Are some crimes so heinous that the perpetrators should never be considered for parole?
We think so. We think many of our readers agree.
This is the case of Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, imprisoned in California for more than five decades for the murder of presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy.
On June 5, 1968, Robert F. Kennedy was at a rally of supporters at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles to celebrate his victory in the state Democratic primary for the party’s presidential nomination.
As he left through the hotel kitchen, shots rang out. Kennedy, 42, was shot and died the following day.
The assassin, Sirhan, was caught with the gun drawn. He was tried and sentenced to death, later commuted to life.
Sirhan has been in jail ever since. Over the years, he applied for parole more than a dozen times and was denied each time.
He tried again last year. And the state parole board voted to recommend Sirhan’s release.
Fortunately, the decision was not automatic. And after review, Governor Gavin Newsom rejected the council’s recommendation.
We don’t often find common ground with the liberal Newsom, but in this case, we’re all for it.
Now Sirhan and his lawyers are in court, hoping a judge will overturn Newsom’s decision. Their argument is that under state law he should be released if he poses no threat to public safety. They also cite state law which states that his age at the time of the crime – 24 – and his current age of 78 should be taken into consideration.
If Sirhan is successful in his appeal, we hope that Newsom will take legal action. Maybe even before the Supreme Court of the United States. Given the current composition of this body, we believe it is likely that the Governor would prevail.
The assassination of presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy more than five decades ago today remains a black crime not only against a man and his family, but against our nation. Indeed, a crime against our entire democratic system.
In our opinion, Sirhan is exactly where he belongs. He should stay there.