In 1968 Charles Manson, along with a couple others, murdered multiple people in a Los Angeles home rented by Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate. This murder incident, later known as the Manson Murders, was more brutal than any other murder case before. The incident stunned the public and gave investigators and police a run for their money trying to identify who the murderers could be. A few months later Charles Manson and his crew were arrested for the Manson Murders and sentenced to the death penalty.
During this time period the death penalty in California was still allowed but in 1972 the death penalty was taken away, which allowed the Manson crew to stay alive. Due to the fact that the death penalty in California was made unconstitutional, the Manson family was not sentenced to the death penalty which became controversial because of their actions. For Charles Manson, this was not his first time in jail. “He spent the 50‘s and 60‘s largely locked up, with the exception of brief paroles, which were always broken. (Ross) None of his earlier crimes were as bad as the Manson murders but on April 24, 1972, the Supreme Court of California ruled that the current death penalty laws were constitutional, which reduced the sentence of death towards the Manson family to life imprisonment. Many people would argue that this was not the right thing to do considering the Manson family murdered multiple people brutally and were meant to be sentenced to death from the beginning. In 1978 the death penalty in California was reinstated.
This happened because they held all capital punishment statutes then in effect in the U. S. to be unconstitutional. Even though they saw the death penalty as unconstitutional, so were the crimes committed during the time, so they made exceptions for certain crimes. In 2006 California put a moratorium on the death penalty. This meant that the death penalty was suspended for a certain amount of time. Instead of the death penalty, legal injections were introduced. Still with the changes in the death penalty to lethal injections, there were still concerns about it being unconstitutional. District court Judge Jeremy Fogel declared that California’s death penalty statue violated the Eighth Amendment, specifically citing concerns regarding the state’s lethal injection protocol. ” (Head). “When the trial began on June 15, 1970, it took five weeks to seat a jury. This was a capital case and the judge sought to make sure the jurors had no objection to the death penalty. ” (Scott) But with all these changes in the death penalty, the Manson family was not in harms way for being put back on the death penalty.
They were given the sentence of life imprisonment which allowed them to keep their lives after taking so many others. The Manson family was saved from the fate that they should have had. When talking to Charles Manson about his family and followers, according the Helter Skelter, Charles Manson made a remark saying: “They would die for me” and Vincent Bugliosi replied saying: “Well, they might get their chance to. ” I do not think that it was right for California to sentence them to the death penalty and then reduce the sentence to life imprisonment after everything that happened.
They should have had the death penalty once charged with it. In conclusion, the change in the California death penalty changed the Manson family’s lives. They were able to be commuted to life imprisonment instead of the death penalty. Many people would disagree with the choice that was made to not keep them on the death penalty sentence but others think it is fair to have life imprisonment, which is nearly as bad as the death penalty. Nevertheless, they were all guilty of a nasty crime that changed our outlook on a family and it is a brutal murder that will never be forgotten.