Monday, July 27, 2009

Hey, Doron Weinberg!! What's This Little 8-4 Acquittal Story You've Been Feeding To Reporters?

[DS NOTE: Originally posted on Saturday, July 25, 2009.]

Today we happened upon a piece on the San Francisco Chronicle blog called "Whatever Happened to?" about the slow pace of the Ayres trial.
Here's the story:
It's turning into a long slog for the San Mateo County jury trying to decide whether the prominent psychiatrist acccused of molesting boys sent to his office over the years, Dr. William Ayres, committed the crimes.
Ayres, 77, who used to treat patients referred to him by county juvenile justice and social services workers, is charged with molesting six boys under his care. Some of his alleged victims, now men in their 20s and 30s, took the stand during a trial in which testimony began June 23.
Ayres himself told the jury that it was his practice to give boys physical exams that sometimes involved touching their genitals, but that he had never molested anyone. (You can read reporter John Koopman's coverage of the trialhere.) The former American Academy of Adolescent and Child Psychiatry president remains free on bail while the jury decides his fate.
Not all the original jurors, however, remain. Last Friday, several days into deliberations, a woman was dropped from the panel because of an issue concerning her juror questionnaire. (An earlier version of this post gave the jury's split, but the information was sketchy so it's been clipped.)
Judge Beth Freeman seated an alternate and told the jury to start all over. Then this week, a juror fell ill and the panel got a new alternate -- and a fresh instruction from Freeman to start from the beginning.
Thursday was the seventh day of deliberations, and still no verdict. The jurors go back at it today.
Posted By:Trapper Byrne(Email)|July 23 2009 at 06:20 PM
Listed Under:Trials

Read more:


In an earlier version today of the above item, the Chronicle story had said that the first dismissed juror had "told reporters" that when she left that the jury was split at "8-4 for acquittal. " When we read that information, our BS detector went off. We were at the courthouse when the first dismissed juror was kicked off. We spoke to her at length that day, and since then have spoken to her almost every day. We just got off the phone with her again today and she told us that she has never spoken to any mainstream reporters. She has only spoken to a correspondent from this blog, a parent of a victim, and two people who have no personal ties to the case who happened to be in the courtroom that day. She told us that at no time has she ever told anyone that when she left the jury was split 8-4 for acquittal. She asked us to get to the bottom of how the Chronicle came with this information.

Here's what we learned. Doron Weinberg told Chronicle reporter John Koopman that he heard the juror say this when she was having a conference with the judge about what she had told another juror. The juror told us today that this information is false: that when she had this conference with the judge in front of Weinberg and the prosecutor, she was instructed to only talk about her conversation about her old memory with the other juror. At no time, this juror told us, did she say anything to the judge with Weinberg and the prosecutor in attendance about which juror was for conviction and who was for acquittal. "That would have been misconduct," she told us. "It's just ridiculous."

Additionally, the dismissed juror told us that this 8-4 number isn't even correct. When she left, she said, there were three young women jurors who did not believe the victims, but that a larger number did believe the victims. The juror is upset with false information being spread about her in the paper. We also would like to hear from Doron Weinberg about where he got this number. We also would like to ask the Chronicle this: seriously, do you really think a juror in the middle of deliberations would be permitted to tell a judge in the presence of the defense attorney and the prosecutor about which side the jury was leaning? Shame on the Chronicle for printing this second hand information from one source.

Let's repeat this:

1) The juror has never spoken to any reporters about the case

2) She never said that the jury was 8-4 for acquittal in a meeting with the judge in front of Weinberg and the prosecutor

3) She says that when she left she couldn't give a solid number as to who was for acquittal and who was for conviction because there were so many counts and six victims

4) The dismissed juror said that when she left all the jurors but one were for convicting Ayres on the molestation of at least one victim.

Because of our sleuthing, and our request that the Chronicle be accountable for its information, the 8-4 acquittal number was just removed from the Chronicle blog


  1. If I had to guess, I'd guess Weinberg is also behind the SM Daily Journal's statement that the juror was dismissed for misconduct. Also not true.

    Read Michelle Durand's story here.

    We know that the newspapers have been getting their information by calling Weinberg at the end of each day. (And also by scouring this very blog every day, ALL DAY LONG for leads.)(Sometimes hundreds of hits per day.)

  2. In fact, right after we broke the story of the first juror being dismissed on Friday, SOME lawyer was on this blog posting comments that were strongly worded to suggest that perhaps juror misconduct had occurred.

  3. Maybe the mainstream press should hang around the courthouse more often instead of relying on a notoriously sneaky defense lawyer for information?

  4. He did the same thing during the Spector jury's deliberation ... sent in an op-ed piece to the LA Times that was chock full of misinformation.

  5. Whiney in the LA Times:,0,2006526.story

    Produced while the Spector jury was out.

  6. Very sleazy of Whiney to write an op-ed while the jury was deliberating. He must have been hoping that they would break the rules and read newspapers. Too bad he lost that case. The Phil Spector case was the first big celebrity case that got a conviction in California in decades.

  7. It appears that Weinberg is trying to psych out the prosecution. Too bad his efforts are so pathetically transparent. Won't he ever learn?

  8. Yeah, that trial lawyer that wanted sympathy walk a mile in my shoes,

    may you be stripped of your shoes and walk on hot coals around the court house for eternity!

    Burn in Hell! Or fry your bald head in the sun Doron!

  9. All I can say is that the news is often not fit to read!

    I am not surprised at any trick Weinberg might try, he is really slippery.

    What a shameful story that the Chronicle fell for this.

  10. DS, your blog has something in common with Sprocket's.

    It has become a source of news ... for reporters who, for whatever reason, elected not to attend the day-to-day trial. She knows as much about Spector I & II as anyone, and of course you know the wicked ins and outs of this hideous case.

    Congratulations on being part of re-writing the way "journalism" is done!

  11. I remember when Weinberg wrote the op-ed piece.

    The prosecution brought it to the attention of Judge Fidler and Weinberg had to explain his actions.

    What was interesting was part of his "explanation" to Judge Fidler was that he was responding to a recent article in the Times, and the fact that there were blogs that were covering the trial. Imagine that. Weinberg felt that a blog covering the trial, was a significant enough reason for him to write a response article for the LA Times.

    In his argument to Fidler, he stated that a blogger was writing "misinformation" or "misleading information" about the trial. An outright lie.

    Here is the link to my story that covers what happened that day in court and what Weinberg said.

    Day Three Jury Watch

  12. Wow.
    Weinberg is a real class act.
    The more I learn about him, the more I wonder how he sleeps at night.
    And if he does sleep well, then I wonder how he lives with himself when he's conscious.

    As far as the Chron is concerned: it is not now and never has been a reliable news source. It is and always has been a second-rate newspaper that is read for entertainment -- not for serious information.

  13. Weinberg is a sore loser. Doesn't like to take responsibility for his behavior either.

    It was really pathetic of him to try to intimidate Sprocket at the Spector trial. Thanks for posting, Sprocket.