"You know the routine." Statement alleged to have been made by Dr. William Ayres to an in- statute victim, whenever he wanted him to take off his clothes, according to prosecutor Melissa McKowan.
The first 40 minutes today were taken up with Judge Freeman's instruction to the jury. Just prior to that, Weinberg told the judge that he withdrew his challenge to the statute of limitations for the victims in this trial. We have no idea why he waived this. Could he possibly come back during the appeals and say that his client wasn't mentallyin competent when he made this decision?
We have to warn you upfront that we are emotionally exhausted and frayed by the arguments today so please bear with us if we don't deliver as much detail today.
We were very impressed with the judge's instructions to the jury - especially when she said things like "Do not reject testimony just because of inconsistencies. People honestly make mistakes about what they remember."
We also liked it when she told the jufh to disregard the fact that Steve S, a victim who is in prison, had testified in restraints and that they were not to discusss his incarceration among each other."
About midway through the judge's instructions, San Mateo Police Chief Susan Manheimer arrived. She wasn't in uniform, and she looked very trim and slim as compared to the last time we saw here two years ago. Chief Manheimer told us she couldn't stay long but was there to offer support for the prosecution, obviously. "This has been a long time coming," she said.
We were pleased to hear from the judge that even touching through the clothing could be prosecutable. We were also surprised to learn that if the jury finds Ayres not guilty of lewd and lascivious contact with a child under 14 that he could be found guilty of simple battery.
10:04 am: Prosecutor Melissa McKowan, dressed in a snazzy black pantsuit with silver buttons, steps up to the plate for the closing arguments. In our opinion, she hit a home run.
Her prologue posed a series of questions, such as "If genital exams were so important to the psychological well being of a patient, why would you only conduct examinations on boys?" "Why wouldn't you discuss the exams with the parent?" "Why couldn't the defense find a single child psychiatrist who had done physical exams on a boy?" "Why did they have to resort to an expert who read from fringy medical textbooks?" And so on. The questions were so powerful that we felt ourselves getting tearful.
The prosecutor roamed the courtroom in a relaxed manner and used her charts well. She was very good at conjuring up strong visual images. Here's an example:"Don't you think the defendant would have a place in his office to examine patients, instead of a sloppy"Drop your pants" but first le me wipe off the glue on the table where we were making models"?
During this testimony, we kept sneaking looks at the Ayres supporters on the left hand side of the courtroom. Today we counted about 15. These included the two hippy chicks whom Deep Sounding has dubbed the biker chicks. They could be sisters or mother and daughters. They could be Ayres nieces. Whatever.. during the prosecutor's arguments, the two chicks worked on a crossword puzzle and seemed totally impervious to the testimony. What we found interesting is that they continued to work on the crossword during Weinberg's arguments as welll.
Here are a few of things today that we enjoyed:
-When the prosecutor said, "How could an upper chest pain in victim Scott E lead to a genital exam?" one of our favorite jurors- a man in the back row with pepper and salt hair and wire rim glasses and tshirt- broke out into a smile.
-Just as Doron Weinberg was beginning his arguments, in waltzes civil lawyer Bob Tobin - the lawyer Ayres had angrily mimicked last week and described as intimidating and combative. When Ayres spotted Tobin during an afternoon break, he looked cowed and hid behind a scrim of people. He looked terrified of Tobin. Tobin, meanwhile got a big kick of seeing the once arrogant doctor act like a fraidy cat. And when Solveig Ayres gave him a baleful stare, Tobin loved it.
When Weinberg said "Do you honestly think Dr. Ayres would take Orion B into a room while his parents were in another room and masturbate him?" we saw the tall thin and very blued eyed woman juror in the back row nod vigorously "Yes!".
- Things we didn't like:
-Weinberg looking at the clock every three minutes during his closing arguments.
-Weinberg bringing up the McMartin preschool case as if to say that the preschoolers' false memory case had some relevance to the Ayres case, even though the victims were much older and some of them told their parents right after the molestation.
-Weinberg pushing the meme that memories are unreliable and illustrating this with a memory from his own childhood when he was eight. He talked about being sent to ballet school and hating it and getting his foot stuck in a bar. Yet he said his 12 year old brother remembers that his foot wasn't stuck and that he just cried in the corner during the class. Given that Ayres has feminine gestures and isn't the most manly of men, we think that this was probably not a good anedote to trot out.
- Weinberg repeatedly saying that Ayres was innocent - with no facts to back it up.
We are sorry that we can't give a more detailed account of closing arguments today but we are too emotionally exhausted to give you more details. We are really really emotionally bushed. Caligirl9 from Sprocket Trials was there today and should have an account up soon. So should the mainstream media.
We will try to do a better job tomorrow when we are not so wiped.