Thursday, May 16, 2013
Guilty Guilty Guilty Guilty Guilty Guilty Guilty Guilty
Today, May 16, 2013, william hamilton ayres, past president of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, has plead "No Contest" to 8 felony counts of child molestation. -- Section 288(a) of the California penal code. ayres also accepted the "Special Allegations of Substantial Sexual Contact" related to those charges.
The Judge has accepted ayres' plea, and found him to be:
GUILTY on all 8 charges.
I'm seeing some questions about the difference between a "guilty" plea and a "no contest" plea. There is a pretty good explanation here. In essence it is admitting that the facts as charged are true and correct; that the prosecution will gain conviction beyond reasonable doubt, but without admitting culpability. This is very frequently used when there may be follow-on lawsuits -- this way, there is no "admission of guilt" to be used against the defendant, which would make burden of proof much easier for a suing plaintiff. The plea also allows for later appeals. (See comments below.) Rest assured however, that this plea means that ayres has of his own free will admitted that ALL of he charges against him will with certainty end in conviction. For the court's purpose, the finding for a "no contest" plea is "guilty."
ayres was NOT remanded into custody, and is out on bail until his sentencing hearing on August 6, 2013.
Defense has asked for a maximum of 8 years, but with regard to the plea, there are no conditions on sentencing (This was not a plea bargain... it is simply a change from "Not Guilty" to "No Contest".) Maximum allowable sentence is 22 years with genetic marker recording and lifetime sex offender registration. The DA will have opportunity to recommend a sentence after they receive the probation report, but ultimately the judge will set the duration, and it seems like 8 years would be close to the minimum, given 8 charges with special circumstances. All of the articles are saying that ayres WILL serve time.
According to some of the papers, DA Wagstaffe has said that at least in part, what they will be pushing for in terms of sentencing will at least in part have to do with ayres' attitude about the crimes: contrition and admission of guilt may reduce the sentence they are asking for, and the opposite may cause them to ask for more time. The reason for the delay until sentencing is to allow for a probation report that will allow them to better understand ayres attitude about the crimes, among other things...
Judge Freeman will schedule half a day for the sentencing hearing, but has said that she would go as long as necessary to hear all victim statements from those legally allowed and who desire to speak during sentencing.
ayres was in court with his wife Solveig and daughter Barbara.
Courtroom reactions were FLAT and dead silent all around.
ayres' voice wavered only when he had to tell the judge that he was waiving his constitutional rights to speedy trial, and to confront the witnesses against him.
The Defense has maintained their right to appeal, but on at least the matter of the "competency" issue, according to the San Mateo Daily Journal, the appellate court declined to hear the matter late this morning, resulting in the decision to plead no contest.
After the hearing, ayres' sow daughter Barbara went over to pat the child molester lovingly on the back.
Articles so far are here:
San Mateo Daily Journal (pdf)- Probably the best detail of the bunch.
SF Gate (Chronicle) (pdf)
Michael Stogner's Blog on the Pacifica Patch
Victim's advocate William Lynch posted a note from victim's advocate Victoria Balfour on the facebook page for his RISE Foundation website.
Daily Post (Paper Only, but here's a lovely photo of it.)
SF Examiner (pdf)
Merc News (pdf)
DA Wagstaffe has told the press that prosecutors won because they had an airtight case, and that they had better evidence this time around, and that one of the county’s best prosecutors was on the case. (There were three prosecutors this time around.)
I will take this opportunity to applaud and thank the prosecutors for bringing enough pressure to bear that when ayres’ competency gambit had all spooled out, the defense knew that they would not survive a trial given the witnesses that the prosecution was lining up.
That pressure was brought to bear was no easy feat. So I’d also like to also take the opportunity to thank Victoria Balfour who has persisted in keeping feet to the fire through the many years that this case has been running. To wit:
ayres has long been friends and co-board members with judges, prosecutors and politicians though his decades of involvement with the juvenile system. Even if we set aside accusations of conflict of interest, the fact remains that these people were prosecuting a friend and colleague.
It was Balfour who pushed the police to investigate more when she discovered that the man who molested a friend of hers was still practicing “psychiatry.”
It was Balfour who pushed families and friends of victims to hire private investigators to trail ayres when he was claiming to be incompetent – while the DA believed the story that ayres was suffering dementia.
It was Balfour who urged families of victims to contact the County Board of Supervisors to bring pressure to bear on the DA to make him understand that great and relevant witnesses would be needed to secure victory – and that victory was something strongly desired. Victoria pushed many of us on --when we wanted to give up hope.
And it was Balfour who realized that ayres’ statement in the first trial that he had been trained by “Al Songden” -- who does not exist – was a significant piece of information. She interviewed dozens of doctors at the places ayres trained, and not only did all of them state that they don’t train psychiatrists to give “medical exams,” but they also told her that the doctor to whom ayres was referring was Dr. Al Solnit” – information that the prosecutors were able to put to good use when finding witnesses for the second trial – witnesses who would be able to expose ayres’ lies about his training – witnesses who were critical to the prosecution’s “airtight” case and “better evidence.”.
So I’m glad that the DA’s office persisted in spite of the fact that they were prosecuting a long time colleague, and I thank Victoria Balfour for frequently pushing when frequent pushing was needed.
That is all.
Comments are now open.
©Salem-McMartin By Deep Sounding at 5/16/2013 04:27:00 PM