USA Today, October 2021
The recent recommendation by the two members of the California Parole Board to release Sirhan Sirhan, the Palestinian militant who in 1968 assassinated Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, incensed many Americans. As well it should. However, Sirhan’s fate ultimately rests in the hands of Gov. Gavin Newsom. Having survived last month’s recall vote, Newsom should reward his supporters by doing the right thing: denying Sirhan his freedom.
Sirhan’s parole eligibility is the result of a statutory quirk of history. Back in the 1960s, few states, particularly those with the death penalty, had life without parole eligibility as a sentencing option. For capital crimes, it was either life (with the possibility of parole) or death.