August 7, 2013 child molester william ayres was jailed today.
Sentencing is now scheduled for August 26th, 2013. There may be motions brought by defense in the interim.
The posts below this one have links to articles in the paper with quotes from Wagstaffe (who was NOT present to hear the "emotional" statements that victims made -- They were emotional, but he's being a dink by making it sound like he's moved or something.) I'm not going to link to any of the news articles in this post, at least for the moment, but they're in the post below this one already.
First off: There were MANY supporters, friends, victims, and families present today. This was a GODSEND. Thank each and every one of you for being there, and for those of us who were NOT able to be there -- and for those unknown, who have been quietly struggling -- Many of these supporters specifically mentioned that they were there to represent YOU too. I will speak more of this in a moment.
Frequently, I imagine my life with a soundtrack. In my "real life" I like to make silly little videos. Sadly, the legal and justice system have really become a bit of a farce to me, and probably will always be that way for me now. Frankly, as this has gone on, and on,
And on -- This whole thing has become a morbidly comical little video in my mind.
We got to court early this morning, and as the crowd gathered, I decided to record some video.
When I got home and looked at it, "Serious" went in, and "Vaudeville" came out. Without further ado, I give you my mentally warped soundtrack for today. NOTE: I updated the video: now you can be offended even if you're on iOS.
(Not All That Safe for Work, and entirely inappropriate for the serious nature of today's proceedings.) Turn up the sound! Pop it out, and watch it on YouTube! :
If you are a victim, PLEASE don't take my morbidly manic levity with offense; we're unfortunately about to delve deeply into some pretty serious human shit:
Not necessarily in chronological order, but mostly so, here are some vignettes from today:
General events inside the courtroom:
Child molester ayres was present, as were his wife Solveig, and daughter Barbara Ayres of Sacramento. Son Robert Ayres was NOT present today. There were also two women present with the family. No idea who they were, but they looked like well-worn hippies, probably shrink-types.
Victoria Balfour was present, as was County Supervisor Dave Pine, along with advocate and frequently present supporter Michael Stogner, one of the original jurors from the first criminal trial was there, along with many people; some of whom I'll mention specifically, and some I will not: all were greatly appreciated.
Melissa McKowan was the sole prosecutor for the People today, although Karen Guidotti was in the courtroom (looking taxed...) Wagstaffe was also there -- just kidding -- he wasn't there, but he acts like he was for the reporters who weren't there (Hellooo? San Mateo Daily Journal??? - Didn't see you there, but I'm expecting a pretty good article...)
Some things that happened before the hearing got underway:
Someone was taking photos inside the courtroom, and Solveig and Barbara raised a holy-living-stink. (Fine -- there is a sign specifying electronics off inside the courtroom.) When the judge came in, she admonished everyone that that kind of thing was strictly forbidden, and that she expected to see people MOVING to turn off devices. Both bailiffs looked right a me. (WTF cop dudes??? I'm all business inside the courtroom... )
Also significant: one of the friends of a victim (Jonathan Huddleston, who spoke at the recission of ayres' lifetime achievement award) was present, and noticed that ayres' wheelchair looked totally unused. Either it's brand-new, or it's just another prop. (Guess which I think it is?)
Both the defense attorney and prosecutor went into chambers before things got underway, to discuss the mechanics of who would be allowed to speak, if at all. It was decided that victims and families who wished to make a statement, who would NOT be able to be present on the 26th would be allowed to make a victim impact statement. (There were two.) Or, they'd be allowed to record and submit a statement for use at the sentencing. (The two there wanted to speak today) And then people who wished to make a statement regarding the decision on whether or not to incarcerate ayres TODAY were allowed to make statement pertaining to the urgency of containment. (I believe there were 5 total -- press is reporting 6 including the two impact statements, but I think the total count is 7.)
Where are we at?
As I've mentioned before, there is a report that needs to be submitted, and it took them awhile to find a non-biased shrink to make the report, so the report will be late. The judge doesn't want to sentence before that report is completed. So there were two major items on today's agenda:
-Move the sentencing date.
-Determine if ayres will be jailed prior to sentencing (today.)
McKowan argued that she had largely cleared the August 26th date with many of the people who would make an impact statement, and that due to Marsy's Law requirements, their ability to be adequately prepared (time off work, etc...) was paramount, and that moving the already discussed date would be an effort.
McDougall argued that another attorney would be potentially making motions (to withdraw his no-contest plea) and that he had since "learned" that the attorney would not be available until September. He wanted to modify the date accordingly. The judge said No, also siting Marsy's Law. Sentencing will be August 26th. (But there may be other motions in the interim relating to the plea withdrawal that "might be" filed.
McDougall seemed definitely "done" with the case this morning, and while he protested some things said, he mostly kept to himself, not even looking at victims who were standing to speak. Normally, he aggressively blusters poorly thought out, illogical verbal constructions to try to distract and confuse. None of that today.
My theory is this: Much as McDougall immediately attacked prior attorney Weinberg for flawed defense, the goal is to have the new incoming attorney attack McDougall for some flaw in his performance; providing a window of opportunity for ayres to "undo" his plea. If ayres is successful in undoing his plea, will the prosecutor march ahead with trial? The will be gambling that they won't, and at the very least, they'd get years more delay. Nevertheless, McDougall appeared ridden hard, and put away wet.
I'm not going to to into great detail with statements that were made, as I was mostly experiencing the day, not taking notes on it. I will have some brief highlights. This is not meant in any way to slight the people who made statements -- Quite the contrary -- Many of the things that were said were touching, personal, and I won't do them justice without my normal copious notes.
Prior to the start of impact statements, McDougall stipulated that the people speaking must address THE COURT and not any "specific" people. The judge reaffirmed this. To some extent, this went out the window, almost immediately; The judge was very patient with the crowd today.
Victim Impact Statements:
In statute victim Orion B. from the first trial, and his parents will not be able to make the August 26 date, and they were allowed to speak about the impact that this has had on their lives.
Orion: There is some commentary on what he had to say in the papers, so make sure to check that too.. His contribution was well prepared, thoughtful, poignant, gut-wrenching... more. He clearly wanted to speak for those who can't or won't speak up in this matter. He opened by stating that he was one of the first in-statute victims involved, and he hoped with his statement to "Pave the path of hope" for other victims of ayres. He spoke about the horrible impact on family and life, and about seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
Orion's father: Also spoke eloquently about the impact that this had had on the family from the perspective of a parent -- not knowing the horrible truth until much later, and having to struggle with trying to understand the hurt in the interim. He also acknowledged Victoria Balfour for her hard work on the case.
I hope to be able to post some more on their statements at a later time, but for now, impression is what you get -- not verbiage.
Statements About Immediate Remand Into Custody:
Next up, two victims, two parents of a victim, and one friend of the family of a victim stood to speak about the urgency of immediate custody.
Common themes were:
Dangerousness - Mentioned were items such as the long history of manipulation that ayres has practiced, the "grooming" behavior that was reported by staff at Napa State in the competency hearings. The extent of the damage that this does to victims and their families, and the urgency that we all feel to prevent this from continuing. Extreme loss of faith in the justice system, and difficulty with authority were also common themes... And so on....
Several times it was mentioned that ayres was an "admitted" child molester McDougall later objected to these statements. (A no-contest plea is not an "admission of guilt" but rather an admission that at trial one will be found guilty based on the evidence, but without actually admitting to culpability. -- Whatever... none of us gives a rip, as you're still found guilty under the law.)
McDougall also strongly objected to the reference to the grooming incident at Napa, as he didn't think it was factually relevant. (I can't remember his blather specifically) Prosecutor McKowan blasted the snot out of him at this point: "It was stated in the report, on the record, and testified to under oath by staff, in public court, in front of many of the people present in the courtroom today." etc... the little bit of vindication was welcomed by all.
Some specific statements that stood out in my mind:
Jonathan Huddleston talked about his friend who was a victim of ayres, and who had struggled with severe depression and alcohol use, and whose 50th birthday would have been yesterday, had he not committed suicide two years ago to the day. (Two years ago, the competency trial had just hung, and the DA was preparing to concede that ayres was indeed suffering from Alzheimer's - if this adds some unfortunate perspective.) If you didn't already see his statement in front of the Board of Supervisors, go have a look at it. It mirrors what he said today. Today he put a fine point on the fact that from OUR perspective, this was MURDER.)
One of the victims specifically recalled being told repeatedly by ayres: "You know the drill" meaning that he was supposed to undress for his molestation. He then told the judge: "You know the drill: lock him up."
The Judge's Reaction:
Judge Freeman appeared genuinely distressed by what she was hearing from the victims and their families. When suicides were mentioned, either it was the first she'd heard of it (feasible, given the way she's clearly worked to remain impartial, especially with respect to outside sources of information.) Or ayres was making some kind of inappropriate gesture or something, because when it was first mentioned by the mother of a victim, Freeman shot ayres a look that was nothing short of murderous. I'm surprised I don't have near fatal shrapnel wounds from being seated in the general direction that the glare was focused. WOW.
She was clearly moved by what she was hearing.
More on Victim Statements and supporters:
Again, I've not touched on everything, and please don't feel left out, it's been a long, weird day. Hopefully others who were there will help fill in important details that I've missed.
After statements were made, there were some legal machinations:
The court wants an estimate of how many people are expected to make statements. Freeman is leaving a whole day open. McKowan expects to not need the WHOLE day. But again, in interest of Marsy's Law, the judge will not reject anyone who is allowed to make a statement, but hopes to have it planned.
McDougall then suggested that he might need more time after that (but maybe not immediately after that...) in order to make whatever arguments he needs to make... it seemed like vague-ish delay maneuvering room is what he was really asking for.
There was back and forth discussion on what the law says about locking up a convicted felon AFTER conviction, but before sentencing. McDougall admitted that in 9.5 out of 10 cases, the convict is IMMEDIATELY remanded into custody, but in this case, ayres has never missed a day, etc, AND according to McDougall, the probation report currently indicates that ayres is a LOW RISK OFFENDER, and therefore he should be allowed to stay out on bail. AND he's out on a LARGE amount of bail, AND all of the people who spoke were victims OVER 15 YEARS AGO, (etc...)
McKowan argued about flight risk -- She talked about ayres' statement about going into hiding and changing their names -- but also about duty to serve justice that is long overdue the victims, and about the severity of the impact on the victims and families.
After McDougall and McKowan finished their arguments, the judge IMMEDIATELY issued her ruling, without much discussion:
Judge Freeman said that bail is revoked, and ayres was to be remanded into custody immediately.
The two bailiffs jumped to their feet.
Moderate applause broke out, and the judge reminded everyone to not do that... Judge Freeman explained that she was not concerned about flight but rather the number of victims and severity of damage done.
The bailiffs positioned themselves to block access to the child molester.
Solveig asked if she could go get ayres' wristwatch. The bailiff made her back off.
The bailiff took the watch from ayres, and remanded it into Solveig's custody -- Time has all wound-out, pal.
The child molester was wheeled out of court through the back entrance and off to the Redwood City County Jail.
Enjoy the cavity search, billy!
c'est ça -- no proofreading tonight. Comment on errors if you wish!
UPDATE (8/8/2013): Some links to newspaper stories:
Mercury News Article (pdf)
CBS Local Article (pdf)
San Mateo Daily Journal Article (pdf)
Channel 7 video was there yesterday, but I haven't seen video online yet.
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. After years of playing demented for the courts, ayres plead "No Contest" and was found guilty of all charges against him on May 16, 2013. ayres is on bail awaiting sentencing, and 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 Blinder, Etta Bryant, Mel Blaustein, Harry Coren, Tom Ciesla, Robert Kimmich, Larry Lurie, Maria Lymberis, Richard Shadoan, Captane Thomson, and Harold Wallach.