Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Judge Freeman Nominated to Federal Bench

A San Molesteo County Big Deal:

According to the San Mateo Daily Journal (pdf), as was rumored just before the start of the ayres re-trial:

Judge Beth Freeman, judge in the criminal trials of convicted child molester william ayres, has been nominated to the Federal Bench by President Barry Obama.

Ooof. Almost didn't preside over a high profile conviction -- good thing the DA finally felt the heat under their seat! Maybe Freeman should think about attending Buy a County Supervisor a Beer Day.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A motion so nice, they passed it twice!

Detail Update: Rescission of ayres Honor:

On June 4, 2013 the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors acted unanimously on a motion put forward by Supervisor Dave Pine to rescind a 2002 County Honor for his "lifetime of achievement" in "psychiatry" for his "tireless efforts to improve the lives of children and adolescents."

There were at least 10 people present to witness the vote as supporters of the victims. Several of these people spoke.

I was present at the meeting, and in this post I'll give you my observations, along with links to some clips of the video.

First, I have to say: some newspapers (The Mercury News)  have repeatedly referred to this as a "small, symbolic" move, and indeed quote Supervisor Pine as having called it "largely symbolic." I'd like to say that this was no "small" event, and while Pine may have referred to it as a symbolic motion from a government procedural perspective, it was very clear from his presentation that Pine understood that from a human and emotional point of view, the symbolism was no "small" matter. I'll have more to say on this shortly.

The San Mateo Daily Journal has an excellent article (pdf) AND editorial statement (pdf) on the matter this morning. (I will point out though, that the paper keeps running the photo of ayres that makes it look as though he's a beleaguered  prisoner - I don't know if it's for sympathy or sensationalism - but ayres looks nothing like this, and hasn't for some time. he's of healthy weight and well groomed. he certainly isn't dressed in prison garb.)

For future reference, the Board's Agenda page will post a link to a YouTube video copy, and there is already Real Media streaming video available (Look at the items available for the June 4, 2013 meeting.) But I have broken segments out of the streaming media and loaded them to YouTube to make viewing easier, since the official YouTube stream is not yet available as of this posting.

Supervisor Dave Pine's presentation of the motion:
The first video clip includes Pine's introduction of the motion. His words demonstrate that he clearly understands the weight that the whole ayres matter has had on the victims and their families and friends. He clearly has felt the extent and weight of impact, and his emotional presentation and comments provide depth and an imperative punch to this "symbolic" matter. I can't thank Pine enough.

For victims of ayres: I highly recommend you watch Pine's presentation. Be prepared for roiling emotions as you watch. There are not words to express the experience adequately.

Notice that Pine does not refer to the felon as "Doctor" at any point in time. Pine is clear and strong in his understanding of the matter.

Also included in this video, Board President Don Horsley reads from a letter from the parent of a victim, and is clearly moved by the statements.

Victoria Balfour: 
Balfour came from New York to witness the rescission of the honor. She put some perspective on how difficult it is to bring justice in this kind of crime -- the problem of getting victims to want to take the risk of the embarrassment and  exposure of speaking out about the crimes in order to begin the legal process -- the difficulties encountered in dealing with the professional shield that ayres has built over years of political connections within the community, etc... She provided a great background on the case, providing the opening bookend on a very difficult journey.

Jonathan Huddleston:
Jonathan spoke to provide some perspective from family/friend point of view -- to put a face on the victims. He spoke about a close friend of his who was molested by ayres as a young boy, and the struggles he experienced through life, including significant effort to bring his life back together. Ultimately the darkness won, and Huddleston's friend committed suicide. His friend's 50th birthday would have been on August 6, the day ayres is (currently) scheduled to be sentenced. I very much appreciated his message, but if you are a victim, and in a dark place right now, I'd recommend coming back to this video when you are in a better place -- Huddleston's intent was to provide a vignette of the human experience of being a victim, and he did a fantastic job.

Jon Buckheit:
Buckheit has been interested in the ayres matter from a victim's advocate perspective, having dealt with San Mateo County prosecution previously. His statement provides the closing bookend to Balfour's statement in emphasizing the difficulty of dealing with inspiring authorities to pursue the prosecution of well connected individuals within the county who are accused of crimes. His comments were succinct and powerful.

You may notice that before Buckheit speaks, another man was leaving the podium. I have not included a clip of that man's comments; he was very passionate about a cause that was important to him linked to psychiatric care, and he used the rescission item to speak further about his cause, but it was not relevant to the issue.

Also, at the end of Buckheit's talk, you'll notice that the Board didn't remember completing the vote after the motion was read, and voted again on the motion.

At any rate, all of the people who spoke brought great value to the table and the symbolic passage of the motion was no small matter.

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 was found GUILTY of the the child molestation charges against him on May 16, 2013, and is yet again left free on bail while we await sentencing. 

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." This honor was rescinded in a motion put forward by Supervisor Dave Pine on June 4, 2013. 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.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

ayres Honor Rescinded

Today, June 4, 2013 the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors voted on a motion proposed by Supervisor Dave Pine to rescind the County honor bestowed upon william ayres on January 15, 2002.

That honor was awarded due to his "service on the Children and Families First Commission, and his tireless efforts to improve the lives of children and adolescents."

There were 10 or more supporters of the victims present, several spoke including Victoria Balfour. Dave Pine spoke eloquently and with conviction and emotion.

Everyone who spoke to provide background and context was very eloquent and meaningful. 

Frankly, I'm simply drained right now, and so the post is brief. I will have more to say at a later time, and will post video as well within the next day or so

The motion to rescind was passed unanimously.

Potentially the last of the trappings of professional success that ayres has held up as a shield all of these years: the honor is now rescinded.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Rescission Agenda Item Reminder:

Reminder: Board of Supervisors
Rescission Agenda Item

This is a reminder that TOMORROW, June 4, 2013:

San Mateo County Supervisor Dave Pine will present the agenda item: “Rescission of a resolution honoring William Ayres” for consideration of the Board.

The item will be EARLY in the agenda, so if you are going, be sure to be there by 9am. 

The board agenda can be found on the Board’s web site, and you can click here for a copy of the proposed resolution.

The public can attend the Board Meeting. The meeting starts at 9am PST on June 4, 2013 and is located at the Hall of Justice, 400 County Center, Redwood City, CA 94063

There was an article in the Palo Alto Daily Post over the weekend (6/1/2013). According to the article Supervisor Dave Pine said: "He's caused a great, great deal of harm in the community and this is the right thing to do."  Also, according to the article: "Neither Pine nor county spokesman Marshall Wilson could recall an instance in which a person had been stripped of the honor."