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Sirhan Sirhan's Friday Parole Hearing Could Be Different

No prosecutor will be present
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 25, 2021 3:23 PM CDT
Sirhan Sirhan's 16th Parole Hearing Could Be Different
In this Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, file photo, Sirhan Sirhan reacts during a parole hearing at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego.   (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, Pool, File)

(Newser) – The 16th time could be the charm for Sirhan B. Sirhan, or so suggests the Washington Post. It reports the 77-year-old, who assassinated Sen. Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, will on Friday go before a California parole board. He has done so 15 times before, but this time will be different: No prosecutor will be present to oppose the release. As the Post explains, Sirhan "may benefit from a new push among progressive prosecutors to seek the release, or not oppose the release, of convicts who have served decades behind bars, no longer pose a threat to society and will be costly to treat medically in their later years."

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Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón has been on the job less than a year, but in that time has established a "default policy" in prosecutors wouldn't attend parole hearings and would submit letters in some cases in favor of release. It won't be submitting a letter in Sirhan's case. Neither will Kennedy's widow, Ethel, or nine surviving children; neither have they asked to be able to speak on Friday. That includes Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who in 2018 said he thought a second shooter, not Sirhan, was the assassin. (Sirhan survived a prison stabbing almost exactly 2 years ago.)

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