The Latest: Court wonders if it can rule on Manson cult case

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on whether Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten should get parole (all times local):

12 p.m.

A California appeals court is questioning whether it has the jurisdiction to decide whether Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten should be freed from prison or whether it becomes moot after the governor weighs in.

A three-judge panel with the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles heard arguments Wednesday on whether Van Houten deserves parole. They’re deciding whether to uphold a lower court’s ruling denying her parole.

It comes after a parole board recommended Van Houten’s release in January. The decision is undergoing a five-month review process before heading to Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The judges gave attorneys on both sides five days to explain how a decision by Newsom would affect the case. If Newsom denies Van Houten parole, the judges want to know whether they still would have jurisdiction to rule.

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12:01 a.m.

Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten is getting another chance at getting out of prison.

Van Houten’s attorney will argue that she deserves to be paroled at a hearing before California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal in Los Angeles on Wednesday. The 69-year-old Van Houten is not expected in court herself.

Her attorney, Rich Pfeiffer, will be arguing his appeal of a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge’s ruling last year denying parole for Van Houten. That ruling upheld then Gov. Jerry Brown’s decision that Van Houten should not be freed.

Pfeiffer says he’s never been more optimistic about Van Houten’s release.

He says she’s completely rehabilitated and “there’s not a better inmate in California.”

A 19-year-old Van Houten was among the followers in Manson’s cult who fatally stabbed a wealthy grocer and his wife in 1969.

Categories: California News