Soliah sprung after six years

posted at 7:50 am on March 21, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Former SLA terrorist and murderer Kathleen Soliah walked out of prison this week after serving six years of a twelve-year sentence. She got time off for good behavior and must serve three years on parole, but the LAPD union has already objected, as likely will the family of Myrna Opsahl, who got killed in an armed robbery in which Soliah participated:

Kathleen Soliah, a former member of the radical Symbionese Liberation Army, was released on parole this week from a California women’s prison after serving about six years behind bars for her role in a plot to kill Los Angeles police officers by blowing up their patrol cars.

The white-haired convict, who has changed her name to Sara Jane Olson, had been sentenced to 12 years in prison. Like most California inmates, Soliah earned credit against her sentence for working while in prison. She served on a maintenance crew that swept and cleaned the main yard of the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla, prison officials said.

The 61-year-old Soliah, who was released Monday, must now serve a three-year parole, although prison officials declined to provide the conditions of her release. …

She “attempted to murder LAPD officers by bombing two police cars,” said Tim Sands, president of the Police Protective League, which represents the city’s 9,300 rank-and-file officers. “She needs to serve her full time in prison for these crimes and does not deserve time off for working in prison. Criminals who attempt to murder police officers should not be able to escape justice simply because they have good lawyers.”

She did more than that, and she has hardly appeared remorseful for her crimes. Her participation in the bank robbery in a Sacramento suburb that resulted in Opsahl’s shotgun death should have made her guilty of first-degree murder. She pled down to second-degree murder after her conviction on the domestic terrorism charges in Los Angeles, from which she had run 23 years earlier. She also entered into a plea bargain for those charges of bomb-planting, but then immediately claimed she was innocent.

After grandstanding in this manner for a couple of weeks, the judge threatened to revoke the plea agreement and have her stand trial for the charges and be eligible for the life sentence they could have produced — after which she changed her tune. After that, she quickly pled out the Opsahl murder, which shocked her supporters here in Minnesota, who trusted Soliah when she said she was innocent of any murder. The demonstrations here on Soliah’s behalf stopped after Soliah’s plea threw cold water on their Free Sara Jane movement.

Her attorneys claim that Soliah represents no threat to the community and never should have been imprisoned in the first place. They base that claim on the non-violent life she led after fleeing California and going into hiding. In other words, they wanted California to credit her with becoming a successful fugitive for over 20 years while Opsahl’s family mourned and waited for justice.

Hogwash. Six years for domestic terrorism and murder is a joke. This is a woman who murdered a bank employee simply because she got in the way of their “revolution” and who attempted to murder Los Angeles police officers. Soliah should have served her entire sentence, which was already too short. She had twenty-three years of freedom before facing her crimes, twenty-three years that she and her Symbionese Liberation Army cohorts denied Opsahl.

Update: IrishSpy writes to correct me on the location of the armed robbery.  It took place in Carmichael, a suburb of Sacramento, and not Oakland.  I’ve corrected the text above.


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She probably has a spot waiting for her at MSNBC. I understand they canned Tucker.

Marcus on March 21, 2008 at 7:54 AM

They base that claim on the non-violent life she led after fleeing California and going into hiding.

She was hiding, judge, don’t you get that? She didn’t want to be punished, so she was hiding.

Excuse me while I go bang my head against the wall.

peacenprosperity on March 21, 2008 at 7:55 AM

When justice is denied by the court system, the government and the courts are inviting anarchy and vigilantism. Family members of murder victims will only be deterred from taking matters into their own hands when they believed justice will be done to their loved ones’ killers and when they believe the legal penalty for vigilantism is too high.

Six years is a joke for a terrorist who by all rights should have been executed years six years ago.

Flea on March 21, 2008 at 8:03 AM

pleaded, not pled.

Mandatory minimum sentences for certain crimes needs to be pushed at the state level!

rightside on March 21, 2008 at 8:04 AM

…mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent…

–Adam Smith

Another wonderful verdict from a lib judge that is just so much smarter than the rest of us.

JellyToast on March 21, 2008 at 8:07 AM

Good behaviour always gets me.

Well Mr Parol Board Person Man, she’s shown very good behaviour in relation to her crime. She hasn’t robbed anyone, shot anyone, or built one bomb while she was behind bars.

- The Cat

MirCat on March 21, 2008 at 8:13 AM

But she was simply misguided. Sure murder and attempted murder is wrong, but all she wanted to do was bring down the paternalistic capitalistic war-mongering American empire so it’s not like she was anything evil, like being (excuse the bad language) a Republican or a Christian Conservative.

/standard liberal excuse of leftist terrorism.

So does this mean Myrna Opsahl gets to be sprung from the grave? If not, then neither should those participating in the murder.

rbj on March 21, 2008 at 8:15 AM

P.S.

pleaded, not pled.

rightside on March 21, 2008 at 8:04 AM

Clicky and Clicky.

MirCat on March 21, 2008 at 8:17 AM

How many men are in prison for armed robbery? How many of those men started to serve their sentence before her trial began and will still be serving it long after she is paroled?

Let’s not forget that Patty Hearst should have been serving time for the same crime..she was the get away driver..she had an advantage though..Jimmy Carter petitioned Clinton to pardon her and he did..they knew full well indictments were coming down.

Pam on March 21, 2008 at 8:20 AM

The message is, attempt to kill some police officers, blow up some buildings and participate in other terrorists acts,, then just go into hiding, change your name, buy a house, start a new career and keep your nose clean long enough,, and yes, you too will escape justice! Can’t wait for the movie,, let me see, children’s books,, chocolate chip cookie recipes. Did the judge commend her as well for being such a role model for other American women?

JellyToast on March 21, 2008 at 8:37 AM

Just another example of the Dem campaign to “get the vote out”.

Keemo on March 21, 2008 at 8:38 AM

Defendants must be sentenced under the laws that were in effect at the time they committed their crimes. In the 70s, sentences were much lighter. Also, she can’t be denied conduct credits she earned in prison for early release. That being said, she is totally unrepentant and should have been denied parole on those grounds.

Blake on March 21, 2008 at 8:39 AM

Also, she can’t be denied conduct credits she earned in prison for early release.

Does that mean all of charlie mansons girls will soon be out on the street? I hear they’ve been model prisoners.

peacenprosperity on March 21, 2008 at 8:47 AM

Wasted youth

RobCon on March 21, 2008 at 8:48 AM

She is probably a key delegate for Obama, and got out rather than the entire State of California being taken to task by Obama’s Trinity Church SS.

Killing typical White cops is OK in the KKK of A.

Hening on March 21, 2008 at 8:48 AM

Ed:

Her participation in the bank robbery in Oakland that resulted in Opsahl’s shotgun death…

Myrna Opsahl was gunned down in Carmichael, CA, a suburb of Sacramento. I was in my junior year of high school there at the time.

irishspy on March 21, 2008 at 8:50 AM

Sounds like a potential buddy for Obama.

ctmom on March 21, 2008 at 8:50 AM

She’ll be in Wright’s pulpit in a few weeks…just the type of person his church embraces…

Just another example of the Dem campaign to “get the vote out”.
Keemo on March 21, 2008 at 8:38 AM

Good one

right2bright on March 21, 2008 at 8:54 AM

Breaking News: She’s taking a senior position with the Obama campaign. She’s coordinating public relations for the “Che loving” constituents in TX and the Weather Underground / Ayers wing of the Obama cult.

Alden Pyle on March 21, 2008 at 8:54 AM

Does that mean all of charlie mansons girls will soon be out on the street? I hear they’ve been model prisoners.

I was pointing out the illogic of the liberal court system when I wrote that but as I sit thinking about it, the psychological makeup of the manson followers and the idiot rich, white kids who played revolutionary are probably very similar. The same time in American history, lots of similar personal background. Also it seems the heinous criminals and the revolutionaries in the 60′s and 70′s often came from california or the northeast.

peacenprosperity on March 21, 2008 at 8:59 AM

May she always look over her shoulder for the rest of her born days.

lpierson on March 21, 2008 at 9:04 AM

Liberals love criminals but they hate the rest of us.

Steve McCullough on March 21, 2008 at 9:07 AM

Does that mean all of charlie mansons girls will soon be out on the street? I hear they’ve been model prisoners.

Oh, give it a rest. When the death penalty was declared constitutionally flawed in the 1970s, there was no life without parole on the books. So, they were required to sentence Manson & Co. to life with parole. Their parole hearings are televised and I have yet to see any indication that the parole board intends to release them, now nor in the distant future.

Blake on March 21, 2008 at 9:19 AM

Disgusting.

Zorro on March 21, 2008 at 9:30 AM

The fact that she is a middle class white female bears on the short length of her sentence.

SunSword on March 21, 2008 at 9:33 AM

Wow, I built that prison.
They should have left her in for a lot longer if she shows no remorse, isn’t that kinda the point of prison?

Geronimo on March 21, 2008 at 9:36 AM

Oh, give it a rest.

Sorry, I didn’t realize their were nuance and irony deficient readers here this morning.

peacenprosperity on March 21, 2008 at 9:45 AM

Convicted domestic terrorist released early. Sad and disgusting!

I wonder — when will she be having dinner with the Obamas? After all, they are close personal friends with other domestic terrorists celebrated by the Left. Why not her?

RhymesWithRight on March 21, 2008 at 9:55 AM

I thought Opsahl wasn’t a bank employee, she was a church worker taking the collection plate proceeds to the bank. I remembered it because when I heard it I thought if somebody had written a backstory for an innocent character on a tv show that way, it would probably be considered over the top.

MargaretMN on March 21, 2008 at 10:10 AM

I don’t even think 12 years was enough….

Capitana on March 21, 2008 at 10:11 AM

Sounds like a potential buddy for Obama.

ctmom on March 21, 2008 at 8:50 AM

Exactly. She will immediately become a Team Leader on his domestic policy group.

Jaibones on March 21, 2008 at 10:14 AM

Blake on March 21, 2008 at 9:19 AM

I am not so sure we should give it a rest. Let’s look at Susan Atkins. She has been a model prisoner, accepted responsibility for her crime, and has shown remorse..isn’t that “rehabilitation” by definition? Isn’t that the goal of the prison system? She wasn’t handed a death sentence, she got 7 years to life..without her, they more than likely wouldn’t have gotten the others convicted..October 1 will mark her 39th year of incarceration..

So one the one hand, you have a woman that murdered a person and evaded the police, she is set up as a model citizen because of her productivity while eluding the police. She shows no remorse for the crime. On the other hand, you have a woman that confessed to her crime, helped with the convictions of her accomplises, has been a mentor while incarcerated, and the reviews she gets from the prison system are glowing..

The unrepentent gets 6 years, while the poster child for what prison is supposed to accomplish gets 39 years +!

I don’t think giving it a rest is an option.

Pam on March 21, 2008 at 10:26 AM

She’ll probably end up in the front pew of Obama’s church.

profitsbeard on March 21, 2008 at 10:28 AM

It looks like she also got a reduction for time-served, as her sentencing hearing was February 14, 2003.

eeyore on March 21, 2008 at 10:28 AM

Flea on March 21, 2008 at 8:03 AM

Amen to that. Many argue that it is religion that holds us together, and while I agree that it is part of the glue it is the rule of law that binds us as a nation. A review of the founding of Denver, and Colorado in general, is a perfect example of what Flea said. The government was inept in enforcing the law so the people enforced it under the cottonwood trees. It might have been ugly, and uneven, but it damn sure got the government to wake the hell up. I’m not advocating such a fate for this scumbucket but six years for murder is a crime in itself.

Limerick on March 21, 2008 at 10:55 AM

FROM: “Ex-cops, prosecutors tell of long road to SLA arrests, charges”
By Jim Wasserman, The Associated Press, 2002-01-18
http://www.berkeleydailyplanet.com/issue/2002-01-18/article/9624/print

EXCERPT: [After Olson pleaded guilty in October to the attempted Los Angeles bombing, Scully said, she assigned investigators to re-examine the 1975 case. That review included new evidence. Affidavits filed in Sacramento Superior Court for Wednesday’s arrests revealed many of the details, including items found at the SLA’s San Francisco “safe house.” The FBI also linked shotgun pellets found in Myrna Opsahl to ammunition from the SLA house. The files also say Olson’s palm print, taken during her 1999 arrest, matches palm prints on the door of a Sacramento garage where the group stored a getaway car.]

RBMN on March 21, 2008 at 11:10 AM

Kathleen Soliah walked out of prison this week after serving six years of a twelve-year sentence. She got time off for good behavior and must serve three years on parole

I have a huge problem with this among other things but she did 6 years on 12 ,she got 3 years off for GB and only has 3 years that still hangs over her head i.e. parole. Her GB time should not be a wash as her parole / time on paper should be the full 6 years of her unfinished sentence. I hope she gets a ball busting parole officer and gets violated every 6 months.

Mojack420 on March 21, 2008 at 11:11 AM

The least she should do is some community service. Maybe she should be made to picket the Marine recruiting offices in Berkeley. Sheesh!

TooTall on March 21, 2008 at 11:18 AM

She’s the kind of “white person” Obama can respect. Sara Jane, meet Obama’s pal Bill Ayers.

Cicero43 on March 21, 2008 at 11:26 AM

She planned on killing cops?
And she still breathes, why?
Sometimes you just wish there really was a “Star Chamber”.

ataloss on March 21, 2008 at 11:34 AM

How long before she gets a tenured job at a university (probably in education or “peace studies”)?

Travis Bickle on March 21, 2008 at 12:31 PM

Ten bucks says if someone kills her as “revenge” they’d get the death penalty…

Tim Burton on March 21, 2008 at 12:33 PM

The judge has a soft spot for women who look like they were the product of inbreeding, heck, maybe they’re cousins.

The Rule of Law died at the hands of the Clintons; it’s a miracle that this woman ever went to jail at all. As for what i think her sentence should be, well, I must not speak of it.

Christine on March 21, 2008 at 2:17 PM

She planned on killing cops?
And she still breathes, why?

ataloss on March 21, 2008 at 11:34 AM

If she pulled her crap in Chicago she wouldn’t be free or breathing now…

Liberty or Death on March 21, 2008 at 2:36 PM

Just in time to join either Hillary or Obama’s campaign. I wonder which one she is for.

gary fouse on March 21, 2008 at 2:37 PM

Oh great! Ed, does this mean she’s coming back here? Where are we gonna find a tough parole officer in MN? Any bets Betty McCollum, Amy Klobochar and Collen Rowley will become friends of hers?

MNDavenotPC on March 21, 2008 at 2:56 PM

Let’s be honest. Manson and his family WILL get out. It’s only a matter of time. There’s a lot of support for their release by the Liberal Left. Which broadly approves of the murders. That a couple of Manson family nutcases tried to kill President Ford only increases the appetite for letting them out.

As long as the families of the victims can raise a big stink politically, the Democrats won’t be able to do what they want to: let Manson out. But as soon as that ability to make people pay politically changes, yep the Mansons will be out. Probably guesting on Ellen and/or Oprah. Their audience in particular loves that stuff. Most of the Free Mumia crowd seems made up of white women.

whiskey_199 on March 21, 2008 at 4:18 PM

What do you meen hardly remorseful. She was extremely remorseful that she got pulled over that day in St Paul. Not about anything else, just that she got caught.

oakpack on March 21, 2008 at 5:04 PM

Incredible. A genuine domestic terrorist. And she served 6 years…

How disgusting.

darkpixel on March 21, 2008 at 5:22 PM

Well, she’s got a lot to answer for when she gets to where Mrs. Opsahl was sent–but I’m guessing she’ll head in a different direction shortly after that.

Bob's Kid on March 21, 2008 at 6:49 PM

she is dwue to take up a position in the same law school the weather underground inhabits. Thats after she does a victory tour of the US at $25,000 a pop.

davod on March 21, 2008 at 6:56 PM

Most of the Free Mumia crowd seems made up of white women.

whiskey_199 on March 21, 2008 at 4:18 PM

Not surprisingly, isn’t that precisely who he most wanted to murder?
When will liberals ever learn?

Vntnrse on March 21, 2008 at 7:29 PM

Probably chose her name in “solidarity” with Sara Jane Moore.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sara_Jane_Moore

Django on March 21, 2008 at 10:37 PM

A face only a mother could love.

labrat on March 22, 2008 at 3:06 AM