A federal judge dismissed portions of a lawsuit that claimed former Manson family member Susan Atkins is a political prisoner because of Gov. Gray Davis’ policy opposing parole for most murderers.
U.S. District Judge Robert J. Timlin ruled Wednesday that Atkins cannot sue the state, its Department of Corrections, the Board of Prison Terms and three board commissioners. The judge said the commissioners are immune from prosecution for their official actions, and the U.S. Constitution bars her from taking action against the state and its agencies unless they consent to be sued.
The article continues: “Atkins, 55, is serving a life sentence along with Charles Manson and three others for their roles in a series of 1969 murders. Atkins confessed at trial that she stabbed pregnant actress Sharon Tate to death but has recanted, saying she was only present at the killing.” Read the whole thing here from the AP.
I agree that Gov. Davis’ apparent blanket prohibition against granting parole is troublesome. And I feel sorry for Ms. Atkins, whose role in a crime 35 years ago — when all agree she was on drugs and basically a child — is somewhat murky.
But, on the other hand, it is hard to imagine any governor who would like to see members of “the Manson family” paroled on his (or her) political watch. My unfortunate advice to Ms. Atkins is: Get used to it. You’ll likely die in there.