Ronald Hughes

Ronald Hughes

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Ronald Hughes

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Ronald Hughes (March 16, 1935 – c. November 1970) was a court-appointed attorney who represented Manson family member Leslie Van Houten and an alleged Manson family murder victim.

Tate-LaBianca murder trial

Hughes was among the first lawyers to meet with Charles Manson in December 1969. Initially, he signed on as the attorney for Manson, but was replaced by Irving Kanarek two weeks before the start of the trial.

Prior to representing Leslie Van Houten in the Tate-LaBianca murder trial, Hughes failed the bar exam three times before passing and had never tried a case. Hughes, a onetime conservative, was called "the hippie lawyer" due to his intimate knowledge of the hippie subculture. That knowledge occasionally served his client well. He was able to raise questions about Linda Kasabian's credibility by asking her about hallucinogenic drugs, her belief in ESP, her thoughts that she might be a witch, and her experiencing "vibrations" from Manson.

As attorney for defendant Van Houten, Hughes tried to separate the interests of his client from those of Charles Manson, a move that angered Manson and may have cost Hughes his life. He hoped to show that Van Houten was not acting independently, but was completely controlled in her actions by Manson. This strategy contradicted Manson's plan to allow fellow "family" members to implicate themselves in the crimes, clearing him of all...
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