How to Prepare a Victim Impact Statement

You never know when you might need to write a Victim Impact Statement. I wish this on no one. But if you do, here’s what I learned while preparing my statement for the Joseph DeAngelo sentencing hearing. I hope you find this helpful.

Important Note

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For some darn reason, Minnie Mouse decided to enter my body and speak during this podcast. It’s on speed and I can’t change it. So you can either save time and listen to me talk even faster (as if that was possible), or use your device to slow down the pace.

If you look at how the legal system works, Victim Impact Statements play an important role. They are intended to help the judge to understand three things about the victim, relative to the crime: the physical, emotional, and financial effects of the crime. From there, the judge may use that information to determine sentencing and financial restitution. We address our remarks to him, not the defendant.

This nuance, not being able to address DeAngelo, has made several of his victims really angry. 

The reality is, while we won’t be censored, we do need to follow the rules of the court. Rage, sadly, is not part of the process. It’s interesting that it isn’t. If I think about it, it’s a by-product of the men who shaped our legal system. Feelings are eschewed – well, they are in court. Instead, feelings are shifted to punishment and that punishment has become more and more severe over the years. 

Yes, I know old punishments included the stockade, physical abuse and more, but let’s focus on the our times where incarceration and the death penalty are where we are likely to see our rage turned into action. Maybe if we could get more of our feelings out directly, at the convict at sentencing, we might all feel a bit better. At least, it would allow convicts who deeply regret their mistakes to listen to the rage and understand the consequences of the actions on those they hurt. 

But no, instead we are to be civilized, address the judge and mind our manners.

I give absolutely no fucks about DeAngelo. 

He got away with it as far as I’m concerned. Justice isn’t possible in this case. How could we ever punish him for his crimes in a method commensurate with what he’s done. The death penalty would not have been enough. He will likely die at his own hands because he seems hell bent on staying in control. But that’s what it is. 

The good news is there’s opportunity to change things with defendants who do regret their behavior and are seeking rehabilitation or just opportunity. That’s where your Victim Impact Statement can truly make a difference. It allows you to examine your humanity. Your resilience. Your commitment to making the world a kinder, gentler place.

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victim impact statement Ventura California 4

It’s Time to Let Go – Full Moon Renewal Ceremony

The full moon in July is referred to as the “Full Buck Moon” because this is the time of year buck’s antlers are in full growth mode. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the July full moon is also sometimes called the Thunder Moon, Hay Moon, or Wort Moon.

July 7th UPDATE: The ceremony was great! Thank you to those of you who joined me live. There are a few photos below and the video and podcast if you’re interested. I have not paid a lot of attention to my spiritual side lately, and this is just what I needed. 

Video

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On Monday, July 6, at 8pm PT (and you can do this from wherever you are), we will gather at the Guy West Bridge over the American River on the Sac State side, to release the negative energy Joseph DeAngelo released on all of us. This is for anyone who’d like to participate. And yes, technically it won’t be the exact full moon, but I think the Universe will understand.

The full moon is a time for renewal

Tammie Fairchild, founder and CEO of Serenity Spa in Roseville, will get us started. She’s put together a lunar renewal ceremony that she’ll deliver via Zoom. This allows anyone, anywhere to join us. You’ll need to register to participate. Do that, then download the Zoom app to your phone and bring your phone with you (if you’re attending in person, everyone else, computers are fine).

Then, based on a Jewish Tashlich ritual, we’ll release bread (or flowers – must be organic and environmentally friendly) onto the moving water below. This symbolizes the negativity being taken away, and for me, the release of my dad and Charlene’s pain so they can move on.

This is our chance to come together in light. To move past this moment in our shared history and set intentions to make the world a better place. I look forward to having you join us.

Remote attendees: just register for the Zoom and we’ll see you then.

If You’re coming, How it will work

  1. We will start at 8pm.
  2. The moon rises a little late so bring a flashlight if you need visual assistance.
  3. We can park at Sac State in the parking lot (not the structure and absolutely not on the road – that’s fire access). See image below for clarity.
  4. Follow the balloons to the bridge. It’s not that far and I think it’s a pretty flat walk until you get to the bridge.
  5. If you want to participate in the Zoom, register and then bring your phone. You’ll need the Zoom app so download it. Then you’ll just tap the link in the email confirmation, and you’ll be connected.
  6. Bring old bread or flowers if you’d like to release anything onto the water.
  7. Wear a mask, prepare to socially distance. I don’t want one darn person getting sick from this.
  8. This is a life-positive, community get-together. My goal is to be done by 9pm and I’d like to leave the place looking better than when we arrived (you know what I mean).
  9. If there are any night photographers planning to come, bring your camera. Would prefer no flash photography.
  10. If there’s anyone who can lead a song, we might all know, your leadership would be cool.

If you knew my dad and my stepmom, you know this is exactly the kind of event they might have held and certainly would have attended. They believed in the power of community, coming together and shared intention. My dad knew how to move people and Charlene knew how to make them feel at ease. Throughout this process, I have received tremendous support from so many. For that, I am deeply appreciative.

This is our chance, to come together, share our common experience and move forward together. See you Monday night.

Here are a few photos from the evening

Guy West Bridge at Sac State. Mini Golden Gate!
Just a few of us, but it was perfect.
My poor kid was the videographer. She's so durable.
The view up-river, a turtle kept us entertained.
The view down-river. Two geese floated past for effect.
Gratuitous puppy shot. I mean PUPPY!

The HBO I’ll Be Gone in the Dark Teaser Has Dropped

Update: Did not see this press release yesterday. It explains more about the approach to the series and mentions victims! I’m still worried this will romanticize one person (Michelle), but she did write the book! 

I didn’t realize HBO was going to drop the teaser on Sunday and it did catch me a bit off-guard. I always do my best to share real-time feelings about these things, so let’s do that. I’m writing first because I need to be thoughtful about what I say.

It’s no secret I didn’t know who Michelle McNamara was or that she was working on a book. I blogged about that as part of the book event held in Citrus Heights, attended by Patton Oswalt, Paul Haynes and Billy Jensen.

Michelle didn’t talk to the Smith’s for the book, and as I mentioned, instead referred to a series of articles that I probably hate more than anything else out there because it was inaccurate, salacious and forgot a whole kid – my brother Jay. How can someone pretend to be a reporter and literally leave out a child. It caused hurt and it stuck in my craw. I was doing interviews – always willing to help anyone or anything that would help catch our killer. But we didn’t hear a word from anyone on the McNamara team. I’ll admit, it’s disappointing. But that’s history, let’s move forward.

HBO did many interviews with the victims

I can’t talk about it in-depth, but I assume they also did interviews with law enforcement and others who dedicated their lives to finding this man. I hope they did. The victims I’ve spoken with about the interviews thought they were comprehensive, thoughtful and for us, deeply personal. For some, it’s the first time they’ve publicly told their stories. While I can’t speak for the others, I know I was honest, vulnerable and willing to help HBO tell our story. The reason I did it was specifically to respect my dad and stepmom who were robbed of their lives at the hands of a maniac.

The intersection of entertainment and true crime

One benefit I have about telling my story is I don’t have to answer to anyone other than my family. Whatever I do, I try to do it thoughtfully because isn’t just my story, it belongs to my brothers too. I also don’t do it for entertainment. I mean if you are entertained, that’s great, but for me, it’s real-time therapy as I work to understand everything happening and essentially summarize it for consumption. When I’m writing or talking, I feel more like a teacher than anything else.

But now imagine being a studio that must profit off the storytelling. The book gets optioned – meaning they license the rights to make a film based on the book – and now you must create something that will make money for the studio. How do you do that? What creative choices will you make? Will you include some “star power” to make sure it has mass market appeal? Will you conduct re-enactments to depict the crimes? Will you edit interviews in a way that increases the entertainment value while maybe compromising the intent? This is the hot mess that truly lies in the hands of the creative team.

I have zero clue about how HBO will do this. I’ve already exchanged tweets with Liz Garbus, Director, yesterday (and she’s agreed to an interview later!), and she shared one from Kris Pedretti (victim #10 and her tweet is gold). Liz’s reputation is outstanding and I have faith in her desire to tell our story with compassion and empathy. Not only that, but her team sang her praises and comported themselves in a way that’s consistent with what I learned about her.

Then why did the teaser knock me sideways

Man, the teaser bugs me. It’s bugging a few of the victims. But we also know, we need to get over ourselves. I think the first misstep was setting our expectations – and honestly, I even think they intended to manage this – but it just got bungled. We did hear promotion would be starting soon. What we didn’t hear was it would 100% focus on Michelle. It’s nothing like what we expected – and it’s just a teaser– we get it. It’s entertainment first and then it’s storytelling. It’s a sixty second teaser. Get a grip. You’re in marketing Jen, what part of this surprises you?

Just the part where I let my guard down.

Seriously. I also wasn’t prepared for the squeals of delight on Billy Jensen’s twitter feed as his fans, and let’s be honest, he has fans and that’s a good thing, but his fans are super happy for him. Alas, all I could think today was damn folks, people died. People were raped. So many lives were tipped over because of DeAngelo, but sure, add memes and emojis and celebrate. How’s that for some honestly. It is hard to look at but that’s only because it’s inherently weird that other people are making money off your traumatic event. I’ve talked about the Golden State Killer economy. With a few exceptions, I don’t have a problem with it.

This is just the beginning

It’s a teaser designed to sell the series. Got it. It’s going to play out over six episodes, and I believe will tell the story from many points of view. My hope is it champions the strength of the people who’ve survived. My hope is this will help people understand what happened in the 70s and 80s. My hope is we get DeAngelo in a courtroom so this perpetual anxiety I have that this guy’s going to escape conviction by dying finally disappears.

I’m genuinely interested in your thoughts about the teaser. Leave a comment here or chat me up on Twitter!

In the News | 1981 Prelim of Joe Alsip Links & Images

When Joe Alsip was arrested for the murder of Lyman and Charlene Smith, we finally learned about new aspects of the case – evidence, what had happened to them – and yet, many details still remained a mystery. It’s only with the connection to Joseph DeAngelo that we know more about what happened in the house that night and early morning. 

The Lawyer’s Daughter podcast describes what happened in this arc of what is such a bigger story, yet it’s fascinating. There are lots of loose threads I’ll continue to try and tie-up, but here, I share the images that support the podcast. Thank you for listening and subscribing

Lyman and Charlene Smith Ventura 1980
The Missionary Church Becomes Part of the Case

From the serving of subpoenas to the missing notes and mysterious location, to the Pastor’s assertion that Satan was somehow behind all of this, the prosecution and defense were busy trying to find the truth.

Ventura Missionary Church 1982
Rev Mikel Holds Key
Mikel takes the stand
Alsip testifies
Rev Don Mikel Notes

I’ll add more but here are the two photos of the Rev. Don Mikel’s notes (right click and open image in new tab to zoom in). Also, if you look at the Missionary Church history page, you’ll see there’s no reference to this man. Interesting and sad.

Rev Don Mikel notes, Ventura 1981
Rev Don Mikel notes, Ventura 1981
Joe Alsip is Set Free

At the time, many thought he was still guilty, so you can imagine how well this photograph of him celebrating irritated 90% of law enforcement in Ventura County. Maybe not his smartest move yet understandable since we all now know he wasn’t guilty. That said, what a damn nightmare.

Job Hunting Coronavirus Edition with Shelley Karpaty

Shelley Karpaty has worked as a high-profile Silicon Valley recruiter – and worked with me at a cybersecurity firm awhile back! She bases her philosophy on the Sanskrit root for yoga, which means to add, join, unite, or attach. She works to find your passion, help you package it, and unite you with a company that values your skills.

With over 20 years experience in Silicon Valley, she has worked with top talent at Sun Microsystems, Brocade, Motorola, Silver Spring Networks and Peet’s Coffee and Tea, to name a few, reviewing hundreds of resumes. My experience with Shelley is she enjoys helping people highlight their unique skills to best represent their professional brand. Guiding people to their next career endeavor whether you are experienced or new to the workforce, she’s here to support you.

She’s also offered this audience a free Enneagram assessment through April 2020. Jump on it! 

Or listen to the podcast

Putting Your Best Foot Forward

Here’s a quick list of the tips Shelley shared on the broadcast.

  1. Make sure the job listing is actually active. Three are lots of “evergreen” job posts out there designed to generate a steady flow of resumes. It doesn’t mean people are actually hiring.
  2. Network to get your resume to the top of the pile. The candidates who are seen are those that comes via referral.
  3. Use LinkedIn to find a friend who works there or a friend of a friend. Do what you can to get your resume delivered by someone with an “in”.
  4. Use your resume to demonstrate how you will solve the employer’s problem(s). I talked about this in Ep 15. Take a look.
  5. Follow-up. You can ask for the job – graciously – during the interview if things go well. You can also follow-up and remind the recruiter you’re interested.
  6. Send thank yous – emails are fine, written thank yous (if you move quickly) are delightful.

ELI Assessment 50% off

 

Build Your Personal Brand Pt 2 with Jennifer Carole

Today I take you through the rest of the personal brand building exercise where we focus on what motivates you and what makes you special. In the last episode, I had you figure out your current mission statement. By going through those steps, you should have identified what you want to do based on what’s important to you. Now we’re going to take it one step further.

Listen to today’s show and then use the information below to help you map out your personal brand plan.

Or listen to the podcast

Here are the steps for building your personal brand.

Before we get into the details, here’s the end game. You’ll have a simple chart that describes

  • The problem you solve
  • Why you’re the person to solve it
  • Proof that you’re the right person

This will help you hone your resume, write a good cover letter and focus your personal marketing.

Before you do that, first take a minute and check-in on your values. Answer these questions:

  • What matters most to you
  • What have you expressed
  • What do you feel compelled to express but haven’t

Now, back to the hard stuff. With the mission statement work you did last week, and your values clearly identified, answer these two questions:

  • What is the problem you solve?
  • Now, this is harder, but it’s important, write it from the other’s point of view (client, hiring manager, etc.).

Now figure if you’re the right person for the task. What are your attributes: a blend of skills, personality, and reading the room.

  • Make a list of skills
  • Make a list of personality traits
  • Think about why you fit from their perspective

Now prove it. This is where all that experience comes in.

  • If you make an assertion – “I’m excellent at…” then you need to be able to prove it.

Proof comes in many forms:

  • Data – how many, how often, budget numbers, comparison
  • Testimonials – client lists, quotes, endorsements, memberships, awards
  • Visual proof – photos, demonstrations

And now bring it all together. I literally use a form. Here it is! Personal Brand Plan

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Grief in the Time of Coronoavirus with Andrea Lott

Andrea Lott joined us today to talk about grief and how it might feel different right now because we can’t be with the people we love when we lose them. There’s very little that can replace a hug. Ironically, it’s touching more than just coronavirus victims. Even people dying from other causes are passing at a time when we can’t run to the side of the people closest to them to give them a hug or sit and remember the good times. The risk is feelings getting buried and depression grabbing hold while we sit in isolation.

Andrea offers some advice from her experience as a grief counselor (she also came highly recommended from a client). After talking with her, I can see why she’s so good at what she does. Take a minute and listen to her wisdom and then, if you want to know more about the Anchoring Heart Technique, look below.

And please share this with whoever needs to hear her words of comfort right now. Andrea has graciously extended her availability, her email is lottae at ah.org (you know, change the at to @).

Or listen to the podcast

The Anchoring Heart Technique

The Anchoring Heart Technique is an age-old somatic practice that grounds people and helps them feel more secure. It is simple and straightforward; the hard part is remembering to do it when you feel uncomfortable feelings you prefer to disconnect from.

WHEN YOU ARE CENTERED: Calm energy usually resides low and deep within yourself.  You might report feeling open and relaxed.

WHEN YOU ARE “Beside Yourself”: Anxious energy usually rises; it’s no longer deep in your belly, but climbs up in your chest. Your voice often rises in pitch. You might report feeling uptight and flighty.

WHEN YOU ACCESS INNATE BODY WISDOM: Have you ever received bad news that caught you off guard? Maybe you gasped and grabbed your chest with an open palm, UNCONSCIOUSLY anchoring yourself. The “Anchoring Heart Technique” simply applies the same gesture CONSCIOUSLY. It is:
• an act of self compassion you can use whenever you feel anxious, stressed, or helpless
• useful whenever you are in need of strength, courage, or patience
• helpful to re-train  your brain and the synapses in your nervous system to allow emotional pain and hurt sit side by side with peace (instead of fear)

There are 3 steps to the Anchoring Heart Technique:

  • anchor the Heart firmly and tenderly & Breathe deeply
  • feel whatever uncomfortable feeling that you are experiencing (even if it’s just for a few seconds)
  • be curious about the place inside that is NOT afraid of emotional pain (builds awareness and new synaptic nerve connections)

You can use one hand or two; you can keep your eyes open, lower them, or close them — whatever is most comfortable for you or whatever the circumstance might dictate.

Marie Bainbridge, a Vietnam Veteran Bronze-star recipient, uses the Anchoring Heart Technique when her PTSD is triggered. However, she says she also uses it in many ordinary situations: “I can be impatient in traffic. If I’m in a store and someone is blocking the aisle so no one can get around them, I want to huff and puff and complain about their self-centeredness. Now, I use the Anchoring Heart Technique to cultivate patience, courtesy, and self-control. It really helps.”

People can also use the Anchoring Heart Technique with others. People often need anchoring and security, especially during times filled with uncertainty. If a calm person places their open hand on an unsettled person’s sternum, it can often help him/her feel secure, more stable, and less anxious. Place your hand firmly on the other person’s heart and just breathe deeply to induce calmness. This often helps the other person feel more connected with themselves and more secure in their own skin.

An alternative form of the Anchoring Heart Technique is to approach the heart from behind – in other words placing your hand firmly on their back between their shoulder blades. This conveys a feeling of “I’ve got your back.” It can be used with people you don’t know well when placing your hand on their heart would be too intimate or too invasive.

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From Survivor to Advocate with Kris Pedretti

Kris Pedretti was victim 10. At that time, the East Area Rapist had barely been acknowledged as a repeat offender. Kris was 15, a church girl who was incredibly innocent and extremely good-hearted. Within 90 minutes, Joseph DeAngelo (DNA guilty) stole her innocence and changed the course of her life. And yet, she’s moved from being a survivor to being an advocate.

It’s taken her over forty years to tell her story.

When I first met her, we just connected. She, along with Carol Daly, essentially became the Den Mothers for a group of survivors who honestly never expected to come together in the way we have (Kris’ backyard is my little heaven). That’s due, in part, to the generosity and empathy that is core to who Kris is. She’s my Sacramento bestie and she’s telling her story – with confidence – as she becomes an advocate for other victims of abuse who haven’t had to courage to tell their stories.

Her private Facebook group is available to victims and allies. You can find it here.

Or listen to the podcast

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Growing Up Transgender with Jordan and Violet

Jordan is practically my son. I’ve known him since he was in third grade. I’ve been a part of his life since and I experienced the struggles and joys of his transition from female to male and his alignment as he was growing up transgender. He and his friend, Violet, male to female, tell their story with authenticity and honesty as they ask only one thing from the world: accept them for who they are.

On a personal note, nothing was harder for me than knowing every time Jordan had to shower, he was filled with self-loathing. The emotional pain was severe and he struggled with suicide. His parents moved as quickly as they could to learn more and support him in any way that could – even medically – which honestly, involved big decisions.

Unfortunately, the church let them down.

They were all very active in their church and I watched as they were rejected and eventually left. While their journey has taken them to places they never expected, their faith stayed strong and their ability to lift others up who were also struggling, is why they are an important part of my life. As they say, “they are good people”.

Resources below. Message me if you have questions or need support. Oh! And the music you hear at the opening/closing of the show, Jordan created it. Thanks J!

Or listen to the podcast

A few resources about growing up transgender

Ten Things You Can Do to support children who are questioning their gender. Dr. Shane Hill has been an essential support for transgender kids in Santa Cruz and the greater Bay Area. This short list is the very best place to start if your child is asking you to listen.

I worked on the first version of this website, it feels like 100 years ago. For more than a decade this organization has grown and thrives. The new site is beautiful and has many resources – especially for parents – who don’t know where to start or how to support their child.

Jordan mentions, Camp Aranu’tiq is a safe place for transgender kids to feel like themselves. Safe, protected and super normal, this camp really helped save Jordan emotionally. The Boston Globe even showed up to do a story.

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Gig Worker, Small Business Loan Explainer with Seanna Asper

Seanna Asper is a CPA (in Washington State) and an accountant who I met in coaching school. What this means is she brings a very wonderful approach to dealing with numbers. Here’s how she says it, “In this information age it’s easy to get information and seemingly harder to find people that truly care about you and your growth. That’s what makes me different. I have a Master’s and Bachelor’s in accounting, but I’m not your typical accountant. I’ll partner with you in growing your business. Your success is my success.”

We share a philosophy, we both believe in helping others be successful. In today’s show, Seanna explains to two different ways gig workers and small businesses can participate in the federal loan programs instituted as part of the CARES Act. These are really important and she explains them in plain English.

I’ve added resources below. PLEASE take advantage of one of these programs if you’re eligible. It will help us all stay afloat.

Or listen to the podcast

Vital links to resources

Seanna has offered to answer questions if you have them. Visit her site for contact information.

Seanna wrote a blog about these two programs: she’s updating it regularly as things evolve. Might be worth bookmarking.

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) details are here. This is to replace lost income. You’ll need to have filed 2019 taxes with a Schedule C. If you use this for payroll, the loan is forgiven; you’ll owe nothing. Finding a lender might be a challenge. Do not give up. More lenders are coming online and if you don’t have previous loan experience with a bank, it just means you’re gonna need to push.

The Covid-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) information is here. These are targeted for businesses that need capital to restart their business. This is a low interest loan, different from the PPP above. You might qualify for both but don’t double-dip.

No matter what, keep meticulous records. Both the banks and government are going to want proof you used the money for the right things.

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