Ruling in the case of former Manson family member Charles (Tex) Watson, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said prisoners with indeterminate sentences are entitled to parole reviews annually.
Watson was sentenced to death in 1971 for his part in the Charles Manson family slayings of seven people, including the murders at the home of actress Sharon Tate above Benedict Canyon. The sentence was later modified to life in prison, and Watson is incarcerated at the California Men’s Colony at San Luis Obispo.
“The state of California gave its prisoners an expectation of annual parole review pursuant to a specified standard,” the court said in an opinion written by Judge Cynthia Holcomb Hall. “The state may not now retrospectively take that expectation away.”