John Balazs is an attorney in Sacramento, California, specializing in criminal defense, including appeals, habeas corpus, pardons, expungements, and civil forfeiture actions. After graduating from UCLA Law School in 1989, he clerked for Judge Harry Pregerson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. John was an Assistant Federal Defender in Fresno and Sacramento from 1992-2001. Please email EDCA items of interest to Balazslaw@gmail.com. Follow me on twitter @balazslaw.
This blog is for informational purposes only. Nothing in this blog should be construed as legal advice. The law can change rapidly and information in this blog can become outdated. Do your own research or consult with an attorney.
Nearly 39 years after the former Manson “family” member leveled a Colt .45-caliber pistol at President Gerald R. Ford in Sacramento’s Capitol Park, one of the last and most intriguing pieces of evidence from the case has been made available to the public: the audio tape of [Lynette "Squeaky"] Fromme’s pretrial psychiatric examination while she was being held in jail.
The 132-minute recording offers a glimpse into the mindset of the would-be assassin and her matter-of-fact demeanor as she tries to convince the psychiatrist that she should be allowed to act as her own lawyer at trial.
U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller granted release of the recording in response to a motion filed in November by The Sacramento Bee. The judge’s order, issued last week, followed her decision in August to release another historic piece of evidence: the videotaped deposition of President Ford, part of the evidence used by the government to obtain a guilty verdict from a jury.
The Fromme recording, portions of which can be heard on www.sacbee.com/history, was made Sept. 21, 1975, just more than two weeks after Fromme, then 26, aimed her pistol at the president while he was on his way to a meeting with then-and-current Gov. Jerry Brown.
The gun did not go off. Fromme was wrestled to the ground by a Secret Service agent, a Sacramento police officer and bystanders, and was arrested.
During the recording, Fromme speaks clearly and confidently about her ability to represent herself and win an acquittal. She also discusses her past drug use and her interactions with convicted mass murderer Charles Manson.
Today's Sacramento Bee has a piece by Denny Walsh and Sam Stanton on the EDCA's recent order releasing the video of President Ford's 1975 testimony in the Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme assassination attempt federal trial upon the request of the EDCA historical society.
The video of President Ford's testimony is available here.
CNN.com is reporting today that Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, now 60, is scheduled to be paroled from federal prison on August 16, after 34 years of incarceration. She was convicted of attempting to assassinate president Gerald Ford at Sacramento's Capital Park on September 5, 1975. Sacramento Bee Photo Gallery. The Federal Defender, then E. Richard Walker, was originally appointed to represent Fromme. Attorney John Virga represented Fromme at her Sacramento federal court trial before U.S. District Judge Thomas J. MacBride.Although Wiki's Lynette Fromme page can give you the details on her life history, I like this recounting of Fromme's sentencing from the Eastern District Court History Page:
A dramatic incident occurred at Fromme's sentencing. U. S. Attorney Duane Keyes was in the midst of asking Judge MacBride to hand down the most severe punishment. At that point Fromme removed an apple from under her red cloak and hurled it towards the bench. The apple smashed on Mr. Keyes right temple and knocked off and broke his glasses. Spectators were aghast and the court silent. Judge MacBride calmly asked Fromme if she had any more apples in her cloak. "No," she said, "that one was meant for you!" Judge MacBride replied, "That's what I was afraid of." He then proceeded to sentence Fromme to life imprisonment.