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article imageOp-Ed: L.A. Cops Demand Parole in California for Ex-SLA Member

By Sandy Sand     Mar 11, 2009 in Crime
In what sounds more like an act of retribution to further punish former SLA member Sara Jane Olson to keep her away from kith and kin in Minnesota, Los Angeles police requested that she remain in California to serve out her parole.
Also sounding like a swipe at Minnesota, the League's President Paul M. Weber said:
"We do not believe that the state of Minnesota has a sufficient interest in ensuring that Ms. Soliah does not violate her conditions of parole. The responsibility to ensure that Ms. Soliah follows each and every requirement of parole is one which should be undertaken by the state of California, not 'outsourced' to another state.“
Weber added:
“Ms. Soliah should be allowed to travel to another state when she fulfills her obligations to California, and not a minute before."
Taking the opposite view is Southwestern Law School Prof. Robert Pugsley, who said he understood the police union’s “emotional concern,” but as a practical matter Minnesota:
"…would be no less concerned than California with someone who had her track record."
Pugsley added that it’s always in the best interests of everyone when parolees are located in a place where they are likely to find work, or have some sort of support network.
Viewing the situation from another angle, University of California, Irvine, law professor Henry Weinstein said:
…given prison overcrowding and the state's budget woes, California should be happy if Minnesota is willing to take responsibility for Olson.
"Unless they (the Police Protective League) can show some reason why Minnesota is not going to do a good job in supervising her, it strikes me as a bad argument, Minnesota is not exactly some third world country. I don't see what their argument is, other than wanting their pound of flesh to keep her here."
It’s a bit of an irony, when considering that if Olson, 62, known by her real name, Kathleen Soliah in her SLA (Symbionese Liberation Army) days, would have been on parole instead of a fugitive from the law all those years, she probably wouldn’t have violated her parole anyway.
Accused of hiding nail-packed explosive devices under police cars in Los Angeles that were discovered before being detonated, Soliah fled the state, married Dr. Gerald Peterson and lived with him in Zimbabwe before the couple settled in St. Paul, Minn.
Soliah/Olson had three daughters and settled into the quiet life of a homemaker without revealing her past to anyone.
Her years-long charade quickly unraveled in 1999 when she was featured on television’s America’s Most Wanted. She was arrested, brought back to California, stood trial and was convicted on charges of attempted murder.
After serving six years of a 12-year sentence she was paroled and ready to step on a plane to return to Minnesota when she was re-arrested and taken back to prison after being formed that a “computer error” was responsible for her being prematurely released from prison.
She is finishing out her sentence in Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla, and should know if her request to be released to Minnesota’s jurisdiction is approved or denied by the time she gets out of prison later this month.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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