Tuesday, May 14, 2013

ayres Molest Trial: Day 2

Criminal Retrial - Day 2:

This is a VERY brief update on the criminal re-trial of william hamilton ayres, accused of molesting many young boys under the guise of providing psychiatric care. 

Discussions were technical, and heavily statute and case loaded today.

I don't have time to look up all of the statutes and cases mentioned right now. Later in the week, I will look through notes provided to me, and post anything interesting.

For now, just a brief gist of the nature of court proceedings today:

Some Incidentals:
Victoria Balfour was not mentioned, even in passing, contrary to what we expected based on yesterday's discussions.

Freeman ruled that references to the first jury trial would be excluded, yet later in the day, McDougall said that he would not object to hearing testimony given in the first trial. (?)

It seems that the prosecutors have been combing through all of the documents that they have from their seizure of ayres billing records (took them six plus years?), as they have recently found at least one letter from ayres to parents who complained about unexpected "examinations" performed on their children. There may also be some debate over whether or not there will be another new witness allowed, or if it is now too late to introduce a new witness.

There were discussions about the permissability of some "hearsay" witnesses, and "spontaneous statements" Code 1220 was mentioned. (This is one of the things that I'll dig into in the next couple of days.)

Defense and Prosecution Bickering:
There was quite a bit of back and forth arguing between Defense Shyster McDougall and the prosecutors about experts and rebuttal witnesses:

If McDougall has "False Memory Foundation" flake Elizabeth Loftus testify, then the prosecution will call Dr. Goodman, but the prosecution can't call Goodman UNLESS McDougall calls.... etc, etc, etc... tit-for-tat, my expert is more frightening than yours... If McDougall brings up ayres' alleged dementia, then McKowan will call Dr. McIlnay, etc,

Court Process:
Judge Freeman seems very focused on preventing the prosecution and defense from wresting control of the courtroom away from her. Section 352 was the discussion point throughout the day. As mentioned yesterday, this has to do with not wasting time, and not confusing the issues for the jury, not causing undue prejudice, etc... Much of the expert witness bickering related directly to this, eliminating witnesses as long as the opponent does not have witnesses to the opposite extent.

The question I have is: at some point doesn't everything become crystal clear because NO witnesses essential to the understanding of the situation are ever called?

It apparently became clear that Judge Freeman was fairly pissed that at every turn McDougall was trying very hard to make the case all about ayres' alleged dementia. At one point, Freeman said that she does NOT intend to retry the competency issue during this trial.

In line with all of this, Freeman told the two sides that for each witness, the respective attorneys will need to provide proof of qualification and relevancy prior to their testimony, and specifically this was underlined when talking about rebuttal witnesses.

Coverage/Next few days:
According to the judge, the next few days will be focused on prepping jury questionnaire and eliminating hardship cases from the very large jury pool. In fact, because her courtroom only seats 80, she said she'd be going to the jury room to address the prospective jurors and have them start filling out hardship paperwork, and then administering the jury questionnaires.

Voir Dire will probably start on Wednesday, the 22nd.

It is probable that this blog will not have observers in the courtroom until that point, or possibly later. If anyone IS in the courtroom and wants to provide some summary info, please feel free to contact deepsounding@gmail.com.

We will watch the local press for information and link it here. Note that as of today, only ONE newspaper even acknowledged that the criminal re-trial started yesterday,  we expect coverage to be fairly poor even compared to last time around.

*Note: I updated this article on 5/15/2013: The letter in the billing files was from ayres to the parents, not the other way around.

william hamilton ayres was arrested on April 5, 2007 on charges relating to his molestation of many young boys while he was alleging to provide psychiatric care to private patients as well as referrals for evaluation from the juvenile court system in San Mateo County. ayres has been delaying his way through the system free from custody until this latest gambit to skirt prosecution by playing demented for the courts. ayres is currently under the conservatorship of his daughter Barbara Ayres of Sacramento, CA

ayres has had significant interaction over the years with local politicians on boards like the "Children and Families First Commission,"  including the DA who was serving when prosecution began Jim Fox and Assemblyman Rich Gordon. In fact, Gordon nominated ayres for a lifetime achievement award for his "Tireless effort to improve the lives of children." ayres has also been vocally supported during his criminal trial by local head-shrinkers like Bart BlinderEtta BryantMel BlausteinHarry CorenTom CieslaRobert KimmichLarry LurieMaria LymberisRichard ShadoanCaptane Thomson, and Harold Wallach.


  1. My opinion for what it’s worth. I still have doubts about this judge forcing them to dump witnesses there is no opposing expert to give the “other” side. Sometimes there is only one side, as in the case of truth. There is only one truth, POV has nothing to do with that. I digress.

    On “false memory” I can only say to over come the accusation I would ask the question; How is it that the stories of his methodology, threats used and acts performed are consistent in the reports by the vics who never met or spoke to one another?

    On “recovered” memory a tangential issue so far. That word, applied this way is an invention of lawyers. We all have an intrinsic knowledge of memory and that invention is meant to help overcome that personal knowledge by creating doubt over how your own mind works. Then they bring in this ill-defined idea to allow some memory “expert” to tell you how a thing you already know intrinsically is not what you think it is.

    I like this simple example question. You lose your keys. Hours or days later you recall where they are. Did you “recover” that memory, or did you just remember where you had left/lost them?
    The time spans for recollection in abuse cases are not as problematic as we are lead to believe all of us have without apparent provocation recalled a person or event from long ago. Why is remembering abuse for whatever reason (trigger usually) any different than that? And that is only if they have forgotten. Many child abuse victims who never forget cannot bring themselves to report for many different reasons until after the age of forty.

    Just trying to help with anyone who is worried that using this canard will divert the case away form its proper focus.

    1. Spot on.

      Unfortunately, at least during the first trial, diversion was made by the testimony of Loftus and rebuttal experts. People have trouble sorting lofty academic theory from real world functionality.

      As for reasons that people can not bring themselves to report until they are older: there are a variety of reasons, but guilt, fear and embarrassment are strong factors as to why we wait to tell. The push to finally reveal are things like marriage, having children, and specifically having children of the age that you were when you were abused. These are extraordinarily stressful triggers that cause us to finally speak out. The dam breaks, and reality washes out, threatening everyone and everything close to the wash.

      Last time the memory issue came up, I wrote this:

      The Persistence of Memory

  2. How would "recovered memories" be an issue in this trial? Did any of the accusers "recover" memories of being abused by Ayres after years of not being aware of it? I think this is a red herring. The central issue for the jury to decide was whether Ayres's admitted "physical exams" of male patients were legitimate or not.

    1. To my knowledge, victims did not claim "recovered" memories in the last trial, and yet Loftus was called to testify about memory. (False, recovered, etc...) McDougall intends to use Loftus again. Her alleged expertise is in memory.

      I agree that "recovered memory" is a red herring.

      That does not mean that it will not be an issue that distracts the jury. Likewise claims that child psychiatrists give "medical exams" is a red herring that will distract the jury.

      Medical exams given by child psychiatrists are not a real thing.

  3. I'm concerned that San Mateo county does not really want to see Ayres convicted. They want to appear to be doing something but they're hoping the case will just drag on until Ayres dies of old age and people lose interest. I have no confidence in the San Mateo police or the prosecutors. I worry that they want to throw the case and that's why they'll allow all these besides-the-point discussions about the nature of memory to go on and on and on. I think if prosecutors wanted to, and were willing to get relevant testimony, it could persuasively be demonstrated to the jury that Ayres's "exams" have always been a ruse to undress, examine and when possible sexually molest young male patients. Prosecutors ought to have reputable pediatricians and psychiatrists come in and confirm that intimate physical exams have NEVER been a standard part of child psychiatric care. Ayres's "physicals" were not ever justified and were part of Ayres's molester M.O. - he got his jollies by looking at & touching the genitals of young boys and he always targeted kids who were in trouble for more serious acts of molestation because he knew he had power over them, could manipulate them, and that they would not be listened to if they complained.