Monday, February 1, 2021

Parole Granted For Bruce Davis but.......

this time it was different. Bruce Davis was granted parole again on January 22nd. What was different about this parole hearing is that the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office did not send a prosecuter to represent the victims at the hearing. Victim representation was left to the relatives and victim's advocate, Debra Tate. Gary Hinman's cousin, Kay Martley was there but no one was present to represent Shorty Shea. 

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Relatives of Manson 'family' murder victims outraged by DA's new policy

Kay Martley said she was stunned by the Los Angeles County DA’s decision to stop opposing parole for the Manson follower convicted of killing her cousin.

This 1969 file photo shows Charles Manson being
escorted to his arraignment on conspiracy-murder
charges in connection with the Sharon Tate murder case.


Whenever the notorious killer Charles Manson or one of his convicted followers would come up for parole over the last 40 years, a Los Angeles County prosecutor joined victims' family members at a California state prison to argue against the release. 

But when Kay Martley joined a California Board of Parole Hearings video conference to consider parole for convicted Manson "family" killer Bruce Davis earlier this month, she was stunned to learn she would be making the case on behalf of her murdered relative alone. 

"I had no one to speak for me," said Martley, 81, whose cousin Gary Hinman was tortured and killed by Manson followers on July 27, 1969. "I felt like no one cares about the victim's families anymore. We are totally forgotten." 

Charles Manson follower Bruce Davis l
eaving court after a hearing in Los Angeles
on Dec. 22, 1970.Harold Filan / AP file

The absence of a prosecutor was no oversight. It was the result of a policy shift ordered by newly elected Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, who campaigned on promises to reduce the number of people in prison. 


The new mandate puts a halt on Los Angeles County prosecutors opposing parole for inmates sentenced to life who have already served their mandatory minimum period of incarceration. 

Gascón's directive is part of a sudden shift in how his district attorney's office, the largest in the nation, is considering victims' rights before, during and after criminal trials. 

The move is not likely to have a direct effect on Davis' fate, experts say. Even though the state board recommended parole - the sixth time it has done so - California Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to deny the convicted murderer's early release. 

But the dynamic of a victim's family member feeling abandoned by prosecutors represents an unintended - but thorny - consequence of the new push by some progressive-minded district attorneys to stop trying to influence parole decisions. 

Gascón is among a handful of district attorneys in places like New Orleans and Brooklyn, New York, to rethink their stance on automatically opposing parole requests. The movement has gained momentum in the wake of the national reckoning over racial inequity in the criminal justice system spurred by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody last May. 

The Davis case illustrates how victims' family members can feel as if they're left out in the cold. 

"My jaw drops. I'm outraged," said Debra Tate, whose actress sister, Sharon Tate, was murdered by Manson followers. 

American actress Sharon Tate in 1966.
Hulton Deutsch / Corbis via Getty Images

Tate joined the parole board hearing for Davis earlier this month and said she, too, was shocked by the absence of a prosecutor. 

"At the most horrible moment, when you have to relive the gruesome details of the loss of your loved ones, you are now also supposed to perform the job and act as the DA would," she said. 

Under the new policy, Los Angeles County prosecutors will no longer attend parole hearings and will support in writing the grant of parole for a person who has already served their mandatory minimum sentence, Gascón said in a memo to his staffers on Dec. 7, the day he was sworn in to office. 

Gascón said should state prison officials determine that a person represents a "high" risk for recidivism, a prosecutor "may, in their letter, take a neutral position on the grant of parole." 

Underlying the argument is the idea that state parole officials, not prosecutors, are best equipped to make judgements about whether or not to release inmates. 

"The prosecutors' role ends at sentencing," said Alex Bastian, special adviser to Gascón. "There's been a tug of war between public safety versus equity. The DA believes you can do both." 

Asked to respond to specific questions about the Davis case, Bastian said the office is focused on providing "trauma-informed services" when a "heart-wrenching crime occurs." 

"In any case where an individual has spent nearly half a century in prison, the parole board has likely reviewed generations of behavioral health evaluations and has determined that a nearly 80-year-old elderly man is not the same person he was when he was 30 years of age," he added. "The people's interest in continued incarceration, at extraordinary cost to taxpayers, is likely to have informed their release decision." 

Former San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon
speaks at a Los Angeles County Democratic Party
news conference in Los Angeles on Oct. 1, 2020.

Bastian noted that the office will continue to provide a victims advocate to support family members. He acknowledged that no victims advocate attended the virtual hearing but said that was because family members opposed it. Martley disputed that characterization, saying she was never told about the possibility of one participating in the hearing. 

Manson and his followers carried out a series of gruesome murders in Los Angeles in 1969. 

Davis, now 78 years old, was sentenced to life in prison in 1972 for the killings of Hinman and Donald "Shorty" Shea. 

Hinman, an aspiring musician, was tortured and killed after Manson mistakenly believed he had come into an inheritance. According to court testimony, Davis held Hinman at gunpoint while Manson slashed his face and sliced his ear with a sword. 

Authorities called to the home on July 31, 1969, discovered Hinman's body and a Black Panther symbol and "political piggy" written on the walls of the home in what was later identified as Hinman's blood. 

Shea, who worked at the ranch where Manson and some of his followers had lived, was stabbed and clubbed to death. He was then dismembered, and his remains were not discovered until 1977. 

Davis was not involved in the more notorious killings of Tate and six others by Manson and his followers. 

Steve Grogan, who was convicted in Shea's murder, was the only Manson follower convicted in the killings to be paroled from prison, in 1985. Manson, who died in 2017, was repeatedly denied parole. 

Davis, who has had a total of 33 state parole hearings, has been found suitable for parole six times beginning in 2010. In each case, the sitting governor blocked his release from prison. 

The parole board's latest recommendation for his release, referred to in official documents as "parole suitability," will be finalized over the next few months. Corrections officials will conduct a legal review, then Newsom has one month to either reject the decision, take no action or make modifications to the decision by adding a parole condition or changing the date of release. 

Newsom's office did not respond to requests for comment. 

Davis' attorney, Michael Beckman, said his client was the "most rehabilitated" of any of the roughly 2,000 inmates serving life sentences whom he has represented. 

"He got seven years to life, and if he was anyone else rather than a Manson family member, he would have gotten out 30 years ago," Beckman said. "There is no question there is a visceral reaction [to the Manson murders]. But the law says you can only hold someone responsible for their participation in the crime. He cannot be held responsible for what Charles Manson did. Bruce didn't kill anyone. He participated in two homicides. And he's taken responsibility for all of it." 

Retired Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Stephen Kay said he believes that Gascón, in trying to do the right thing, went too far by issuing a blanket policy. 

He said prosecutors play an important role in the process by ensuring parole boards are presented with the facts of the underlying conviction, along with the impact of the crimes on the victims' families. 

"Basically, he has taken the people's lawyer out of the equation and left it in the hands of the defense," Kay said. 

Kay said at the first parole hearing for Manson family participant Patricia Krenwinkel, the board had been presented with a two-page probation report that, he said, downplayed her role in the brutal murder of Tate, her unborn baby and four other victims: Wojciech Frykowski, Jay Sebring, Steven Parent and Abigail Folger. 

Four of the victims had been stabbed a total of 102 times and the fifth had been shot to death. Kay recited the gruesome details of the murders. 

"I think we owe it to society not to turn loose a member of the Manson family, such as Patricia Krenwinkel, who has participated in seven of the most vicious, brutal murders in the history of American crime," Kay told the board, according to a transcript. "I think it would be a great deterrent value to show the public that not everybody who commits murder can automatically get out on parole." 

It was the first draft of an argument he would deliver some 60 times, from 1978 until 2005, when he retired and a new generation of prosecutors began to make appearances at parole hearings. 

Martley, the cousin of victim Gary Hinman, has been attending parole board hearings since 2012. She said she was in a "state of shock" when she realized no member of the district attorney's office was going to be participating in the Jan. 22 hearing. 

"I don't think it's fair that the prisoner has legal representation at the hearing and I do not," she said. 

"It was a horrendous crime," she added. "God willing, I will be healthy to be able to keep fighting these people." 

57 comments:

DebS said...

I'm sorry about the spacing of this post. I know it's hard to read when it's all squished together. Blogger has made some changes to the drafts and I can't figure out how to make it more readable. Hopefully Matt will come along and fix it.

Unknown said...

I hope Davis rots in there forever. -Gordon Fogt

Tragical History Tour said...

The DA automatically supporting the granting of parole doesn't seem like "the prosecutor's job ending at sentencing" either.

Doug said...

Brutal that they didn't at least let the victim's families know about this significant change in process in advance.

The DA's office might as well just punch the 81yr old woman in the throat and kick her to the curb.

orwhut said...

Thanks for the post, Deb. If my tired old eyes could read it, the spacing was probably OK in spite of Bloggers improving things by making them harder.

Tragical History Tour said...

Still with the dismemberment of Shorty.

cielodrivecom said...

Bruce has had 33 hearings. It wasn't until the past few years anyone but the DA attended them.

Unknown said...

The governor shouldnt be involved, he isnt qualified to make those decisions.
The person with the final say is basically the one making the decisions, so the California parole board and everybody involved with it might aswel be eradicated, their input is moot.
Bruce davis never touched Gary Hinman and his involvement in Shortys death was negligible. He isnt a murderer, hes an accessory to 1 murder, guilty of GBH or 2nd degree murder at the very most.
The guy has more than paid for what HE personally did.
Hes as guilty as Clem if not less so. If he had took detectives to Shortys body instead of Clem it would be him a free man since 85 instead.

Peter said...

Neva gunna get it, neva gunna get it, nehhhhhhva gunna get it, neva gunna get it, neva gunna get it, neva gunna get it, neva gunna get it. Woh woh woh wohhhh.

DebS said...

I do not see the DA's presence at Manson Family parole hearings being something that is absolutely necessary. They are high profile inmates because of the notoriety of their crimes. There is also a fail safe with the governor being able to block the parole.

Bruce Davis, Leslie Van Houten and Bobby Beausoleil all were granted parole before the new policy instituted by Gascon. Apparently the DA speaking on behalf of the people had no effect on the parole board members at those previous hearings.

However, the hearings of less notorious inmates might benefit from having a DA present.

cielodrivecom said...

For the most part, I agree with you Deb. The DA's presence doesn't seem to factor in that much in the recent decisions in these cases. That said, Beausoleil was just denied parole after being recommended at his previous hearing. One would assume he got into some sort of trouble but that doesn't seem to be the case. DDA Donna Lebowitz presented the board with examples of Bobby's various businesses. For what I understand he had permission to do this stuff, so technically he hadn't done anything wrong. Of course, just because can do something, doesn't mean you should do it. Long story short, I think Lebowitz's argument regarding these activities swayed the board to give him the denial.

ColScott said...

It's kind of tragic all around. Deb is clearly trying to make the ghost of Doris happy while getting some screen time I guess. Bruce Davis never met anyone at Cielo. Bruce should have served 15 years at most. The valuable lesson is the Justice System is a sad fucking game best not played

Tragical History Tour said...

If Bastian is saying that continued cost of incarceration is a factor, then it's an admission that non-behavioral factors do influence decisions.

Lawrence Bittaker was EXACTLY the same kind of animal near 80 as he was at conviction, but by Bastion's logic, he should have been released to save taxpayer dollars. Damn expensive to keep someone on Death Row for 38 years.

orwhut said...


ColScott said..
The valuable lesson is the Justice System is a sad fucking game best not played

I like that.

Tragical History Tour said..
Lawrence Bittaker was EXACTLY the same kind of animal near 80 as he was at conviction, but by Bastion's logic, he should have been released to save taxpayer dollars.

I like that too. Don't forget Lawrence Singleton.

cielodrivecom said...

Tragical, that's not Gascón's logic at all. His logic is that the parole board can handle it. Let's say Bittaker was still alive, not on Death row, and actually had parole hearings. Do you think the parole board would recommend him for parole? You and I both know they wouldn't.

Tragical History Tour said...

Blogger cielodrivecom said...
Tragical, that's not Gascón's logic at all. His logic is that the parole board can handle it. Let's say Bittaker was still alive, not on Death row, and actually had parole hearings. Do you think the parole board would recommend him for parole? You and I both know they wouldn't.

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And I say they can't handle it if they are pressured by the DA to cut costs.

As soon as the DA brings the cost of incarceration into it, hello slippery slope.

Lets say it's not Bittaker, but someone who actually has a snowball's chance of parole. There will be a tipping point where a bean counter somewhere suggests to the parole board that it's time to let a lineball inmate go. And we both know it will work that way.

Matthew said...

I believe that it is time to let Davis out. Like someone said earlier, if his name was not connected to Manson, he would have been out many years ago. He is a political prisoner at this point. Something that I have always been curious about is if Bruce knew what the intentions were in both the Hinman and Shea murders. Did he get in the car and go to the Hinman house knowing that harm would come to Hinman? Did he get in the car with Shea knowing that harm would come to Shea? I have read transcripts of parole hearings and trials and haven't seen a definitive answer to that. It may be there but I missed it in my skimming. My personal opinion is that he was not sure at all what was going to go down at Hinman's but had a good idea what was to become of Shorty.

starviego said...


Davis 2007 Parole Hearing
www.cielodrive.com/bruce-davis-parole-hearing-2007.php
DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY SEQUEIRA:....(Bruce Davis) knew fully well what was going to happen to Mr. Hinman, that Mr. Hinman was going to be killed, and in fact he bragged about it afterwards to other Family members.


LADA files Box 56-2 Bruce Davis' Hinman/Shea trial Dec '71 to Feb '72
Springer: "And that (Bruce)Davis had said(at Mark Ross' house in late Nov '69) that they had taken care of the guy at the ranch... they were afraid he was going to inform on the police... and they had cut him up and buried him--and Clem had buried him at the ranch...
That Mark Ross then said--then asked, "Do you mean Shorty?' And Davis said, Yeah."

Dani_P said...

I still think it's crazy that the Governor can simply deny the parole board's decision time after time indefinitely. At the very least I think there should be a limit or there should have to be some serious justification as to why they're overturning the decision aside from a generic statement. The Governor who spends no time with the inmate, doesn't attend the hearings and doesn't go through all that Parole Board does to get to a decision can simply sign their name and overturn it and that pretty much totally goes against the way the justice system is supposed to work.

Regardless of one's feelings on any particular inmate this practice should upset everyone because it opens the door for all types of corruption. And in the end can make the whole "possibility of Parole" within our justice system moot for certain inmates for all types of reasons.

Is there really no limit on how many times the Governor can overturn the decision? Is there any one or any court that can overturn the Governor's denial (although I know that would be a long shot even if it did exist)? Has anyone ever fought against the constitutionality of this practice? Or studied how many times it was actually implemented and on who as to try and show political expediency rather than actual concern? It pretty much guarantees that despite the sentence Bruce received, despite any rehabilitation or "good behavior", despite any recognition of that behavior that earns him Parole after meeting the standards set by the Parole board it will never matter and the Governor/s get to personally overrule the entire justice system and sentence him to a life sentence with no chance of Parole. To me, it's not about Bruce, Leslie or Bobby or any individual in particular but the broader consequence of one person having that power for whatever reason they choose for as long as they'd like no matter what completely unchecked.

Chrisonthecape said...

With Newsom's recall imminent, no way is he going to parole Davis.

Tragical History Tour said...

Dani_P said...

Regardless of one's feelings on any particular inmate this practice should upset everyone because it opens the door for all types of corruption. And in the end can make the whole "possibility of Parole" within our justice system moot for certain inmates for all types of reasons.

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But that's what many people believe. That the sentences for some crimes should have no parole attached to them and some inmates in for Life, should serve for life.

They were given mercy when a law change stopped them being executed.

Matthew said...

Tragical H Said:

But that's what many people believe. That the sentences for some crimes should have no parole attached to them and some inmates in for Life, should serve for life.


But Bruce, Bobby and Leslie do have a parole attached to them. What is the point of dangling that carrot if it will never happen?

Many people would like to see these murderers rot in prison and I understand that but that is not the law. Mob rule and lynching come to mind. If the governer can veto the ruling of the parole board for any reason, wouldn't that be considered a dictatorship?

Tony said...

Why don't they just bypass the parole board and leave it to Newsom to decide. What's the point in granting parole when it's left to someone who wasn't even at the hearing to have the final say

Mario George Nitrini 111 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mario George Nitrini 111 said...

Well this is something from The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department
��
https://mobile.twitter.com/LASDHQ/status/1357014686022078464
They will attend parole hearings "in the absence of The Los Angeles County District Attorney Prosecutors"

Mario George Nitrini 111
------
The OJ Simpson Case

Mario George Nitrini 111 said...

Well this is something from The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department
��
https://mobile.twitter.com/LASDHQ/status/1357014686022078464
They will attend parole hearings "in the absence of The Los Angeles County District Attorney Prosecutors"

Mario George Nitrini 111
------
The OJ Simpson Case

Dani_P said...

I understand that sentiment but, whatever the reason, they did get the possibility of parole with their sentence. Legally, they have the chance at parole but do they really? For the governor to be able to just reverse the parole board's decision despite the time and consideration that goes into it with just a stroke of a pen SIX times in a row and without having to present any real justification just feels like a slippery slope to me. It's not even about Bruce or Leslie or any particular inmate but the practice in general. It's "Manson family members" now but in the future who is to say it's not a political opponent or whistle-blower or just someone the governor doesn't like for whatever reason. For me, it's not so much these particular instances but the power overall. That's why I'm curious to see how often a governor does use this power-- is it common or only in "high profile" cases that any given governor may feel political pressure regarding? What is the process said governor takes to reach such a decision? Can it be overruled? Are there ANY limitations to how many times they can override the parole board? Is there ANYTHING Bruce could do, in this case, that would cause the governor to let the decision stand or is this just a given each and every time regardless of any circumstances? Can the parole board or court challenge the reversal? I just think it's a dangerous power, especially if completely unchecked.

Tragical History Tour said...

Matthew said...

Tragical H Said:

But that's what many people believe. That the sentences for some crimes should have no parole attached to them and some inmates in for Life, should serve for life.


But Bruce, Bobby and Leslie do have a parole attached to them. What is the point of dangling that carrot if it will never happen?
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You can continue that thought and say the Governor WAS granted the power of veto.

And what was the point of giving him that....etc etc.

Maybe it's to enact what he believes to be the will of the people. And that's closer to democracy than dictatorship.

orwhut said...

I see Leslie and Bruce's predicament as collateral damage from the actions of a broken hearted mamma bear enraged by the slaughter of her cub. Every action in life carries risk. Those two convicted murderers, took a great risk by their decisions all those years ago and are still paying the price.

A quadriplegic I knew, took a great risk when jumping his motorcycle. He had a bad landing and if still alive, is continuing to pay for that. I feel more sorrow for the quadriplegic.

If Leslie and Bruce get out, good for them. If not, they have much to be thankful for.

DebS said...

Dani_P California is one of only four states where the governor has the power to reverse a parole board's decision to free a prisoner. The governor can only reverse decisions on those convicted of murder. The power was granted to him by the voters in 1988 under Proposition 89. The proposition was proposed after William Archie Fain, a convicted murderer and rapist was paroled in 1983 and the governor found that he had no power to reverse the decision.

The legislative issue had floundered in California Legislature since 1983 when Fain was released from prison. In 1988 Fain raped yet another woman and the issue was again presented to the legislature who overwhelmingly voted to have the measure put on the ballot for the voters to decide.

The voters passed the proposition with 55.1% for and 44.99% against. The main argument against the proposition was that it would politicize the governors decision which it ultimately does.

The governor can reverse the parole board's decision an unlimited number of times for any one prisoner. The only thing I can tell that has changed since the proposition passed is that the governor was originally given 30 days to make his decision and now it is 90 days. There is no way to overrule his decision except by taking it to an appeals court. Both Leslie and Bruce's attorneys have done this to no avail.

I have noticed that sometimes the governor has been given bogus information, like the dismemberment of Shorty, to make his decision but that has had zero effect in any appeals.

I guess the only way to change the law is to repeal or amend the proposition and I don't see the voters or law makers stepping up to do that any time soon.

orwhut said...

Deb,
Do I understand correctly that Doris Tate had nothing to do with the law granting California's governor power to reverse a parole board's decision. If so, my mamma bear analogy goes out the window.

Robert C said...

THT said: "Maybe it's to enact what he believes to be the will of the people. And that's closer to democracy than dictatorship."

'... will of the people ' can be a democracy.

One person deciding for millions **without constraint** is more like a dictatorship.

DebS said...

No, Doris may have had feelings about the governor's power to reverse parole board decisions but she is not mentioned in the history of the proposition.

What Doris did where prisoner's rights are concerned was to abolish conjugal visits for convicted murderers. She, rightly, could not understand why the people who murdered her daughter and grandson were allowed to have sexual relations and spawn children while in prison.

DebS said...

Orwhut, here's a link to an article that mentions both Prop. 89 and Doris but it does not say anything about Doris being 'for' the proposition. The two are mentioned separately. The article is from 1989 about 6 months after the proposition passed. There are Wiki pages that claim Doris had something to do with its passing and she may have supported it but she didn't have anything to do with creating it.

https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1989-05-14-tm-13-story.html

orwhut said...

Thank you Deb. I thought I'd read that she had more to do with the bill than she did. In fact, I thought I'd read it on this forum.

I believe you and I discovered we were born in the same year. Your brain is working better than mine. It probably always has.

Tragical History Tour said...

Blogger Robert C said...
THT said: "Maybe it's to enact what he believes to be the will of the people. And that's closer to democracy than dictatorship."

'... will of the people ' can be a democracy.

One person deciding for millions **without constraint** is more like a dictatorship.

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What if they are making their decisions based on opinion polls? Is that undemocratic?

The final arbitrer in a decision process will always look like they dictate the decision. Does it need to be one person, three, or what about 12, like a jury? At some point, either a correct or incorrect final decision is made.

12 jurists can (and have, hello OJ) inflict the totally wrong decision on the people. Presidential vetos? Even worse, pardons?

The power to veto, and therefore have the final say, was granted to the Governor democratically.

I'm not in the US to judge the mood, but what would a referendum on inmate release result in? Do most people want Lifers released? Whether you think it's unfair or not, what do the MAJORITY want?

Or does he seem like a dictator to just those in the minority opinion? Without the veto, would the people have any means to address parole board decisions they didn't want?

If the majority want the veto removed, it can be democratically removed, no? If that's not happening, then maybe the silent majority approve of it.

Dani_P said...

Thank you for the information! Is the power used often or in any non-famous cases? I can understand the outrage at the time it was passed but it still makes me uncomfortable that it's so absolute and without many parameters for the Governor to follow when making a decision as such. The being given wrong information and being allowed to base a decision at least partly on that information is a type of flaw that worries me. It can basically override a "possibility of parole" sentence handed down by a court without any burden of proof required.

DebS said...

Dani_P I found an article online that states Governor Newsom, in 2019, "stopped paroles for 46 murderers". It goes on to say that Governor Brown, Newsom's predecessor, reversed 133 paroles in 2014. There's a lot of hits for individuals whose parole has been reversed but I couldn't find a site that had a tally of all the reversals by each governor.

This is the article I quoted-

https://sanquentinnews.com/governor-gavin-newsom-reversed-46-parole-grants/

Suffice it to say the governors use the power liberally and it's not limited to notorious cases.

Robert C said...

THT said: "What if they are making their decisions based on opinion polls? Is that undemocratic?"

The law should not be political as you favor, it should be consistent and fair. It's not fair for actress Dominque Dunne to be murdered and her murderer get out in 3.5 years while Davis has been in for a long time because he 'might have' murdered someone. Insert anyone's name above. Mob rule may work in a banana republic but it's not supposed to here.

Tragical History Tour said...

Robert, how is it mob rule? Mob rule to me implies the ACTIVE MINORITY carrying out their wishes, usually with force. Again, what do the MAJORITY of people want? Fulfilling that will be the closest you get to it being a democratic process, barring a referendum on every case.

And the inconsistency you point out in the Dunne case (which I agree with) just demonstrates that the Parole Boards get it wrong. That wasn't a case of the Parole Board ruling for non-release but the Governor saying "Nah, let him out", was it?

Seems with Presidential vetoes and pardons being the norm, and accepted powers of office, it's the US that is the banana republic. Why do you have those? As a perk of office? What is it based on? Some mistrust in the judicial system? Maybe a similar kind of mistrust that some people would have in parole boards?

They've always seemed weird to me. Very dictator-like power.

DebS said...

Dominque Dunne's killer was convicted of voluntary manslaughter Sept. 21, 1983. He was sentenced to a total of six and a half years. John Thomas Sweeney served three and a half years in prison. He was paroled before Proposition 89 was enacted so the governor could not block his release, that, and the fact that he wasn't convicted of murder.

Tragical History Tour said...

Unrelated to reasons or not for parole, but has anyone thought about how 'vulnerable' the famous killer group would be on the outside.

The less well known family members can mostly fade away somewhere if they wish, and largely have, sans shootouts and assassination attempts. But for the most part have been left alone if they have straightened out. Grogan wasn't particularly well known despite his crimes and has managed to have some kind of life and periods of anonymity (and some not)

But these guys are a different level. There are people who probably feel like killing them despite their age or whether they are a threat or not, and certainly don't want to see them in society. I can see them being hounded and chased all over the country.

Won't be a problem for Tex or Pat, but hypothetically for the others I can't see them blending back in like nothing happened.

Robert C said...

DebS said: "Dominque Dunne's killer was convicted of voluntary manslaughter Sept. 21, 1983. He was sentenced to a total of six and a half years. John Thomas Sweeney served three and a half years in prison. He was paroled before Proposition 89 was enacted so the governor could not block his release, that, and the fact that he wasn't convicted of murder."

And that's my point right there - lack of consistency and fairness, fishing around on what the appropriate punishment is for a given crime. Dunne's killer should have received murder 1 for strangling her with his bare hands in front of her residence in broad daylight. If that isn't pure murder then I don't know what California qualifications are.

THT: "Robert, how is it mob rule? Mob rule to me implies the ACTIVE MINORITY carrying out their wishes, usually with force ..."

No ... mob rule can very much include the active majority too.

THT: "Again, what do the MAJORITY of people want? Fulfilling that will be the closest you get to it being a democratic process, barring a referendum on every case."

You're mixing justice with politics again.

Tragical History Tour said...

Blogger Robert C said...

You're mixing justice with politics again.

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No, you're stating what you think is justice but you are just one opinion. And ignoring that Parole Board members ARE political appointments themselves.

"Typically the board member is appointed by the state governor. This appointment is then confirmed by a legislative body, often the state senate. The chairperson in most instances is selected by the governor."

- Parole Board Members: Statutory Requirements, Educational Achievements, and Institutional Structure , J. Robey, E. Rhine

It varies from state to state, but that's the gist. If that's not political...

And your point re Dunne's goes back to an earlier comment I made about apparent light sentencing. And who made those laws? Wasn't politicians elected by a majority was it?

Tragical History Tour said...

I don't see how appointments of the judiciary, PB members etc can ever not be political, unless you get the crazy guy on the street corner to pull names out of a hat.

At some point, someone the people have elected gets the gig. Justice is therefore intrinsically political. The best you can hope for is to trust that those appointees then behave completely impartially. Good luck.

Anywho, great discussion, Robert. I'm off to the pub. The sun is well and truly over the yardarm.

Matthew said...

Tragic H said:
But these guys are a different level. There are people who probably feel like killing them despite their age or whether they are a threat or not, and certainly don't want to see them in society. I can see them being hounded and chased all over the country.

I could be wrong but I doubt very many people outside to those who closely follow these crimes or were effected by them would even know who Bruce Davis was or what his connections to the crimes were.

Robert C said...

Matthew said: "I could be wrong but I doubt very many people outside to those who closely follow these crimes or were effected by them would even know who Bruce Davis was or what his connections to the crimes were."

Agree, and people aren't chasing around those already out like Grogan, Fromme, Good, Brunner, Kasabian, etc.

Dan S said...

Kids don't even know who the Beatles are anymore

orwhut said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
orwhut said...

Before bring up Charles Manson in a conversation with a young person I ask if they know who he was. The last one I asked had only, "heard of him". There's seldom need to go further because most aren't interested.

Milly James said...

Currently there's some scandal associated with Marilyn Manson. Trent Reznor has publicly disassociated himself from his former friend. The man who occupied the site of 5 murders and named his home studio 'Pig'. The bloke who moved out, taking the formerly bloodied front doors with him. Pots and kettles ay?

John Seger said...

Lets all sing It together:
Neva gunna get it, neva gunna get it, nehhhhhhva gunna get it, neva gunna get it, neva gunna get it, neva gunna get it, neva gunna get it. Woh woh woh wohhhh.

Bobby said...

I couldn't agree more.

Kathy said...

I noticed you left Tex out. He also has parole hearings. Why the omission?

Kathy said...

I noticed you left Tex out. He also has parole hearings. Why the omission?

starviego said...

I think everybody agrees that Tex doesn't have a prayer of getting out.

Awaitingmyescapewithlove said...

I agree. Their sentences are harsh just because of Manson not because of what they did. The only ones who deserve to die in prison is Watson and Krenwinkle.