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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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. 

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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.

March 5, 2020 Podcast Notes | DeAngelo Wants to Plea

This is a summary of my March 5, 2020 podcast, DeAngelo Wants to Plea. You can listen to the podcast here or search Lawyer’s Daughter on Spotify, TuneIn, Apple Pods, Google Play Music and PodBean. As always, I appreciate your ratings, reviews and sharing with your family and friends.

On Tuesday, March 4, when I was preparing to do my first talk in Santa Cruz around four o’clock, I saw a notification come through on my phone from Reddit that said JJD is going to plea. And I stopped breathing. I held my breath as I just stared at it. Folks ask, how did it feel? Well, it felt like all the feelings.

I think physiologically, my body flooded with adrenaline. I felt cold and hot. I felt completely confused. It was almost like I got punched. I was really mad that it happened at that moment because I was already working up confidence to do my live talk for the first time; I was putting a lot of energy into preparing. As soon I calmed myself I bit, I immediately started investigating.

Hidden in a footnote, DeAngelo is willing to plea.

I started looking and found out it was something that Paige St. John had found in a footnote on a motion that was filed by the defense. Buried in the Motion to Dismiss, the defense slipped it into a footnote. This motion is looking to six-furcate (my word because bifurcate isn’t applicable here), the cases by jurisdiction. When the prosecution decided to prosecute everything in Sacramento, I started calling it the big gulp.

Motion to Dismiss DeAngelo Willing to Plea

The prosecution did this in April of 2019 if I have my facts right. There are a couple of reasons why this big gulp strategy is important. First, it makes the prosecution big. As you can imagine, we’re going into a trial that’s got all this stuff happening from all these jurisdictions. So that’s a big deal. And second, it makes it expensive. Prosecutors from the different jurisdictions must come to Sacramento. It could be argued it reduces costs by requiring only one jury, one judge, etc. I’m not a bean counter – either way, we are spending money. This request from the defense would basically disassemble the approach.

Meanwhile, the defense has also asked for money from the different jurisdictions. Now, take a minute and realize what we’ve done here. In America, we believe in law and order. We believe in justice. And our tax dollars are used to support that legal system. And ironically enough, our tax dollars are paying for D’Angelo’s defense. That is how we fund the public defender’s office. It comes from the Sacramento County budget.

I don’t think it’s unreasonable for them to ask for money and or other resources from the different jurisdictions, because that really should be a shared financial responsibility when it comes to defending D’Angelo. That shouldn’t that burden shouldn’t fall wholly on Sacramento County.

The question I have is why did they wait till now? The prosecution made this clear that this is how we were proceeding months ago. It seems odd. I feel like this defense team just woke up since the January hearing. The judge said, no, we’re not getting a continuance until January 2021. No, we’re not going to sit around and wait for you to go through all that discovery you’ve had forever. Let’s get it together here. Let’s prioritize. (Okay, he didn’t say those last two things – I’m just saying that on his behalf.)

The idea is we’ve got to move forward. That’s the point. And I wish I could have been in court the cheering when he said that – I was home sick with Norovirus. He set the date for May 12th, and that’s just about eight weeks out. And just like that, things finally started to happen.

Anxiety is increasing among those who’ll have to testify.

They knew it conceptually, but this made it very real. This is especially true among the people who are being asked to testify, relative to the kidnapping charges. Those are the rape charges and not the murder charges. In the rape charges, where a person was moved or there was some sort of act that was considered kidnapping, those became charges that could still be applied and weren’t affected by the statute of limitations. And they also helped with special circumstances, which are required for the death penalty request.

As you can imagine, those folks who are scheduled to testify are starting to get anxious. And that’s hard. I guess we’re unique because as victims, we became a squad.

Not everybody has joined us. Some folks have remained anonymous and I’m sorry, they haven’t. They’re really missing one of the most healing parts of this whole thing. For those of us who do get together, we’re working hard to support one another.

We’ve discovered, now there are two groups of victims.

First there are those that have cases that cannot be tried. All of the rapes hit the statute of limitations. With the exception of the cases with new kidnapping charges, the rapes victims are not part of the active group. The second groups are the victims who have charges that can be applied. This is suddenly an odd shift to the murders from Southern California.

If you think about it, at least I grew up thinking the murder first was a murder in a small town. When I heard about the other murders in Southern California, I considered myself part of that group. Absolutely. As those as we were all connected through DNA. When our murders suddenly connected to the rapes in Sacramento (and beyond), I instantly identified with the people in Sacramento.

These are my people. I’ve spent so much time, so much of my life has been spent in Sacramento – gramma lived here, I went to UC Davis and Sac State. It’s always felt like a second home to me. When we came together, we were all one. But now there’s a slightly different dynamic going on.

And I don’t think it’s particularly playing out in terms of our relationships.

But some of us, including me, feel like we are representing those that don’t get to have a voice in this right now; those that don’t have active charges. These are the things nobody talks about. But it really is interesting how the legal system has an impact even on relationships, even on your ability to be a victim and how that works. And that’s absolutely in play.

Let’s go back to DeAngelo being willing to plea.

Why was that put in writing? Because the minute you write down that someone is willing to plea you taint the prospective jury pool because you’ve essentially said your client’s willing to plead guilty. We don’t have any information on what he’s willing to plead guilty to, but I sense the defense isn’t focused on the what. How do we possibly move forward at this point? I mean, this is really screwed up if you think about it.

I wonder about legal malpractice. I cannot think of a case, and I’d love folks to let me know if they have any examples of where that kind of information was leaked publicly. I’m really pissed about how this is being handled.

This is classic D’Angelo: controlling the narrative.

I am so tired of this man who lived his full 72 years out in the wild doing all these awful things, but also having his nice little middle age, and early senior years, living undetected without any constraints, without any rules – living in Citrus Heights, doing his thing, fishing, riding his motorcycle, being a jerk.

He’s been out there and now he gets to control the narrative when it comes to how we’re going to find him guilty. I’m hot about this. I don’t want any part of this. At a minimum, I feel like a plea is too soon. At a minimum, we should have this prelim that’s coming up in May. And here’s why: there are still people who aren’t sure he’s the guy.

Innocent until proven guilty.

This is truly how it’s supposed to work. It’s the responsibility of the prosecution to prove that this man is guilty. Maybe we have the wrong guy. I don’t think that’s possible because SCIENCE (DNA), but I’m going to give nonbelievers the benefit of the doubt. Then let’s go ahead and move into the prelim. Another very big reason why a prelim is important: DeAngelo didn’t just hurt humans and families, but he terrorized whole communities. I feel it’s his civic responsibility to sit in a courtroom for at least eight to 12 weeks before copping a plea.

He needs to face his accusers and listen to all the evidence that supports holding him over to trial. That is the point of the prelim: to show there is enough evidence to bind him over to trial. And after we all hear that; after we hear the evidence – I know I know there’s evidence beyond DNA – then he can make a plea. And that can work through the plea process.

But let’s go ahead and move with this prelim. I think it’s owed to far more than just the victims. It is owed to all of us who lived in fear. I lived in fear for decades. I didn’t even know there was a serial killer that I was afraid of for the first 20 years. I thought there was just a crazy person who hated my dad and Charlene. Around 2000, I find out.

That coincided to exactly to when I had Katie. Suddenly I felt more vulnerable than I’ve ever felt in my life because now there was a bad guy out there and I didn’t have any idea what he might do next. Based on his behavior in Sacramento, I knew he’d revisit the crimes by calling people that he had hurt before.

In our case, he didn’t have my dad and Charlene to call. He only had his kids. I did feel vulnerable and I did feel afraid. I did wacky things like bells on doors and having a bat by my bed. So many of us did things to protect ourselves. That’s why it’s really important to me that he have to sit in court for at least the prelim.

What will he tell us if he does negotiate a plea?

I have had my expectations set that he is not inclined to share information with us. He is not inclined in any way to help us feel better about what’s happened. He’s not inclined in any way to make this any easier on anybody but himself. If we move forward with a plea without him having to ever walk into a real courtroom, he wins.

Once again, he’s controlling the narrative and he’s controlling the outcome. And I’m so over that. So one of the things that. So where we are. So one of the things that’s happened that came out the news in the last two days, I think is that it is true that I believe it’s only the people that have charges pending, got letters from the defense.

When it all comes down to it, the elected District Attorneys are the deciders. So maybe this really is up to you, the constituents. The DA’s represent you. Let them know what you want in this case.

February 2020 Closes with a Few DeAngelo Surprises

Many of us have waited so long for this show to get started. Thanks to DNA, I never worried we’d get the wrong guy – he left his mark everywhere. But even the biggest cynic in the room – yeah, me – never thought things would take this long just to generate momentum.

The first surprise: getting a date for the preliminary trial to start.

I have to say, the survivors have much love for the judge who basically said, put a fork in it, I’m done. Let’s get things moving. That was in January. I know the public defender’s office wanted a lot more time, but it’s coming up on two years and honestly, there are very few “hooks” for a defense. Maybe none really except how the GED Match site was used to find a suspect, but after that, there’s very little to defend.

We’ve had the same, consistent suspect since the DNA was connected across the crimes in the early 2000s. Seriously: same guy. If you accept the DNA matches connecting all the crimes, the only thing you can fight is the matching process.

And that brings us to February development number one:

Prosecutors seek additional DNA from DeAngelo.

I did not see this coming; especially now. Again, we’ve all been aboard this prosecution boat for 22 months, how did they not know they would need more DNA before this moment in time. I don’t want to piss off the prosecution, but c’mon, how could this not have been on someone’s to do list before February of 2020? I’ve heard they ran out and need more for testing. I don’t know what’s true, but I do know we could have expected a fight (see not much to defend above). The defense is almost obliged to defend this request lest they be accused of malpractice. Apparently, these motions will be heard at the hearing on March 12th. Stay tuned.

On to development number two:

Sacramento public defender’s office wants assistance from other jurisdictions.

This seems fair. They share an inordinate amount of the burden and it wasn’t their decision to jam a giant pile of crimes into a single trial. Sacramento taxpayers shouldn’t have to shoulder this whole burden. They should be getting support from other public defenders in the other jurisdictions.

Where I’m stuck is why is this just coming up now. I think we heard it first at the hearing in January (I wasn’t there so I don’t have first-hand knowledge, but I think it was brought up). This should have been an issue the minute the prosecution strategy was to lump everything together in 2018. My gut says this is a window into what’s happening at the public defender’s office and it doesn’t show well. Prioritizing what-matters-most is a life skill most of us have mastered (or at least understand). How could this issue languish until now?

And a snarky aside: if you crime so hard you trigger charges that can still stand 40 years later in six jurisdictions, you should not be entitled to a red carpet defense. I mean, I can point to legions of folks in prison right now who are jailed because they didn’t get a good defense. Why should this guy get anything better? This guy we have on DNA.

Finally, development number three:

Anxiety is starting to build among the survivors.

This was going to happen. It was inevitable. I’m feeling it every day and I don’t have to testify. I’m anxious for my brother and my (survivor) friends who really aren’t interested in going back to that ugly place. Nobody wants to be re-victimized. I don’t know anyone that wants to sit across from him in a courtroom and look at him. But it’s a necessary evil. To manage my anxiety, I focus on the process. I want this prelim to happen and I want it to be uncomfortable – for him.

He needs to be uncomfortable as he sits there on his non-existent ass, hour after hour, as the world talks about him and his repugnant behavior.

He needs to be uncomfortable as he listens to the witnesses, one by one, that will include the women and men whose lives he interrupted and changed because he didn’t want to get help.

He needs to be uncomfortable when he must shut-up and listen as people describe the fear, violence and terror he delivered on every victim and community.

I know he’s a psychopath, but let’s all pray this won’t make him happy. Let’s pray it makes him damn miserable as his daughters hear every ugly detail. I regret they must go through this, but if it brings him misery, I’m all in.

I expect more hijinks before we get started in May. I’m going to pick-up the podcast in March and start recording again. I plan to attend court and do a daily update. Stay tuned for details.

It’s not too late to get tickets!

Folks in Santa Cruz, Sacramento and Ventura, please come meet me live in March. It’s free and I look forward to seeing you! Get free tickets here.

The Golden State Killer Economy – Who’s Making Money

I was roasted on Reddit* the other day – totally unexpected – and it seems like things got weird when someone accused me of posting to promote my coaching business. Of course, my website has my coaching business on it, but that wasn’t why I was there. I was just participating in the discussion like everyone else, and then suddenly I was defending myself. It’s the first time that’s happened in two years since I went public.

Let’s start at the top: the prosecution and defense of DeAngelo.

There’s no doubt there’s a Golden State Killer economy. Holy smokes; it starts with the $20M price tag that prompted AB 141 to pay for jurisdictional expenses “incurred in connection with the prosecution and defense of Joseph DeAngelo.” There are a lot of people getting paid to try and defend this case. There are lawyers and researchers, scientists and testing facilities, computer experts and investigators and legions more who are working for both sides. We are nothing if not job security as this case is being prepped for the prelim. Also, don’t forget travel and housing expenses as teams from around the state come in and out of Sacramento to move things froward. We can debate if this level of expense is necessary, (and goodness knows I will in an upcoming blog), but let’s just accept this at face value. If we ever get to trial, chances are, this cost will likely increase.

Then there’s the content value of the case itself.

News, movies, documentaries, books, podcasts, blogs – some of these are highly monetized and some make no money at all. We all know when HBO or Michelle McNamara are telling the story, the intention is to make money. Not the only intention, but let’s accept one chooses that approach because there’s money to be made. Maybe that’s a better way to say it. I’m not casting blame here, merely noting there’s an economy in play and we all participate in it. In this category, I believe these folks truly care about the subject matter and the victims. I’ve worked with some of these folks and I’ve found them to be credible.

But we also have the exploiters. The folks whose sole motivation is money. They aren’t interested in the truth and have no interest in the victims, they are only interested in selling their product. I encourage everyone to keep their eye out for these folks; they are fairly transparent and tend to have a pattern to their behavior like focusing on click-bait, lying and repetition of same themes.

And then there are the victims; have they made money? Do they make money?

The honest answer is no, with a few exceptions. For the most part, any of us who are making money off the crime have been remarkably transparent. Jane Sandler-Carson wrote a book (not an affiliate link). That’s legit. She lived the experience; she did the work to write the book and she lives her truth. To the best of my knowledge, no one has been paid for any television appearances. There’s one activity where some folks got an unexpected honorarium, but I can’t disclose it and when I finally can, it won’t surprise you. And it wasn’t much.

Victims aren’t making bank on this. In fact, generally we are all financially poorer because of DeAngelo’s crimes and arrest. Of the victims I know, we are out-of-pocket on therapy, time away from work for hearings and other legal proceedings. Some of us travel to Sac to participate in these activities and have hotel bills. If there’s one thing the “true crime” industry has done that’s a disservice to victims, it’s the implication that everyone is making money.

We simply aren’t.

It’s maybe the saddest part of the Golden State Killer economy. Yes, there are some Victim Assistance programs but they vary by jurisdiction and they are publicly funded so there aren’t deep pockets. Honestly, many of us are doing okay and feel like those funds should be used by people with greater need.

So back to Reddit and the great Jen Carole takedown.

Let’s get real. I don’t make money on my blog. You can do a quick check and see there’s no advertising. In fact, when I tried some affiliate ads, I got no clicks (and I was highly selective). Why? Because that’s not what my blog is about. Yep, it’s just me, the website (I pay for) and my computer.

It is the same for my podcast. Honestly, the reason I stopped doing it is I had to work and didn’t have time to dedicate to doing it well. I would very much like to sell my podcast and get paid to do it so I can afford to attend the preliminary trial in May. I am transparently sharing that with you. I have no idea if I can sell it. My coaching business is how I figured I could earn a living while attending court because I can coach in off-hours. My LawyersDaughter.com audience is not my coaching target. That’s why I have two URLs (that I pay for): one for my business and one for this journey.

I don’t intend to sound defensive. I just reread this blog and I still might. That’s truly not my point. My point is, if DeAngelo died tomorrow, this little  economy is a house of cards. It all falls down with a few exceptions. I think the highly developed content will have a longer lifespan, but most of what’s been created around this [expletive deleted] criminal will fall by the wayside. As it should. And if you don’t believe me, just look at Casey Anthony and Scott Peterson, both who are realizing they are beyond irrelevant. So how do they goose the system to try and make money? They exploit it. Sickening.

On behalf of the victims, we appreciate your goodwill. We have no intention of exploiting it. We will take the opportunity to support ourselves if it makes sense. If you feel we have crossed a line, please speak to us directly. Otherwise know, you’ve bet on the right people in this hot mess.

And it’s appreciated.

*This did not happen in the EARONS sub-Reddit. I traveled outside our group and I will never do that again! The EARONS community has been amazing and honestly, along with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. and those of you that read this blog, have been so supportive. It’s the reason I have the courage to do these speaking engagements. 


March 2020 – Santa Cruz, Sacramento and Ventura

I’m coming to town in March. Absolutely free. Get a ticket by clicking on the graphic!

Live Event with Jennifer Carole - Free!

What Is DeAngelo’s Defense Thinking? What Will Be Their Strategy?

I feel remarkably better today – the boost of adrenaline I had from yesterday’s hearing (while I sat in my darn recliner) kind of flushed my system. Remember that for the next time you’re sick – just get really worked up about something! I also promised a part two today about the Intersection of Justice and Politics, but I had so much work to catch-up on today – I have to wait until this weekend. Apologies. (Read yesterday’s blog.)

Update from Yesterday

I was able to get more scoop about yesterday and here’s a quick rundown of impressions from folks who were there (and know you can also keep up with details here as well):

  • The atmosphere was absolutely amazing. The prosecution was friendly to the survivors and fierce with the defense. I’m guessing the energy the prosecution brought must have juiced the survivors a bit because it was described to me as palpable.
  • The defense was wimpy and petulant in its collective demeanor. Under a banner of “it’s not fair”, they fought for the delay – the video above is edited and makes it look fast, but apparently it wasn’t. At one-point DeAngelo’s male attorney talked back to the judge he was so dissatisfied with Judge White’s ruling.
  • One bailiff had his hand on DeAngelo’s back to “steady him” the whole time.
  • The prosecution was so fierce, that was when a man said, “Amen!” out loud.
  • I was most chastised for missing the one time (finally) where everyone left feeling pumped and satisfied that something was finally going to happen. Yeah, I am bummed I missed it.

What’s Next

I haven’t talked with Cheryl Temple in Ventura, our prosecutor, so this isn’t based on anything other than what makes sense and some speculation on my part. I really do feel like I have my dad in my head helping me think these things through but yes, he is dead, so take this for what it’s worth.

March Hearing: There’s one more of these in-jail-courtroom procedural hearings before the preliminary trial begins in May. I think the date is March 4th (I know I saw it last night) but I can’t find it. I’ll confirm. I find this interesting because this might be a strategic honey pot – as they call it in the cybersecurity game. I’m thinking the prosecution is anticipating hijinks from the defense and this might help manage their behavior because if they enter in May and ask for a series of motions that will provide additional delays, the prosecution can argue they did not bring them up just a few weeks before, thereby boxing-in the defense.

New Venue: I was told ages ago, and I need to reconfirm 100%, but we’ll finally be in a new venue and a real courtroom. That should give us a little more room to breath but could be deathly uncomfortable. For anyone who things having a big booty improves comfort, yeah, no. Age is age baby, I need to get my core in shape because this will be a sit-a-thon.

Why a Preliminary Trial: this comes up a lot on Reddit (you guys are legal animals!). In California, it’s how we proceed (learn more here). It also gives the prosecutors a huge advantage: because the witnesses are aging, any testimony provided during a prelim can be used in the trial. That’s not the case with Grand Jury testimony (as it’s been explained to me). We truly are on a clock here – my brothers and I are some of the younger victims and we are in our 50s. That’s also why the witness list of about 150 people is so insanely long. I believe we’ll get a very good look at the strategies both teams will be using when we get to a full trial (please Lord don’t let me attend that on a Jazzy – if I do, I’m going to require some mods).

Prosecution Strategy: It’s a preliminary trial – which we will now start calling the prelim – and I’ve been here before. We had one in Ventura. I was there and testified. I won’t have to testify this time. Then I was a witness to things that involved the defendant. Now, nope. I don’t know how the prosecution will divvy this up, but I suspect they will let the cream rise to the top. We’ll find out what matters most. Can anyone say DNA? I don’t know that we will hear a lot about his modus operandi because they just need to do two things: prove there’s enough evidence to hold him over for trial and get recorded testimony of witnesses that might not be available for trial.

Defense Strategy: I’ve thought a lot about this. I don’t think they particularly have one. If the defense had one, they should have come into the hearing yesterday with a rationale for the extended time; 250,000 documents wasn’t it. Instead, they could have cited how many lab tests need to be run, how many business days it takes to run the test. They could have talked about witnesses and depositions and how long those take. Maybe they could speak to dependencies on agencies that are providing them with documents that support their assertions. And it would have been framed to fight a going to a prelim. But they didn’t. Instead they basically said, it’s hard. I bet it is. Your suspect sucks. He left his seed everywhere. He followed a rigorous, predictable MO. He freaking beat the shit out of the people he killed in Southern California. Because there are fluids, his fluids, they must prove he didn’t. Not. Gonna. Happen.

DeAngelo’s Strategy: now I will participate in absolute pure speculation. Let’s call it a theory so I can pretend I’m part of the Criminal Minds team. Here it is. The house was in his granddaughter’s name when the sale was made. I find that interesting.

A smart lawyer, who knew her personal assets were tied to a criminal, might move to protect those assets for her children in case the criminal was captured one day. In fact, a smart lawyer, who knew her children were fathered by a criminal, might also enjoin him in an agreement: if the police close in, you will kill yourself before they can take you in. He’d likely agree because seriously, he didn’t want to get caught. I’ll now go the one step further, a smart lawyer who has a lot of power, has daughters and grandchildren she loves dearly, might also add, let’s be clear, you will not put my children through a trial. Every time there’s a court date, they suffer. I know, because I do. For me it’s not horrible but it triggers dreams and memories, so imagine those daughters. So far, the pressure has been about every two to three months. But a trial will be every day.

He’s going to bring shame to his family, every day.

Until I saw that gulp yesterday, I believed he was working on an exit (death) before conviction. He expected get a continuance until the end of 2020. But oops, he’s no longer in control and Judge White surprised him. Gulp. If we use a trial day of May 12, he only has four months left. That’s not much time.

I could be completely full of crap, but we are dealing with a control fiend and I haven’t seen any evidence he doesn’t love his kids. I’m assuming he does. He thought he had this. But he doesn’t. And yet, there are still roadblocks the defense can attempt to slow things down. I have no idea how this will go down, but he’s going to do whatever he can to have this happen on his terms.

Court Date | January 22, 2020 – We Have a Preliminary Trial Date. Finally.

I wasn’t in court today and I under-estimated my frustration. I’ve been sick and then I managed to share it with mom (and her birthday was yesterday!) and there was no way I was infecting more people. You’re welcome. Instead, I sat here dying to know what was happening. I also missed my buds and the afterward at Carol Daly’s place.

I had understood the goal today was two-fold: get a plea and schedule the preliminary hearing. Good job prosecution team, mission accomplished. But along the way, we start to see the strategy that might be the only one the defense can use. Just drag it out. I am convinced that’s what DeAngelo wants: he “wins” if he dies without a conviction. At 74 and a solid plan of self-depravation, it appeals to his strengths: planning, manipulation and control.

How DeAngelo Can “Win”

They asked for the end of the year. They wanted a continuance that would take another 12 months. Are you kidding? That supports really one thing: time. I don’t believe discovery is an adequate argument. Interestingly, neither did the judge. You know I’m not a lawyer, and I could be missing something, but there’s nothing in that discovery that’s going to shift this case.

I feel comfortable positing there isn’t anything exculpatory for any of the crimes with DNA. The DNA is a lock. So if they aren’t fighting to get him acquitted (because that won’t succeed), what are they fighting for? My hypothesis is a quiet exit with no conviction. I’d love to hear other points of view on this. It’s one part of this case that baffles me.

How DeAngelo Won Today

Since I was trapped in my recliner, I posted a few tweets about what I look for when I go to court. One of the things was how DeAngelo manages his performance. I figured he’d be thinner (but was he frail?) and would do all he could to look the part. Clearly it worked. At one point the bailiff reaches out to steady him.

Win.

If you watch the KCRA report, they “packaged” what DeAngelo wants: he seemed unsteady, he didn’t seem to understand. It’s not KCRA’s fault because they’re going fast and this wasn’t a big story today. And, well, DeAngelo is good. But now watch it again closely; that huge gulp after the May 12th date. I believe that’s the gulp of time running out. His brain doing the math that he has to go faster. He must find a way out – sooner than planned. Watch the gulp. His eyes don’t flinch. Control baby. That’s control.

Win.

Behind the scenes the word is he still works out in his cell and his mind is solid. I don’t know if that’s true anymore, but it could be. I wanted to watch him to see if that mind lost any control. Instead, apparently, he didn’t plea (why!?) and the court did it on his behalf: not guilty. The man can’t even manage to plea – poor DeAngelo.

Win.

Don’t Be Surprised by the Unexpected

Here’s my hypothesis: they will come to court in May and the first day or first week, we will get an early motion by the defense for a competency hearing. I mean look at him. He’s wasted-away. He can’t participate in his defense. He doesn’t even know why he’s here. He’s incontinent (see the diapers?), he’s not ambulatory (see the wheelchair?). And boom. There we are. A damned draw. Nothing to see here folks, this story has one dud of an ending.

Win.

What keeps me up at night is how we got to this point. And because It’s late and I need to work on it some more, that will be part 2 tomorrow: The Intersection of Justice and Politics. I believe that’s where this went sideways, and I want you to argue with me so get ready! [Update: more to say on this court appearance so here’s a different part two.]

Joseph DeAngelo is Dead | What If?

It’s fall and we have a new house in Sacramento! I won’t be living there full time but at least I can come up and hang-out now – for at least as long as the kiddo can handle me. It’s just a bus ride away from court so I’m ready baby. Bring it on!

Ever since the last hearing in August, I’ve been thinking a lot about the health and well-being of DeAngelo. He has lost considerable weight. Enough, in my humble opinion, to make me wonder if he’s getting enough nutrition to stay coherent. I have no idea if he’s eating and what he’s eating. I realize he has very little to live for, but at a minimum there are three daughters who deserve to work through this with him. And at least one grandchild. His legacy will haunt them for the rest of their lives; he should at least make time for them. To my knowledge, this hasn’t happened. But if it has, good. They deserve answers.

The DOJ said, “that two primary causes for jail suicide exist: (1) jail environments are conducive to suicidal behavior and (2) the inmate is facing a crisis situation. From the inmate’s perspective, certain features of the jail environment enhance suicidal behavior: fear of the unknown, distrust of an authoritarian environment, perceived lack of control over the future, isolation from family and significant others, shame of incarceration, and perceived dehumanizing aspects of incarceration.” read more

Whose responsibility is his health and well-being?

It’s interesting, I’ve been asking this question of lots of people, but I never get the same answer. Some say it’s the jail. Some say it’s a medical professional. Some have pointed to the District Attorney (in this case, Sacramento’s since he’s lodged in their county jail). Others have said it’s his attorneys’ job. Here’s the code on imprisonment, it goes on forever, but I can’t find the part where someone actually owns responsibility. It seems as though it’s up to someone, at some point, to decide he needs medical help. My issue is, without clear definition, this seems woefully ambiguous. The easiest way to ask the question (especially in a post-Epstein world), who will be held accountable if he dies or suffers mental decline? Seems like we should have a name.

Is it ethical to let him starve or choose to starve himself?

I have been searching for an ethicist with whom I could discuss this topic, but I’ve had no luck. In fact, in doing a quick survey of the literature I could find online, this issue hasn’t even been academically tackled in a long time. Most articles are from the last century or early 2000s. I feel like maybe we are all in denial about this. (Author Al Tompkins has written a good article about suicide in jails – versus prisons – in August of 2019. Interesting read.)

People in jail are seven times more likely to take their own lives than those housed in prisons. Al Tompkins, Poynter, read more

So without outside help, you get to think about this with me: he has not been convicted. He’s a suspect and while we (The People) are detaining him based on good evidence, he’s still – theoretically – innocent and entrusted to our care as an un-convicted suspect. Do we owe him more because of this? Do we have a duty to keep him from hurting himself, or more importantly, to keep him cognitively sound until he has a trial? What if he was allowed to starve, stop getting nutrition and then claim he’s mentally unsound for trial? Who worries about that besides me?

If he dies without conviction, what would that mean?

For me, it’s easy. The minute my District Attorney told me it was a 100% DNA match to what was found in Charlene, I knew we had the right guy. I don’t need a trial or all the other claptrap. He’s guilty in my mind and I’m good. But for many, they want to see him convicted. I’ve had some survivors tell me they wish they’d simply prosecute Ventura – because it’s pretty open and shut – so at least he’s been found guilty of that crime. It’s absolutely possible that he won’t make it long enough to stand trial for all the crimes for which he’s charged. I bet there are odds somewhere. Many might feel cheated if he dies without a conviction.

For others, they want a chance to confront him. They have waited a lifetime to have their moment in court. It’s bad enough most of the rape victims won’t get to face him, but several will that have the kidnapping charge as part of their crime. While they struggle to deal with the idea of testifying, there is some comfort in knowing they got to face him in court. It would be awful to cheat them of this.

For a long time, confronting him wasn’t even on my radar. But over the months, I’ve changed. Now I do want to see him sit at the defense table and face his accusers. I won’t be an accuser, I won’t be testifying, but I can vicariously experience that confrontation. All I know is right now, it’s very unsatisfying not to be able to speak to him. It’s one of our most human traits and yet, it’s simply not allowed. I suppose I should consider that a gift. I’m pretty sure nothing decent would come out of my mouth.

Sacramento County, please don’t mess this up.

I’ll continue to ask questions and seek to understand. I hope there is someone in Sacramento County who is taking responsibility for DeAngelo’s physical and mental health. At this point, his work here is not done. He might think taking the easy way out is his best option, but no. He still has work to do. He needs to sit with himself as he wastes in jail. He needs to have the awareness that we know him now and live with the consequences.

He has a duty to his family. He has a duty to his victims. He has a duty to everyone who lived in fear because of his horrendous behavior.