Olson released a year too early

Nothing is ever as it seems with Kathleen Soliah — aka Sara Jane Olson. She was on her way back to Minnesota following an early release from prison for her part in attempting to kill police officers and her part in a bank robbery in which a woman was killed, when authorities apparently redid the math of how much time she served

According to the Los Angeles Times, Shawn Chapman Holley, her attorney, says she was told by an official of the Corrections Department and was told that there might have been “a computation error.” The AP quotes Chief Deputy Secretary Scott Kernan as saying Olson was released a year too early.


“We’re launching an investigation to prevent this from happening again,” California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation spokesman Oscar Hidalgo told the Sacramento Bee. (Suggestion: Start with the stupid ones.)

This is an extremely unusual situation,” the department’s General Counsel Alberto Roldan said.

Her attorney thinks it has more to do with protests by the police union in Los Angeles.

In any event, it was an interesting 36 hours for people on both sides of the issue, revisiting the debate surrounding her arrest and plea with no less fervor than at the start of this decade.

Even some of her critics, though, are shaking their heads over the turn of events. Says the blog Hot Air:

It’s hard to know how to feel about this. Soliah deserves a hell of a lot more time behind bars than the six she’s served, and she should have to serve every day of her too-short twelve year sentence. At the same time, it’s hard not to sympathize with Soliah’s children, who must be crushed at this unexpected turn of events.

Essentially, California still doesn’t have its act together. Prosecutors gave her too light of a sentence, and a state pardons and parole board had to extend it to the twelve years she got in the end. Now the prison can’t do math or apparently have someone double-check their work, and so let someone out a full year too early. It sounds like the same geniuses who calculate state budgets and wound up with an $18-billion miscalculation last year moonlight for the parole boards.

I wonder what Patty Hearst is doing tonight.

  • Wow. I appreciated this detail, however, from the MPR article

    The SLA started in 1973 when no more than a dozen white, college-educated children from middle-class families adopted a seven-headed snake as their symbol and an ex-convict as their leader. Their slogan: “Death to the fascist insect that preys upon the life of the people.”

    Clearly none of these college-educated white kids did much with composition or creative writing ’cause that sucks as a slogan. I’m glad they never wrote a jingle.

  • c

    I wonder what a Fascist Insect would look like? If you click Patty Hearst it directs you to a “Mucketty” (yah thats the name, not my words) website. And then if you click on her family tree it becomes a very tangled web as you click on each family member. give it a try its kinda fun! So maaaaaybe, a fascist insect would be some sort of spider.

    Fascist is just one of those, buzz words, among the college kids who want to sound important. It was back when I was in college anyway (and that was a long time ago.) I am surprised it is still popular among the youngsters.

  • mike

    well it was their screw up so she should be freed no matter if it is the law enforcements fault r the judges fault so let her be free once she is freed the first time you cant be tried again i believe so let her be alone away from prison i think she learned her lesson!

  • O.J. O’Shmay

    I love it! They should let her out again in six months then put her back in. By the way, Mikes letter composition scares me. Is it a liberal thing or……?

  • C

    I agree with Mike, she should be freed. Odd on how the whole release and retrieve ordeal came up on the Holy Week for Catholics and Christians. So OJ or can I call you “Juice” should they free Barrabas instead?

    It sounds like the police forced her into admitting things that she did not do and this would not be the first time this has happened with the police.