You know that feeling when you are leaving for a short stay away from home and you know you forgot something, but you’ll be damned if you can figure out what it is you’re missing? That was me leaving for Sacramento on Weds. I knew something was missing. I knew it. But what. Turns out the butt part was the key to the question. I can now proudly say, I’ve worn the same underwear for three days. Yep. I’m bad ass. No seriously. So, so bad.

I had a sense this hearing might set off a lot of the feels,but I was not ready for the intensity of those feels. We didn’t cover a lot, it was over in about 20 minutes and yet, in that small window of time, things were said that forced me to keep my mouth closed. But let’s take this from the top,shall we?

The project cost of trying this case is estimated (so far) at $20+ million.

That story broke earlier this week as all the attorneys from all the jurisdictions were meeting this week prior to the hearing. According to SF Gate:

While the current estimate is more than $20 million, it is impossible at this point to accurately estimate all costs. We anticipate the complexities of the case, including 40 years of evidence, to greatly affect the final cost,” said Natasha Drane of the county’s office of Governmental Relations and Legislation…The $20 million estimate includes the prosecution anddefense of DeAngelo, Drane said. He’s been represented by a public defender since his arrest in April. Read more…

Guys, this has me so upset it’s crazy. Not only did this man ruins lives and take our loved ones from us – and let’s not even think about our individual costs for therapy, moving, replacing things, protecting ourselves and then the sunk costs of hunting him, investigating him, investigating each crime – and now, going forward, this piece of human trash is going to cost California another 20 million at least!?! That sound you hear is me screaming, maybe if you close the window, I won’t sound so loud. I will be writing about this more. Stand by.

We all meet Victor Hayes.

I had known he was out there because of his interviews, and I had heard him say he was going to be in the courthouse but maybe not going into the courtroom. I wanted to meet him. This time, I finally got smart and booked a hotel downtown, so I could walk to court. Good plan, poorly executed. I ended up getting to the jail late (still there, not areal courthouse yet, but don’t tell Judge Sweet I said it wasn’t real). I missed my Victim’s Services squad, so I bumbled-in on my own. And there was Victor!I introduced myself and we had a brief talk. All I can say is that he’s still very angry. I am so glad he was there, and he ended up coming inside the courtroom.I didn’t get to talk with him afterward, but that was a huge step and hopefully,it’s the beginning of his healing journey. (OMG that sounds like some crunchy California thing to say, but I mean it, you must start somewhere.)

Judge Sweet breaks it down and I lose it.

Court started at 1:38pm. As you might imagine, it was packed.First two rows were lawyers from everywhere; prosecution (a ton!) and defense(three or four, not sure about one of them). Right side, all of us, and we were three rows deep. And then, of course, the media and some other regulars who are watching this case. I promised I would wear my ugly Christmas sweater, scored at the Walmart in Vermont last year, and I did. Because of my giant sequined Santa,my newest DA person from Ventura, Cheryl M. Temple, Chief Deputy District Attorney, found me very easily! We came in through the back of Dept 61 again this time, and there she was, this bright, happy face waiting to find someone in an ugly sweater. BAM! No confusion. I spent some time with her afterward and Ventura is good to go!

The first piece of business, after some introductions, was the defense motion to remove the press. The judge, who I am crushing on just a bit, was very good about explaining the request and citing the law he used to deny the defense request. His biggest reason for denying the request is he believes it’sin the public interest to show that law enforcement is doing all it should to protect the rights of all of us in these proceedings. It’s a matter of public trust and Judge Sweet wants this process to be trusted. He also said these proceedings are being followed all over the world, and that was another reason why the media needed to see what’s happening. I’m screwing this up – he said it so well– but it was a good explanation of the factors he weighed in making his decision.

They then set the date for the next hearing: April 10, 1:30 pm.

Want fries with that?

I mean if the meal is free, why not? The business we were thereto conduct was to determine if DeAngelo has the means to pay for his own defense. Since the last hearing in August, the defense had to complete a financial statement that explains DeAngelo’s assets. This document is kept confidential. It is sealed and given to the judge (who must then store it in his private hutch?) and it is kept sealed unless there is reason to believe it contains information that contradicts what the judge was being told.

The defense determined DeAngelo cannot afford his own attorney.I am sure I’ve knocked you all over with that analysis. I mean DUH. We all expected this.

But what the judge said and how he said it, is what got me.Judge Sweet calmly said something like, “Yeah, you can’t afford an attorney.You have multiple counts of murder and most with special circumstances, I mean there’s no way you could afford to pay for that.” He delivered that almost with a smile – it could have been incredulity and I missed it. And it wasn’t flip. It was just too pleasant. Because when he said it, I wanted to shout, “Oh hell no!”, because of DNA, I’m already sold. He’s guilty. I wanted to shout but instead, I shoved my mouth onto my arm, so I didn’t misbehave. Our bailiff is tough, and I don’t doubt she could drop me in seconds.

The section of the Penal Code that explains how this works, is 987 (c):

(c) In order to assist the court in determining whether a defendant is able to employ counsel in any case, the court may require a defendant to file a financial statement or other financial information under penalty of perjury with the court or, in its discretion, order a defendant to appear before a county officer designated by the court to make an inquiry into the ability of the defendant to employ his or her own counsel. If a county officer is designated, the county officer shall provide to the court a written recommendation and the reason or reasons in support of the recommendation. The determination by the court shall be made on the record. Except as provided in Section 1214 , the financial statement or other financial information obtained from the defendant shall be confidential and privileged and shall not be admissible in evidence in any criminal proceeding except the prosecution of an alleged offense of perjury based upon false material contained in the financial statement. The financial statement shall be made available to the prosecution only for purposes of investigation of an alleged offense of perjury based upon false material contained in the financial statement at the conclusion of the proceedings for which the financial statement was required to be submitted. The financial statement and other financial information obtained from the defendant shall not be confidential and privileged in a proceeding under Section 987.8 .

Judge Sweet also explained that after the case, if he has any assets left, he will be asked to cover whatever costs he can. I suppose he can make and sell fishing lures to the other inmates.

Surprise! I have an opinion.

This one is based a lot on feelings and maybe a little too much on principle. I can’t help it, but my brain automatically has this beacon for fairness. As I listen to the resources we are going to spend on this piece of human excrement, ignoring all the sunk costs, I get upset. There are men and woman in lock-up today, who can’t afford an attorney, but they don’t all these special perks. In fact, they get overworked, committed lawyers who believe people have a right to representation. I don’t know what caseloads are like in Sacramento, but based on the size of the jail? I bet there aren’t near enough.

This is taxpayer money. My money. Your money.

We want this to work if someone is innocent. It’s what makes our democracy strong. Bankrupting someone who has been charged wrongly isn’t a good thing. But we got us a horse of a different color here. All rules are not created equal and sometimes, there needs to be a different paradigm for outliers. Just knowing he’d forfeit all his assets with one conviction would be enough for me.

I also think this creates a rather weird dynamic: if you commit a crime, just be sure to go big because then you’ll get a free ride as you fight for your freedom.

And then there’s DeAngelo’s exclusive power to not screw us all again: he could confess. But this man, even for the benefit of his family, doesn’t seem inclined to clean up the mess he made. Nope, our mouth-breathing defect isn’t talking. The word is, still no visitors.

Some things are precious. Our survivor (and friends) community.

Most of us met one another just under six months ago. It doesn’t feel like that. I don’t know folks well, but there’s this underlying trust and affection that binds us together and it’s a wonderful feeling. Seeing one another, hugs, quick updates on little life things events and now, a wonderful tradition of getting together afterwards to talk about what just happened and then how things are proceeding on a meta level. We even talk about– with affection – those who aren’t with us in person (like Debbie and Shelly and Sunny).

Carol Daly provided the location and some grub (including her delicious homemade ice cream I went on about last summer). She shared some stories about her early days on the case and every time I spend more time with her, I just love her a bit more. She is one incredible woman. And while Hot for Holes is delicious to watch, Carol deserves some of the adoration as well. Just an amazing woman.

I also want to give a shout out to all the online support as well. I am still grateful and appreciative of all the folks who provide support via social media. This arrest happened when my life was already in free fall. Folks online have been amazing on a daily basis. I feel like I have friends all over who just make sure I’m okay. I also know you guys are amazing support for the other survivors as well. Just – LOVE!

Sacramento did not disappoint.

Meanwhile, the weather this week was amazeballs. Glorious coolness with plenty of sunshine and fall leaves. I love Sac in the fall. In early fell on my booty kicking a huge pile of leaves. Seeing the horses in the rose garden was a highlight along with our portable menorah.

I mean so many colors! 
And Sacramento has so much artwork! This was after court. I think I coveted the martini.
Our hotel in background, these CHP Clydesdales were getting some exercise. 
This sums it up. Christmas and Hanukkah. Boxed Cabernet (bad). Chocolate (bad). Hotel (good) – thank you again Marriott.