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Leslie Van Houten (Approve Parole) State of California

Leslie Van Houten (Parole Approval 2013)

"The record and recommendations as they now stand are completely without any explanation of reason and are of no assistance to this court."

Superior Court Judge Bob Krug ordered the parole board to report back to him within 60 days to show "some evidence" why Leslie Van Houten, serving a life sentence for her role in two killing sprees in 1969, should not be released and what she must do to rehabilitate herself to gain parole.

He said Van Houten, who was 19 at the time of the crimes, has been a model citizen in the 30 years since her incarceration, completing all available prison programs and assisting other inmates with these programs.

"There is no reason given or stated by the board of any evidence in the record from which it can be determined factually why the [board] found that the gravity of the crime outweighed the other factors to be considered," Krug said in his ruling late Monday.

Krug said the heinous nature of the crimes was the "sole basis on which the board based its decision in denying" parole.

"To hold that the gravity of the offense outweighs all of the positive factors ... without some supporting reasoned factual basis is arbitrary and capricious," the judge said.

The board's decision means Van Houten is serving "a sentence of life without parole, a sentence unauthorized by law," he said.

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