Saturday, June 19, 2010

It was one year ago today...

One year ago (give or take a day) We got this news:

From Michael Stogner, posted at the the smdailyjournal forums:
Books not allowed
The Defense motion to suppress the three books that were found by the San Mateo Police Department in the file cabinets of Dr. William Ayres this last month, has been granted.The books are not in the trial.
12:20pm Update: Story in the San Mateo County Times is NO LONGER available:
5/31/2010 Update: here's a another link about the books being disallowed: San Mateo Daily Journal.

Defense attorney Doron Weinberg praised the judge's decision.
"We don't think that they would have made a significant difference in the case," Weinberg said. "The evidence wasn't relevant or critical, but we believe the court ruled correctly."

Here is the original post about the first inkling we got of the books:

Weinberg Attempts to Split Hairs On Groping
Additional Afternoon Information
And then, of course we got the news as posted above.

It's been such a long time that the links to the newspaper stories that I linked to in those articles are no longer active.


  1. Found the story. However, can't post it all in one post;

    Part One:

    Books depicting nude young boys suppressed in Ayres trial

    BYLINE: By Elizabeth Pfeffer San Mateo County Times


    LENGTH: 907 words

    REDWOOD CITY Books containing graphic images of nude young boys that were found stashed with the patient records of Dr. William Ayres cannot be used against him in trial, a judge ruled Thursday.

    San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Beth Freeman granted a motion to suppress the three hardcover picture books as evidence in the molestation suspect's trial based on testimony Monday that they were seized in late May without a search warrant.

    More than 30 men say they were lewdly touched as preadolescent patients of Ayres, a once highly regarded child psychiatrist, but only seven fall within the state's statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse.

    In total, Ayres is facing 20 counts of felony molestation, with opening statements set to begin Tuesday.

    Freeman said she thought it was "an honest mistake" on the part of the San Mateo Police Department, which discovered the books during a recent attempt to locate the missing records of two accusers in Ayres' file cabinets, which had been stored in a police property warehouse since 2006.

    The men are among four former patients who will testify that Ayres molested them in the 1970s and early '80s but are precluded from pressing criminal charges by California's statute of limitations.

    At least one of the four past-statute witnesses is expected to testify that Ayres showed him a book with pictures of young boys' genitalia during their encounter, according to a parent of one accuser.

    "Of course we're disappointed with the ruling," said Karen Guidotti, San Mateo County assistant district attorney. "That was evidence we had hoped to be able to produce at trial."

  2. Part Two:

    Of the three books, one title was identified in court as "Coming of Age: Photographs by Will McBride." The cover shows a room filled with naked young-looking boys pouring water on themselves.

    The collection of photographs, many of which feature nude adolescent boys, is often associated with gay "skin books" such as those of Jay Diers. McBride is well-known for depicting male nudity in various mediums. He contributed to a book about sexuality for children that was banned in the United States.

    The books, shown in the courtroom during pretrial motions and testimonies Monday, were "borderline pornographic," according to former San Mateo police Sgt. Malcolm Laner.

    He occasionally does per-diem work for the department and was hired last month by Detective Rick Decker to go through Ayres' file cabinets and find the missing files.

    Police seized the cabinets in 2006 from the psychiatrist's storage locker with a warrant to obtain his patient files. A court-appointed lawyer, deemed the special master, was at the time the only person permitted to go through them.

    Then in 2007, San Mateo police Officer Chris Noa was instructed under a separate search warrant to extract 32 patient files from the file cabinets, all the while remaining in police custody. He testified Monday that he saw two of the books in plain view, looked through them, and thought the nude photos were of an ambiguous nature and could have been pornography.

    Because he was not instructed to do anything but retrieve files, Noa said he left the books but mentioned verbally to Decker what he had seen.

    This is where Noa's and Decker's testimonies diverged Monday, as Decker said he could not recall having any knowledge of them before May, when Laner brought three books to his attention.

    Freeman's ruling to disallow the three books was hinged on Noa reporting what he had seen in 2007 under the plain view doctrine, an exception to search warrants that gives officers permission to seize items they see as evidence or contraband.

    The results of a search warrant have to be brought back within 10 days, thus Laner did not have the court-appointed authority to go through the files, Freeman said. Because Decker testified he had no memory of Noa telling him of the books, on her ruling Freeman declared that Noa's testimony had not proven to have credibility.

    Ayres received the news in court with his wife, Solveig, and son Robert sitting behind him, his only supporters in attendance. The trio were clearly elated.

    Defense attorney Doron Weinberg praised Freeman's decision.

    "We don't think that they would have made a significant difference in the case," he said. "The evidence wasn't relevant or critical, but we believe the court ruled correctly."

  3. Part Three:

    Ayres was arrested and pleaded not guilty to all charges more than two years ago. He remains free on $750,000 bail.

    The defense has argued that Ayres performed physical examinations on some of his patients as part of his "therapeutic model." He is the former president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

    He told colleagues that he performed medical examinations because it was the way he had been trained. He had done his residency in the early 1960s at the Judge Baker Center in Boston, one of the country's premier centers for the study of child psychology.

    While most child psychiatrists admit that administering physical exams to patients is uncommon today, many professionals defend the practice as another instrument in a psychiatrist's toolbox.

    A spokeswoman from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry told MediaNews that performing physicals on patients in a psychiatric setting can be "consistent with good medical practice."

    Both defense and prosecuting attorneys have said there will not be a plea bargain and the trial will go forward next week as planned.

  4. Thanks for posting the story, Trapellar!

    With all of the consolidation and collapse going on with the newspapers, many of the articles are disappearing. I guess I need to take 15 minutes every day to start archiving the rapidly evaporating links.