since 15, illegally using illicit drugs in addition her conduct continued to escalate up until the murders. She did appear stable up until about 14. That's when her parents did divorced. As stated she started using drugs and left home. We talked about that. Institutional adjustment, her institutional adjustment has been outstanding. She participated significantly in self-help programs, education opportunities during her incarceration. We'll talk about this later, but one of the things this Panel was concerned about is kind of the lack of exploration that has occurred over the years as it relates to Ms. Van Houten's relationship with men and her dependency on men in general and just the processing through that. We've seen some situations, even while she's been incarcerated that would concern us as it relates to just possibly getting some significant programming in healthy relationships with the opposite sex, et cetera. Ms. Van Houten's mental state at this time does not lend itself to suitability. She chose not to speak to the Panel about anything today which is her right. However, in reviewing the record, even after all these years, there is some evidence that her insight continues to be incomplete. As late as 2007 which was her last hearing, she stated that I stabbed Mrs. LaBianca who was on her stomach. I stabbed her on her lower portion of her back 16 to 18 superficial wounds, which surprised me when I heard this. The act was extremely predatory. I used the example, quote, "When you see a shark attack meat, it felt unnatural. Tex, meaning Watson, came in and wanted her clothes. Tex did both murders." She stated in 2007 it felt unnatural yet told Dianne Lake that she stabbed the victim, that stabbing the victim was fun. In review of the record, at no time does Ms. Van Houten appear that she has really looked into herself as to why she was able to take part in these murders, stab someone 16 times or what it was about her that allowed her to stay on at the Spahn Ranch and become one of the commune members who decided to take part in this race motivated killing spree. All the reasons appear to be about others, i.e., Manson's hold over us, the abortion when she was younger, the drug use, etcetera. But never at any time does she appear to really get down internally inside of herself and just in retrospect look at herself aside from all these outside sources as to what it was that made her capable of this type of activity. And this goes to a lack of suitability. Her latest psychological evaluation that concerned us that the psychologist did not do any in depth questioning or discussion with Ms. Van Houten as it related to manipulation or to insight. She pretty much just took what Ms. Van Houten told her and put it down. And things that she would tell her, she wouldn't explore further into those. An example of that was when she asked her, when asked to describe her understanding of how she was manipulated, she openly discussed at length how drugs were utilized by Manson to force his followers into giving up their free will. This was a woman that had been using drugs since she was age 15. And yet the psychologist goes nowhere with this. She just takes the statement and moves on and doesn't explore it whatsoever. As I stated, her current psychological evaluation appears shallow taking what Ms. Van Houten says with no follow up in those areas. In looking at Psychologist Robert McDaniel from February 29th, 1996, the Panel feels that this may sum it up to some extent as it relates to Ms. Van Houten. On page 6 he states thereafter she fell into the grips of a cult with a very devious and evil leader. Under this control she adapted and she became proficient as it was necessary for their purposes. Under the tutelage of the monstrous mind, she was able to commit crimes that are inconceivable to the average person. Thereafter during incarceration she has adapted yet again and has almost perfectly fit the idea of the ideal inmate achieving almost every avenue of self-improvement available to her. It appears as though she has tremendous power of adaptation and can excel at whatever purposes she sets herself to. Unfortunately historically she has required an external control placed upon her in order to do so. As a young adult, without any particular authority over her, she failed to flourish. However, under the control of evil, she did excel in that area. Now under the control of what could be considered social norms and rules and regulations, she has excelled as having no disciplinary problems. She has distinguished herself among her peers both at work and in psychological groups and demonstrates psychological insight far beyond what is typically seen in this environment. At the core of this is a desire to please those in position of authority. She has attempted to please authority no matter if it is good or evil. And I think along with Commissioner Bentley that this is an area that Ms. Van Houten has totally no insight into and that she really needs to significantly focus on as stated by psychologist Robert McDaniel. She's got good parole plans to live at Crossroads and transitional housing in Claremont. Backup plans, and she's got job offers and she does have marketable skills. The District Attorney from Los Angeles County was here and participated and opposes parole as we also had victim's next-of-kin here who spoke and opposed parole. However, she should be commended for several things. I'll turn that over to Commissioner Bentley.
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: Well, of course, first and foremost is remaining disciplinary free. Next would be your upgrading educationally, your getting your college degree and now you're working on getting your masters degree. You're very proficient at data processing and you've gotten that certificate. You've been involved in all sorts of self-help groups. You've gotten exceptional work reports and currently you're a tutor for Chaffey College. And you've been involved in AA and NA and most recently Forever Free and Emotions Anonymous. So you've been really doing an excellent job and it's obvious that you reach out and help others too. Okay, that concludes it.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: Thank you. This is one of those crimes that was committed in an especially heinous, atrocious, and cruel manner. Multiple, vulnerable victims were attacked and murdered during the same incident. On August 10th, 1969, the day after the Tate murders, a plan was put in motion to further the plan of pitting whites against blacks in a race war by killing whites and making authorities believe the perpetrators were black. The LaBiancas were randomly chosen, yet the plan was certainly calculating. The murders were carried out dispassionately as the couple's hands were tied, legs were bound. They were tortured, and they were separated and Ms. LaBianca was taken into the bedroom and told to be killed. And as she lay there with a pillowcase over her head and a wire around her neck from a lamp cord, she listened as her husband was stabbed to death and butchered by Tex Watson as he was being stabbed multiple times. As stated, Ms. LaBianca was also abused, having a pillowcase put over her head, a cord around her neck and stabbed 42 times by Ms. Van Houten and her crime partners. All about her body lending itself to mutilation to some extent. Certainly the murders were carried out in a manner which demonstrated an exceptionally callous disregard for human suffering both physically and psychologically as Mrs. LaBianca had to listen to her husband being stabbed to death and she herself was repeatedly stabbed 42 times. The motive of these murders was inexplicable in relationship to the offense as the Manson members were trying to perpetuate a race war. All of these issues go toward unsuitability. In addition, Ms. Van Houten continues to show some evidence of lack of complete insight when she states Tex did both murders. She has yet to address the manipulation issues and needs to continue to gain insight into why she was able to do what she did, but her desires were to please those in position of authority and get an understanding of relationships with men. At this time, this Panel feels that additional time is needed. And in addition, she has stated earlier she had an unstable social history and a criminal history also. Now that said, the Panel finds based on parole consideration criteria set forth in Title 15 and considering the public and the victim's safety, that Ms. Van Houten does not require a period of 15 or for that matter an additional ten years before her next parole consideration hearing. This Panel does take into consideration Ms. Van Houten's programming since she's been here, her lack of assaultive behavior, her lack of basically any discipline. I think she had one 128 counseling chrono way back when. So she has been disciplinary free. She has been able to conduct herself in a very proper manner, so we felt that it's reasonable that she come before the Board in the next three years. That said, Penal Code Section 3041.5(d)(1) provides that she can request that the Board conduct her next hearing earlier than the denial period that we issued today provided that there's been a change of circumstances or new information to establish a reasonable likelihood that you don't require additional incarceration. Counsel or Commissioner?
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BENTLEY: Thank you. I know it's your right, but I was disappointed that you wouldn't talk with us today. It's been 15 years since I've seen you. Of course, I remember the circumstances of the crime, some of them you just don't forget although you'd like to. So I was rather disappointed about that. And I know Commissioner Doyle hasn't seen you at all. Okay. That's all I have to say.
PRESIDING COMMISSIONER DOYLE: Okay. Good luck to you, ma'am. This hearing is concluded. And the time is 5:20.
INMATE VAN HOUTEN: Thank you, Commissioners.
PAROLE DENIED THREE YEARS