Saturday, August 20, 2011

In California, Victims' Families Fight for the Dead
The New York Times by Ian Lovett - August 19, 2011
Harriet Salarno, with a photo of a daughter killed in 1979. She and her daughter Nina Salarno Ashford, right, help represent victims at parole hearings.
SAN DIEGO — The other day, at the sprawling state prison here, Linda and Alfred Tay sat in a cramped, windowless room, just feet from the man serving time for murdering their son.  Quarters are close at parole hearings.  They listened as the inmate made his case for parole.  And then, exercising their rights as victims under California law, the Tays made their own case, pleading with the parole board not to grant freedom to the man who killed their son.   It was the second time they had gone through this painful ritual.  “We constantly have a shadow hanging over our lives,” Ms. Tay told the commissioners. “When you suffer such a horrific crime, there is never closure.”
The rights of families like the Tays to be heard has been a fundamental tenet of a movement since California passed its first victims’ bill of rights three decades ago — a model that has been followed by states across the nation.  Until recently, most of these parole hearings — however difficult they may have been for the family members — had little practical importance: inmates serving life sentences for murder were virtually never set free. Even on the rare occasions when the parole board granted a release, California’s two previous governors — Gray Davis, a Democrat, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican — almost invariably overturned it.  But now, with a United States Supreme Court mandate in May to reduce the populations of California’s overcrowded prisons, Gov. Jerry Brown has thus far upheld 207 of the parole board’s 253 decisions to release convicted killers. Already this year, more release dates granted to killers have been allowed to stand than in any year since governors got the power to reverse them.
As a result, these hearings have taken on a new urgency for victims’ family members — many of whom have seen themselves as the last line of defense between a killer and freedom — because inmates are now more likely than ever to be paroled.
For some family members, attending the hearings is cathartic, offering a voice to those who feel powerless in the wake of crimes that have upended their lives.  But even as victims have gained the right to be heard, the laws have also created unintended consequences — sometimes dividing families or resurrecting traumas year after year.  “The emotional experience is beyond words,” said Harriet Salarno, who has spoken at nine parole hearings, beginning in 1993, for the man who killed her daughter 32 years ago. “I’ve thought about not going many times. But I was fearful he would get out.”
Despite an increased possibility of parole, the emotional and financial burdens of attending hearings are too overwhelming for many families. Brandi Cambron, 29, testified last year against parole for her mother, who was convicted of murdering Ms. Cambron’s younger brother. But she did not return this year from her home in Virginia for the hearing near Los Angeles.  “As much as it’s fulfilling to go there and speak and be heard, it also reopened all these old wounds that I’d worked so hard to close,” she said.
California has led the way in passing victims’ rights laws.  It became the first state to allow victims’ families to speak at parole hearings, and in 1982 passed a victims’ bill of rights — one of the first major pieces of such legislation in the country.  More than 30 states have amended their constitutions to include similar measures.
Parole commissioners and victims’ rights advocates say that victim statements can have a major influence. They put a human face on a murder victim, who is often referred to only as “the deceased” during a parole hearing, and make it that much more difficult for the board to grant release.
Some victims who survived murder attempts show their scars — missing limbs or disfiguring burns — while relatives detail the emotional trauma they have endured.
“You need to be there so the board understands what this has done to your life,” said Nina Salarno Ashford, a lawyer with Crime Victims United, a group that helps represent some victims at parole hearings.  Ms. Salarno Ashford said the increase in parole grants upheld under Governor Brown makes it all the more important for victims to attend hearings.  “The governor seems not to be taking a hard-line stance as Davis or Schwarzenegger did,” she said. “It really highlights the necessity for victims to go to these hearings, so the parole board can feel the full impact of the crime.”
Perhaps no one has gone to as many parole hearings as Debra Tate, the sister of Sharon Tate, who was murdered in 1969 in the Manson Family killings.  She has, by her own count, spoken at dozens, perhaps even a hundred parole hearings: almost every one of those held for the Manson killers since the mid-1990s.  So far, only one of the members of Charles Manson’s murderous cult has died: Susan Atkins, in 2009.  A few weeks before Ms. Atkins’s death, Ms. Tate spoke at her final parole hearing.  On the day Ms. Atkins died, Ms. Tate wore all black, in memory of the murder victims.  “I cried one long alligator tear,” Ms. Tate said at the event. “It’s still a life lost. She had nieces and nephews.  It’s never just about one person.”  Over the course of 40 years, the two women had become part of each other’s lives.  But Ms. Atkins’s death was not a relief, Ms. Tate said.  “There are still so many hearings to go to.”
Article Submitted by Starship!!  Thanks Starship!!


katie8753 said...

Thanks Starship! Great article.

I'm surprised it doesn't mention Doris Tate. She fought long and hard for victim's rights.

That must be so hard for the victim's families, having to relive all those grisly details over and over.

I've often wondered how Doris Tate sat in the same room with Tex Watson, breathing the same air, listening to how he killed her daughter, without feeling the overwhelming desire to beat the putty out of him....or maybe she did!

My hat is off to her!!

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

"with a United States Supreme Court mandate in May to reduce the populations of California’s overcrowded prisons, Gov. Jerry Brown has thus far upheld 207 of the parole board’s 253 decisions to release convicted killers. Already this year, more release dates granted to killers have been allowed to stand than in any year since governors got the power to reverse them".

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Thanks Starship! Great Article!

katie8753 said...

I have a feeling that Jerry Brown is going to make a difference in this parole stuff.

He's more liberal, plus he'll make points with the taxpayers if he's saving them money.

Plus he used to date Linda Ronstandt. HA HA.

But...I still think the Manson clan is still on the hook. But...we'll see I guess.

I never thought that Casey Anthony would be found not guilty, so nothing is impossible. :)

v717 said...

Giovanni di Stefano: In my own, personal opinion the case is pretty unanswerable. Based upon the trial that took place in 1971, he should not be in prison. The important thing is figuring out if the Sixth Amendment been violated, and it’s quite clear that it has.
Manson is not guilty of murder in the first or second degree because all he told them to do was go and do something “witchy”. That is a far cry from asking them to go and murder someone, so he is in fact not guilty of anything. At the original trial this was never addressed.

katie8753 said...

Hi V717.

How was Charlie's 6th Amendment violated?

There was enough evidence to convince the jury that Charlie was definitely in charge of the group. He admitted to tying up Leno LaBianca, which involves him in murder.

v717 said...

What evidence?
Helter Skelter?

Marliese said...

Hi Katie,

diStefano's argument is that he's not interested in the facts of the murders, only how the trial was conducted...questioning if the judge applied the law fairly when he assigned a public defender to represent Charlie instead of allowing him to act his own attorney,
and if the law was followed regarding corroborating evidence, other than from an accomplice, for the order to kill...

katie8753 said...

V717, what I was referring to was Charlie's outlandish actions during the trial to disrupt and call attention to himself, and these antics were copied by the co-defendants and all the family members crawling around outside on the sidewalk, proving to anyone with any sense that Charlie was the irrefutable leader of this bunch.

He couldn't have done a better job convicting himself than he did.

These actions did occur, and can't be refuted.

katie8753 said...

Thanks Marliese.

Didn't the judge grant Charlie the power to represent himself, only to revoke it because he was acting so stupid?

Asking the judge to lock up all the attorneys on the case so it would be "fair" to him, asking the court to address him as "Charlie", etc.

I have to say all this attorney firing and "representing myself" crap came up in the Warren Jeffs trial. He was allowed to represent himself and he was found guilty in about 4 days.

I would say that Charlie, like Jeffs, wanted to represent himself so that he could (a) stall, stall, stall, (b) disrupt the court as often as possible and (c) have the option to question witnesses, knowing they would be too afraid of him to tell the truth.

The judge saw all of this too.

>>>Marliese said: and if the law was followed regarding corroborating evidence, other than from an accomplice, for the order to kill...>>>

I'm not sure what this means. The only person who said that Charlie ordered him to kill was Tex. Tex didn't testify at Charlie's trial that I know of.

The other testimony came from witnesses who just told what they knew about Charlie wanting to start a race war, etc.

katie8753 said...

The Sixth Amendment to the Constitution reads:

"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense."

V717, what part of this was denied to Charlie??

v717 said...

proving to anyone with any sense that Charlie was the irrefutable leader of this bunch.
I don´t agree with you in that, but anyhow that dosen´t prove that Charlie orded the killings.
Manson wanted to defend himself. That was refused. In his speach for defence the jury wasn´t allowed in the courtroom.
If Manson had been defended by a skilful lawyer there is no question about that the verdict had been quite different.
But real skilful lawyers cost an awful lot of money.
As it turned out Vincent Bug didn´t have any problems to prove that the defendent was guilty on all accounts.

katie8753 said...

V717, even F. Lee Bailey couldn't have gotten Charles Manson off because of his stupid antics during the trial. He called attention to himself over and over in a very negative way.

Kanarek was a good lawyer. What defense could he have presented? His client was uncontrollable, demonstrating to the jury that he was a dangerous, unbalanced person. He was constantly threatening and disrupting the court.

And people who are charged with murder, if they can't afford a lawyer, the court appoints a lawyer that they don't have to pay. That's the way life is.

Why should Charles Manson be any different?

"Oh, we'll make an exception for poor Charles Manson, and we'll pay an exhorbitant fee to a fancy defense lawyer out of the State of California's pocket, even though we don't have to and we never have before".

Get real!! If that was an excuse for a new trial, 9/10 of the criminals would be getting one.

And...Linda said he ordered her to kill Nader. But she can't be an accomplice because she wasn't charged and didn't kill anyone.

v717 said...

Kanarek was a good lawyer.
Okay! I tell you one thing. I wouldn´t had that guy as a counsel even for a parking offence.

Anonymous said...

kanarek was a nut.

katie8753 said...

Okay, so if you have to use a public defender, you get what you get.

It wasn't just that way for Charlie. It's that way for anyone who is accused of a crime and can't pay for a lawyer.

Why should Charlie get special treatment?

"Oh I'm sorry Charlie, since you can't afford an attorney, we'll drop the charges".

That is NOT a basis for a new trial.

BTW....who is paying for this scheister Stefano? Pro Bono?

Do you think this guy is good? He's a criminal, and his win/loss record sucks!!

katie8753 said...

Bottom line is, it wouldn't have mattered who "the defense du jour" was for Charlie.

He slit his own throat by his own actions.

He proved, beyond the shadow of any doubt, that he was a dangerous unstable person.

He threatened the jurors, the judge, the attorneys and the witnesses who testified against him. Threatened to kill them.

He was his own worst enemy.

It's too bad that he couldn't have just sat quietly and kept his mouth shut...but that's not Charlie.

If he wants to blame anyone for his guilty verdict, he needs to look in the mirror.

He can blame his own reflection. Period!

katie8753 said...

And it wasn't only Charlie threatening people.

His minion were on the sidewalk, loving the limelight, loving to talk about Charlie, loving to make sure everyone knew that if a guilty verdict was reached, that those involved would die.

Reminds me of a recent case that a jury was brave enough to convict because it was cult behavior.

Cult Behavior. Brainwashing....

ring any bells???

katie8753 said...

Oh, and BTW....

Charlie chose Kanarek.

So how is that an excuse for a new trial???? HMMMMMM.............


Anonymous said...

i'm not saying manson should get a new trial.
i'm just saying....
kanarek was a nut.

katie8753 said...

Actually Matt, Kanarek wasn't a nut.

He liked to use the annoying tool of constant objecting to delay the trial and confuse the jury.

But even Bugliosi thought he was a pretty good defense lawyer, but a pain in the ass.

There was a method to his madness.

Anonymous said...

in 1989 kanarek suffered a nervous breakdown and ended up in a locked psychiatric ward at harbor-ucla medical center,its uncertain how long he stayed there.
he then spent a couple of years in a 'rest home'
does that sound sane?

katie8753 said...

Matt...I don't care if he grew wings and flew across the Grand Canyon. I don't care if he laid golden eggs in a nest. I don't care if he farted out North Dakota.

Charlie wanted this guy.

The debate here is not that Kanarek was the best defense attorney there was...but is Charlie eligible for a new trial based on his defense attorney?

When you don't have any money because you don't fucking WORK, you get a court appointed defense lawyer.

Period. That's the way life is.

Charlie never worked an honest day in his life. He stole, pimped and murdered.

If you want to commit crimes and want to make sure you have a good attorney, make sure you even have a fucking JOB!!!

Otherwise you get what you pay for. Which is nothing.

Charlie has no basis for a new trial. Zero......Nada.

Just one more way of getting attention. Even negative attention is better than none. And Charlie can't live without attention.

katie8753 said...

You know Matt, during the trial, Charlie wasn't so concerned with his defense. He thought he could just threaten everyone's lives, and they wouldn't convict.

He was wrong.

No basis for a new trial.

BTW, have you read up on Stefano? This guy is a career criminal. He's been banned in many countries.

How can you say he's a good defense attorney???

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Matt said:
>>>>"i'm not saying manson should get a new trial.
i'm just saying....
kanarek was a nut".<<<<

I agree.

If my life hung in the balance, Kanarek is definitely not the lawyer I'd want representing me.

Near the end of the trial, Judge Older told Kanarek he was "totally without scruples, ethics, and professional responsibility." LOLOL

Don't quote me, but I'm pretty sure, on two occasions, Kanarek was even ordered to spend the night in county jail for contempt.

I also believe he was dis-barred in 1990.

The guy was a nutjob... no doubt.

As for whether or not Manson deserves a new trial, is a completely seperate issue, as Matt indicated.

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...


I "heard"... which obviously is not fact... but anyway... I "heard" DiStefano seeks-out famous (or infamous) "clients" intentionally... (that's his "MO") ....and that HE (DiStefano), approached Manson... not vice-versa.
It seems he's operating under the..."I'll get famous by representing famous people" theory.

Actually... I "heard" DiStefano even started filing papers in Manson's behalf, before consulting him.
That portion sounds kinda far-fetched, illegal, and fishy to me... but, that's what I heard anyway.

Anyone know for sure?

I really don't think this was Manson seeking "attention" at all.
Again... at least not from what I'm told.

From the little I've read on DiStefano, he seems like even more of a quack than Kanarek.
A couple articles even suggest DiStefano is a criminal, having serious felonies on his record.

It seems Manson may be courting an even worse lawyer this time around...

Any DiStefano experts??

Anonymous said...

i don't know anything about stefano.
i don't think i said or implied he was a good defense attorney.

i've always thought that manson did'nt really care who his lawyer was because he never thought anyone could sell the whole helter skelter thing to a jury.
he thought he'd get off through the lack of evidence against him, the others would go to jail.
he had'nt counted on a lawyer as determined(some would say underhanded)as bugliosi being able to sell the hs theory to a jury of twelve.
in my opinion thats why he treated the whole process with such disrespect.
he did'nt think they'd touch him so he was free to act the fool and disrupt everything and maybe get some fame out of the deal

Anonymous said...

told ya i did'nt know anything about him!

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Matt said:
>>>>"i don't know anything about stefano.
i don't think i said or implied he was a good defense attorney".<<<<

Matt... I never saw where you mentioned DiStefano at all.

I just discussed the guy, because Katie brought his name up.

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

I don't know much about the guy (DiStefano) myself.

Everything I know of him is "second-hand", which is basically worthless.

The man (DiStefano) doesn't interest me a whole lot (hence, my lack of research), mainly because I think the chances of Manson actually getting a new trial "for real", is remote.
I really believe deep down... "it ain't gonna happen"... and consequently... I can't get myself motivated to read about the guy (DiStefano)...

Who knows... I could be dead wrong... but, if Manson doesn't die in prison, I'd be shocked.

Anonymous said...

katie asked how can you say hes a good defense attorney and it seemed to be directed to me.
maybe i took it too literaly(sp?)
either way its time for me to crash.
see y'all later

katie8753 said...

Matt, I was really directing that question about di Stefano to V717, since he's the one who brought him up.

Sorry! :)

Anonymous said...

thats allright.

katie8753 said...

In my experience (which is limited) to studying cases where defendants decided to conduct their own defense, it has almost always turned out badly.

The court doesn't have the time to teach a lay person the letter of the law. So that person is basically entering an arena completely unprepared. Like the Christians vs the lions at the colliseum.

The judge will only put up with so much delay. After that, it's "ready or we come".

One thing to remember.

If you're ever on trial for your life with the charge of ordering horrific murders, don't spend the entire trial time making sure that everyone involved knows that if you're convicted, their lives are in danger.

Not a good thing to do. It only bolsters the DA's case against you. Very simple. :)

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Hi Matt.

Looking back, it was V717, who started the whole conversation regarding DiStefano, shortly after the thread went up.

V717's "DiStefano" comment, was the 5th comment on this thread.
Katie responded, then Marliese responded, then Katie... then I responded last... albeit much later.

I often jump on here, and respond to several comments randomly, when I have the time.
My comments (many times) are not directed at anyone specifically.
Basically... it's just me trying to play catch-up at the end of the day.

Truth be told, both my comments were directed towards Katie... as she was the one with the "bee in her bonnet" over Kanarek and DiStefano. LOL
Matt... I used your quote as a jump-off point for my initial comment regarding Kanarek (because I agreed with you)... but, it was actually Katie whom I was addressing.
In retrospect, I should have made that more clear.

Anonymous said...

its all good.
offtopic.. is it just me or does gadhafi look like gene simmons of kiss?

Anonymous said...

did this distefno guy take the manson thing upon himself or was this cms idea?

katie8753 said...

>>>Matt said: its all good.
offtopic.. is it just me or does gadhafi look like gene simmons of kiss?>>>

HA HAHA HA HA. He looks like a really OLD version of Gene Simmons.

Boy, that guy HAS to be dying his hair. No way is it still that black. He's probably got a stockpile of "Just for Men". HA HA.

katie8753 said...

Matt, from what I read, Di Stefano filed this appeal or whatever paperwork with some European entity (I'd have to go look the name of it up) to either get Charlie out or get him a new trial. He's basing this on the fact that Charlie didn't represent himself. He felt that Charlie didn't get a fair trial or something.

He had already requested this of Obama, and was turned down. That's why he went out of the country.

He supposedly did all of this before he even met Manson. Manson didn't request it.

I don't know how Charlie feels about it. Haven't read about that.

Someone else may have more info on this.

katie8753 said...

Matt, Lynyrd did a thread on this de Stefano guy a while back. There was an article on him. You might want to scroll back and read it.

katie8753 said...

Matt that thread is dated May 16, 2011. Scroll back to read it if you're interested.

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...

Funny thing... I had never watched the Gene Simmons reality show "Family Jewels" before last night...

But, it was featured on my computer's home-page last night... and I watched a one hour episode on my computer screen, 10 minutes before reading Matt's comment!! LOLOL
Consequently, his comment was all the more entertaining.
Perfect timing!! LOL
(I just haven't had a chance to communicate that until tonight)

I watched the episode where Gene "proposes" to his long-time girlfriend in Belieze.

YES... they do look alike.
The shoulder length jet black hair, coupled with the old haggard face has a lot to do with it. LOL

Anonymous said...

check this out

LynyrdSkynyrdBand said...


That's too funny Matt!

Did you find that before or after your comment?
According to the date... it must have been after.
What are the chances? hahaha

Anonymous said...

the similarity has struck me before. after i made the comment i googled gadhafi/gene simmons and found that i might have been the last person on earth to notice!