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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sara Jane Olson RE-ARRESTED!

Please click onto the COMMENTS for the story.


Blogger Bob said...

Hi All,

Sara Jane Olson was re arrested at the airport on her return trip to Saint Paul.

The corrections department in California claim they made a technical miscalculation of her sentence and mistakenly released her.

Below is the story of her release.

St. Paul / Reactions mixed to Olson release
SLA victim's son angry; friends here welcome the news
Staff and wire reports

Article Last Updated: 03/21/2008 11:23:33 PM CDT

Sara Jane Olson's release from a California prison this week sparked an angry response from the son of a woman killed in a Symbionese Liberation Army bank heist in which Olson took part.

But the former fugitive turned Highland Park housewife will be welcomed back by friends she still has here, several said, when she returns to St. Paul, reportedly by today.

Olson, formerly Kathleen Soliah, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 14 years in prison for the attempted bombings of Los Angeles police cars in 1975 for the SLA, the terrorist group that kidnapped newspaper heiress Patty Hearst.

Olson also pleaded guilty in 2003 to second-degree murder in the 1975 shooting death of Myrna Opsahl in an SLA bank robbery in Carmichael, a Sacramento suburb. Olson drove the getaway car. She was serving a concurrent six-year sentence in that case.

Yet Olson, now 61, walked out of the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla on Monday. She served six years.

"She's out of prison too soon by far," said Jon Opsahl, 48, son of the dead woman. "It's another in a series of slaps in the face of victims by the justice system."

On Friday morning, when Jon Opsahl's daughter turned on the television in Southern California, he found out about Olson's release.

"There it was on TV: 'Sara Jane Olson has been released from prison,' " he said. "That's a good four years before when I thought she would be released."

He said he planned to call the Sacramento district attorney for more information, as he could not make sense of the short time period.

Initially, Olson was sentenced to a combined 20 years — 14 for the attempted murders of the police officers in Los Angeles and six for Opsahl's slaying.

"Somewhere along the line, she evidently got the 14 years reduced to 12, and then somewhere along the line she got the six years to be served concurrently with the L.A. crime. And now, to get time off for good behavior is just crazy. I count that she just served six years in prison," Opsahl said.

After the 1975 crimes, Kathleen Soliah disappeared.

Born in Fargo, N.D., and raised in Barnesville, Minn., she renamed herself Sara Jane Olson, moved to the Twin Cities and met Dr. Gerald "Fred" Peterson, who now works as an emergency room physician at United Hospital in St. Paul.

She became involved in local theater and progressive causes.

The couple spent a few years in Zimbabwe, where Peterson worked as a physician and Olson taught drama and English, according to friends and relatives.

They had their second daughter while living abroad.

The family returned to the United States and resettled in the Twin Cities in the mid-1980s.

The couple lived in a handsome Tudor home in Highland Park and raised three daughters until the FBI caught up with Olson in 1999.

Local friends said they'd welcome her return.

Andy Dawkins, a former state representative, met Olson in the late 1970s through her husband and Pressure Drop, a reggae band in which Peterson played trumpet. Dawkins said Friday he was "so happy for the family" that she was released.

"She's got three wonderful children and a faithful husband," Dawkins said. "Their family was able to stay intact."

He said he was as surprised as anyone when Olson was initially arrested. But he was among those who believed her St. Paul years revealed her true character.

"I think that was really who she was, was the person that we knew," he said.

Peter Rachleff, a Macalester College history professor who knew Olson through the theater community, said he believed she had fulfilled her debt to society and then some.

"I wasn't sure that she was responsible for what she had pled guilty to," he said. "That was a way out of the mess that seemed to be getting deeper and deeper. And that happened a long time ago, and many of us were different people a long time ago."

Jason Lewis, a conservative talk-show host at KTLK-FM in Minneapolis, accused liberals of applying a "grotesque double standard" when it comes to terrorist acts committed by the left.

"That's what drives people like me nuts," Lewis said.

Emily Gurnon contributed to this report.

8:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As much as I dislike the idea that she was released, I dislike what's happened even more! Typical Government changing the rules as they go based on some poll somewhere.

1:22 AM  
Blogger Bob said...

Sara's new release date is March
17, next year.

7:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is interesting are the comments by some of the more progressive members of the DFL Party about this mess and past comments excusing her actions in the 1970s.

It seems that they are working on a new cookbook to sell to raise more money for her defense.

The jailer who made the mistake should be disciplined, but the fact she was let early by mistake does not mean she should not serve out her term.

It is just like the IRS sending you a refund check in an amount much higher than you should have received because of a computer error. Once noticing the error they then ask for it back.

Sara Jane could have said, I think you have made a mistake my release date is not for a year of more. I tried to kill cops and civilians and I should have to serve more time because I was involved in a bank robbery that killed a wife and mother.

What do you think the parole board would have said if they heard that she recognized a mistake and took it upon herself to correct? Sara Jane would out of jail in a New York minute.

7:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really hate to give the criminal justice system any credit, but they really pulled it off this time.

That "April fools" release was sheer poetry.

8:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting that the only thing that your friend and mine, Andy Dawkins, could point to as a 'positive' thing Kathleen Soliah had going for her was her children and faithful husband - the family she LIED to all those years. What has she given to society besides that? We don't want or need her back in Minnesota.

9:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:52 AM,

She read to children, hid out in Minnesota, lied to her family and wrote a cookbook and she was an active progressive DFLer.

You see these progressive DFLers feel they do not have to obey the laws that they make and the law does not apply to them. This is evident with others on the city council and city government.

Sara Jane Olson is one the best examples of a progressive DFLer. The sad thing is only a few progressive DFLers have been outed here. There are many more.

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They will al be "outed," one by one when the landlords trial starts next year.

1:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you were always nuts.

1:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have never personally known someone that robbed a bank and killed a women in the process. I also do not know anyone that tried to murder a police officer.

That is because I refuse to associate with such criminals. I expect my associates – business and social – to meet a standard that such a criminal would never meet.

People make mistakes and I do forgive them. But murder during a bank robbery? Attempted murder of police? That is not a childhood mistake; that shows a deep lack of morals.

I am surprised Mr. Dawkins -- a former elected official and community leader – would accept and stand by anyone that could commit such vicious crimes. It tells me a lot about the depth of morals Mr. Dawkins expects of his friends and associates. I find it frightening.

7:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about letting lenny peltier out of prison !!

11:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not only did Dwakins "stand by her," I believe he appeared in court on behalf of Sara's fine character! Yet he wants a landlord in jail for having a bag of trash on the ground the day before the pick up day for garbage.

2:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said... 11:37 PM
How about letting lenny peltier out of prison !!

I agree.
They planed to releasing the Indian actives, then the FBI protested and put a halt to it.
Leonard paid his dues, now let him out.
Maybe he was framed?
Government has its way to make thing look opposite of what really happend.

6:42 AM  
Anonymous Jeff Matiatos said...

Leonard Peltier may or may not have been in part responcible for the deaths of 2 FBI agents though he was not permitted to plead self defence at his trial and the Government witheld evidnce.

He is currently serving 2 life sentences and the 8th circut Judge
hearing his plea even thinks Peltier should be released and that the FBI was equally responcible in the shootout.

Sara Jane Olsons 6 year sentence
is peanuts compared to what Leonard got.

Leonard Peltier has distinguished himself as a model inmate and has served his time (guilty or not).

Free this man.

Jeff Matiatos

9:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"DAWKINS" what a dillrod!Chuck you stand behind this fine character also?


9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Olson's release blamed on error made in '05
Clerk inadvertently shortened term, state says; defense will challenge re-arrest
By Michael Rothfeld and Andrew Blankstein
Los Angeles Times
Article Last Updated: 03/25/2008 12:06:44 AM CDT

This police booking photo released by California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Monday, March 24, 2008, shows former 1970s radical Sara Jane Olson. (AP Photo/California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation) (AP)SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sara Jane Olson's premature release from state prison last week was the result of a clerical error made three years ago, officials said Monday.

The mistake occurred in early 2005, when a worker updated the former Symbionese Liberation Army member's prison file — and inadvertently cut two years off her term.

Olson was freed March 17, then re-arrested Saturday after being detained at Los Angeles International Airport as she prepared to fly home to St. Paul. She will have to serve only one more year if she works and remains free of discipline while in prison.

Meanwhile, one of her attorneys, David Nickerson, said he intends to file a court motion today challenging the state's authority to re-arrest Olson. The motion will ask that she be freed immediately because her due process rights were violated.

Olson, formerly known as Kathleen Soliah, had been given a 16-year term for two crimes by the state parole board in 2002. She received 14 years for a 1975 plot to kill Los Angeles police officers by blowing up their patrol cars and two years for second-degree murder in a Sacramento bank robbery during which a customer was killed by another SLA member.

The radical SLA was best known for kidnapping newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst. After the 1970s crimes, Olson, now 61, spent 24 years as a fugitive until being apprehended in 1999 in St. Paul, where she was married to a physician and raised three daughters in Highland Park.

After she was sent to prison, her lawyers challenged the sentence in the Los Angeles case. Based on a ruling by a state Superior Court judge, the parole board held a hearing in 2004 and ordered Olson's sentence in that case reduced from 14 to 13 years, said Alberto Roldan, chief deputy general counsel for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Counting the two years she received in the Sacramento case, the new sentence should have been 15 years, according to Roldan, who said he reviewed Olson's file Saturday. But an employee, called a correctional case records worker, read the minutes of the parole board hearing and, in updating the file, reduced Olson's sentence too much.

The employee "inadvertently entered it in, reducing the overall term from 16 years to 13 years," Roldan said.

He said that error occurred Jan. 18, 2005, probably at the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla, where Olson was incarcerated.

From that point on, the mistake was codified in Olson's case file. Last year, based on another court challenge by her lawyers, the state knocked another year off her sentence in the Los Angeles case.

With credit for good behavior and work she performed in prison, she was released last week after serving six years. Olson worked on a maintenance crew that swept and cleaned the main yard of the Chowchilla lockup, according to prison officials.

After news of her release became public, Sacramento County prosecutors expressed concern that Olson had not served enough time for the crime she had committed in their jurisdiction. State officials investigated and discovered the mistake.

Her earliest possible release now is March 17, 2009, officials said. At that point, she will have served half of her 14-year term.

She was taken to a prison in Chino on Saturday but has been moved back to Chowchilla.

The back and forth over Olson's prison term resulted from a change in California law from indeterminate sentences, which gave prison officials more flexibility in deciding when an inmate was ready for release, to determinate, or fixed, sentences. Because Olson's crimes were committed before the law changed, the parole board had to convert her sentence to the new system.

The conversion was the focus of the appeals by her lawyers, which led to the repeated changes in her sentence and, ultimately, the error that set her free early.

Naj Alikhan, a spokesman for SEIU Local 1000, the union representing the prisons' case records workers, said the system — not a clerk — was to blame.

"It really comes down to: There's too little training, there's too little technology," Alikhan said. "Ultimately what it comes down to shows the complexity of the prison code."

The Corrections Department also said Monday it was launching an investigation of Olson's premature release.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

12:19 AM  
Anonymous welcome home Kathy said...

click above

12:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

reprinted from Saint Paul Issues and Forums

From: Michael Mischke Date: Mar 24 20:18 UTC Short link

Was justice served, or cruel and unusual punishment meted out? Not
that it makes much of a difference at this point, pending a
threatened legal appeal.

Either way, Sara Jane Olson (nee Kathleen Soliah) of Highland Park is
back in a California prison that she has called home for the past six
years because of the admitted role she played in 1975 in the
Symbionese Liberation Army's attempted bombing of Los Angeles police
cars, and in the same self-styled urban guerillas' armed robbery of a
Sacramento bank that left one innocent bystander dead.

Olson, a Highland Park housewife and mother of three, had been living
underground for 23 years, as far as the authorities were concerned,
when she was arrested by FBI agents at 8:30 a.m. on June 16, 1999,
while driving her minivan near Edgcumbe Road and Niles Avenue in
Highland Park. Three years later, she pleaded guilty to both crimes
and was sentenced to two concurrent six-year prison terms. Her
sentence was subsequently extended by two years.

Olson was released from the Central California Women's Facility last
Monday. After staying for five days with family members in Palmdale,
California, she was waiting to board a flight to the Twin Cities on
Saturday when she learned that she wasn't going anywhere. The
California Corrections Department had determined that there had been
a mistake: Upon further review, she was not supposed to be released
from prison until March 17, 2009.

It's hard to fathom a corrections department having that much trouble
figuring out the correct release date for a prisoner, despite the
fact that sentencing guidelines in California have changed over the
past 30 years. It's also hard to fathom the feelings of Olson's
daughters and of her husband, United Hospital emergency room
physician Gerald "Fred" Peterson. To learn on the day of their
planned reunion in St. Paul that Olson had been reincarcerated for
another year must have been wrenching, though obviously nowhere near
as wrenching as was the death of Myrna Lee Opsahl, the innocent
bystander who was shot during the bank robbery, to her family.

The Villager published a feature story on Olson in November 1990 when
she was on a statewide tour with the one-woman play, A Woman of
Purpose, which is based on the life of Minnesota suffragette Julia
Bullard Nelson. The story stated that Olson had been active in the
women's movement since 1970.

Olson said in that story that her portrayal of Nelson showed
audiences that "people don't have to be powerless; there's a lot
they can do. But it's not easy to change things and you don't always
get respect." Olson said the message of A Woman of Purpose was that
"if you think there's something important to be changed in this
society, go out and work. Every individual can make a difference. Any
contribution is important."

Olson's "contributions" to California society may have been criminal,
but by all accounts her contributions to her adopted home of St.
Paul--as wife, mother, actress and social activist--were important.
St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, who met Peterson 29 years ago through
common musical interests, said in that 1999 Villager story when he
was still serving as a City Council member: "Sara always struck me as
a gentle soul and very compassionate. Sara would give you the shirt
off her back if you needed it."

For better or worse, barring a successful appeal in the courts, Olson
can keep her shirt on for the next year.

9:43 PM  

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