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

podcast

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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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.

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.

 

Court Date: August 22, 2019 | DeAngelo Withers Away

I spent the day with the HBO folks yesterday. They are really great people and I was impressed with their thoughtfulness in the questions they asked and the insight they seem to have about  the crimes and the people involved. I finally had to sign an agreement to keep my yap shut, so I can’t say more about it until they are ready to release. Let’s just say, I have a good feeling about this. 

We knew today was going to be nothing. We were warned it would be nothing. I’ll be damned if the whole thing wasn’t done “in the blink of an eye” according to my mom, who was my guest this time. I think Melanie clocked it at one minute. But I think I can slow it down a bit to at least provide the color commentary.

Starting out on the right foot: the lawyers for the prosecution actually took a moment and spoke to us today.

For me, this was huge. It was the Sacramento and Tulare County folks, and they had us come in a little early and did something we truly appreciated. They explained a little about what’s going on behind the scenes and set our expectations for what’s coming next. Some of it was confidential (you’d be proud of me, I checked), but what I can share is that they are about two-thirds of the way through discovery; they need to provide the last batch to the defense and they are working to do that in an orderly manner so it keeps things moving.

We won’t meet again until January 22, but it sounds like things will begin to move forward in the new year. I’m not talking about a trial, in California we have something called a preliminary hearing that allows the judge to determine if there’s enough evidence to have a trial. I think I’m the only survivor to have already been through one of these in Ventura in 1982. For those of you that know, that was the Joe Alsip hearing. While I don’t have information on a preliminary hearing, we all know that’s coming at some point – we’re hoping it’s soon. At a minimum, it seems the attorneys realized what happened last time was not cool and a little expectation setting can go a long way.

A great question, an even better answer.

One of the survivors asked if, like in the Jeffrey Epstein case, was it possible that IF there was some sort of deal, would they need to ask us about it first. It was a great question and it got the attention of the lawyers in the room. They said, first, California law prohibits that kind of behavior – negotiating a plea agreement without involving the victims – and in no way was that even on the table. I don’t know if they realized it, but they all had the most satisfying look of confidence on their faces.

Who’s running the show here? Where’s “our” bailiff?!

The courtroom was significantly different (again) this time. The practice of letting us come in early was restored; we got to sit where we wanted. That was great. The lawyers from both sides came in and immediately starting talking with one another. The media snaked their way to the front right side of the room (we always see that angle of DeAngelo on TV as a result), and then the public was allowed to come in to take the few, remaining seats. The hub-bub of conversation and energy was high. All of us were catching up with one another. Finally a bailiff asked us to settle down and we were like an 8th grade class that heard the teacher, but really just kept talking at a lower volume. I need to be clear that “us” was every darn person in the room, not just those in the gallery. It was kinda cool but not particularly court-like.

We waited to hear the smack of a gavel or the commanding voice of our usual bailiff (who was missed) telling us to come to order, that court was in session. But none of that happened! Instead, suddenly DeAngelo emerged from the hallway door and entered the cage. He looked emaciated. Let slow down here on this point, because the TV coverage isn’t really showing what we could see. He is thin. Extremely thin. Maybe 100 pounds all in at this point. There is skin sagging on the back of his neck that looks like excess skin from his halcyon days of knocking back beer and eating roast. He was in chains: the kind that go around his waist and include cuffs for his hands. The chains dripped down his backside about 20 inches; that’s how much slack there was. His waist was tiny. His pants were barely staying up.

He stood in the cage, attentive but looking almost a little confused. I’m not saying he was, but he didn’t have that little edge in his face that we are used to seeing. The judge immediately continued the case to January 22, 2020, and DeAngelo stayed for a few moments to talk with his lawyer. We stayed seated until we were adjourned, maybe another three minutes, and then DeAngelo was escorted out and we were released.

After the hearing, we made our way to Carol Daly’s house.

Of course I managed to find the cameras after the hearing. Brandi from KCRA has always been very easy to talk with and she asked me to stop by on my way out (she was my court seat mate). She did a nice piece for the evening news. I talked with a couple other reporters and then I excitedly grabbed mom and we made our way to Carol’s house.

I don’t know why I was so excited to have my mom meet Carol, but she’s like a hero to me. Not only is she one of the kindest and generous women I’ve ever met, but she did so much good in her career that changed the way rape was investigated. I continue to be amazed at her generosity of opening her home to us and feeding us to boot! Only this time, the food was a gift from her cousin! Apparently her family knows about what’s been happening here, and follows the case, and he wanted to do something nice for us. I’m not surprised at all that she comes from good people.

If you didn’t notice the photo for this blog, it’s a picture of Carol with my mom. It makes me smile.

I Used to Hate Him, But Now I Just Resent Joseph DeAngelo

The El Paso shooting has just happened and I am heartsick. I’m sure you’ll be shocked to learn I’m anti-gun – particularly when it comes to using them to kill one another – but I even feel like it’s not a fair fight when hunting. I don’t mind hunting, but use some skills darn it. I’ve fired a gun. It’s unforgiving. [Sunday morning: another mass shooting overnight. Hard to get out of bed. But I had a comment about guns for legit protection and I agree. There are horrible moments in life when you need to protect someone or save yourself. Damn.]

As the August 22nd hearing grows near, I’ve realized I’m really starting to resent these quarterly treks to Sacramento just to watch an aging monster, age. This thing is moving at a snail’s pace and honestly, there’s no story here anymore. He’s been caught. He’s been vilified in the media. The survivors have proven their resilience. The investigators can finally sleep. Even his family must have figured out some way to get up every morning knowing the horrific legacy he’s left them.

So yes, I’m way over it.

I resent he hasn’t just died and given us all an out; allowing us to go on living without his god-awful name ever having to be mentioned again.

I resent he’s taking up space.

I resent my taxes are paying for him.

I resent he’s going to cost our state tens of millions of dollars.

I resent politicians – whoops, I’m sorry – district attorneys who will use this as leverage in their next election.

I resent this gives any fuel to the death penalty debate.

I resent watching his female attorney look at him like he’s a small boy who’s lost his way.

I resent that we have to shut our mouths in court because “decency” and “rules” as if this was in any way related to how he behaved.

I resent family members and survivors are living with the dread of having to testify.

I resent every trauma he caused, every person he hurt, every life he stole.

I resent the years we all lived in fear because he could still be out there.

I resent every damn breath he takes.

Yes, I’m going to be there. My expectations are minimal. I’m much more excited about seeing my kid (who lives there now) than being ushered into that tiny jailhouse courtroom in the August heat.

Stay tuned.

Post-Court Gathering | Golden State Killer Survivors and HBO

Today I got my hands dirty planting some tomatoes and strawberries with the hope they will flourish. I used to be a great gardener, but the teen years and work pushed my avocation to the side. Well baby, I’m back. I read a beautiful quote from Virginia Woolf this morning (and good lord no, I don’t wake up on Saturdays and read classic literature! I was at Starbucks and it was on a cup). It said, “I enjoy the spring more than the autumn now. One does, I think, as one gets older.” We all need spring.

Post-Court Gathering | Golden State Killer Survivors and HBO
Oh sure I quote Woolf, but the reality is I take a photo of the Robin Williams quote.

Survivors, an incredible garden and HBO.

With court ending so oddly, we were a little bit all over the place (that’s probably just my perspective, we tend to squad and I’m a notorious loner until I get to a place). After the Orange County energy left, I wrapped up talking to a few reporters before I hit the road. You guys know I love journalism and I really enjoy talking with them about the case and what they are hearing.

We met at the same home with the incredibly manicured and curated garden we visited last fall. The garden has all these little mini-garden vignettes and I could play there all day. In fact, let me take this moment to announce I’m seeking a husband that loves gardening, photography and animals. Take that universe – I’ve officially put it out there. The overall effect of this lush place is calm.

Outside the front door, there was a sign posted by HBO. I had been told they would be there but at no point did they talk about filming. Based on that, I made a poor assumption: I didn’t realize they were coming to film. Duh. Some of the survivors had already been interviewed by HBO. I have not. I’ve met with the writer and a few other folks have called, but that’s about it. I’ve been constantly advocating for a female point of view on the story, but let’s face it: it’s entertainment and they need to produce something that will sell. I stupidly thought they were there for background and research.

Post-Court Gathering | Golden State Killer Survivors and HBO
This was the sign they had right outside the front door.

HBO hosted a late lunch for us, and it was lovely.

There were tables set up with flower arrangements that made the event seem much more formal. I immediately noticed the camera and HBO folks everywhere and I quickly figured out we weren’t going to be able to talk freely. When I walked in, the camera crew was with a couple I didn’t recognize. I later learned they were Bob and Gay, a still married couple, and this was their first time joining us. They did not go to court. They were basically putting their toe in the water but, HBO interviewed them, so you’ll learn more about them when the film comes out.

Post-Court Gathering | Golden State Killer Survivors and HBO
Tables arranged in the backyard looked lovely.
Post-Court Gathering | Golden State Killer Survivors and HBO
The cameras were on! The first thing I saw when I walked in.

I mentioned Bob before. I really felt connected to him since he is a lawyer who survived an attack. He was mellow and warm, and you could see the rapport that exists between him and his wife. For me, having them there was very meaningful.

Unintended consequences might be featured on HBO.

As I mentioned in another blog, we didn’t know what was going to happen in court that day and we really didn’t know why we were treated differently. As a result, that was much of the conversation. We talked about how most of the chairs in the courtroom were taken and why weren’t allowed in first (like normal) and that there was so much media there. It’s so funny how habit works because that’s how our expectations were set – by what’s happened before. Not being able to sit together threw us for a bit of a loop. It was much of our discussion at the lunch. I’m thinking HBO must have recorded a lot of that conversation.

We didn’t stay all that long. The incredible Carol Daly once again made her delicious ice cream and we got to play with a chocolate lab puppy that’s a new resident at the house. Overall, the vibe was so off on Wednesday, that’s why I needed time to sort out my thoughts. I’ve always been so protective of our privacy and now, as we all should have known, we’ve hit a pivot.

From politics to monetization, we are all making the best decisions we can.

The other thing that’s starting to be more apparent, is how each of us is moving through our “personal journey”. I know that’s a hackneyed term, but you get what I mean. I write and (sometimes) podcast. I’m trying to figure out if I can monetize my website, but honestly, it’s not very important to me. I’m much more interested in my readers and how we can possibly help one another heal.

Some of us have agents and are interested in doing speaking. I think that’s awesome. I suspect we’ll all hear more about this going forward and I hope the community will support folks as they venture out. Screw DeAngelo. If survivors can get something positive from this – so be it. I trust this group can handle our individuality along with our common cause.


Post-Court Gathering | Golden State Killer Survivors and HBO

Couldn’t resist adding this pic – I got out of the car, started walking inside the hotel and I heard something. Never let the turkeys get you down! This is at the Marriott compound near Cal Expo. I suspect the high rivers have pushed them out.

Court Date | April 10, 2019 – One Year Later, DeAngelo Earns the Death Penalty as Possible Consequence

It’s nearly 8pm and I am swimming in a hot mess of feelings. I might not even be able to write everything tonight because I need sleep and a chance to form my thoughts. Today had a lot of surprises and some of them are really bothering me. Don’t worry. I’ll explain. But I first need to clarify my thoughts. Meanwhile, I can knock out some of the basic, non-controversial stuff. Let’s do this! 

First, a paragraph about the Planned Parenthood Capitol Advocacy Day.

It was a great way to start the day. I’ve always supported Planned Parenthood because I know they serve people who truly need help. I have to say, I don’t even think I had a clue about how focused they are on protecting our right to healthcare. Talk about woke! Setting aside abortions (because I don’t want to trigger anyone), the outreach, education and accessibility this organization is providing blew my mind. I need to do some research to make sure what I heard is true, so I’m going to write more about this later. All I can say is you should not be afraid of this organization. It’s truly worth our support. Couple photos below.

Court was different today. Survivors took a back seat to politics.

Didn’t expect to type that sentence. I guess I will walk right into one of the weird things that happened today. Typically, we survivors meet on the corner with Victim Services and we walk in together ahead of everyone. It’s happened that way every other time. Today our squad was the last to enter (but still ahead of general public whom I’m not sure ever get in). We entered the courtroom to be greeted by a wall of media – typically it’s been a pool camera and sound guy. The first nearly three rows of the gallery were filled with people in dark clothing (that’s the uniform lawyers wear). We ended up having to find seats where we could and that kept us from sitting together. This sounds worse than it was. Let’s say this is how it felt: crowded, staged and for the first time, we had a different role. But then, it seems only one survivor knew what was going to happen today. [This is an intentional cliff hanger because I need to do just a bit of research before I open my big yap. If what I’m thinking is true, I’m pretty angry.]

DeAngelo is doing great on Keto. Absolutely no visible body fat.

Imagine a packed courtroom, media piled on top of each other to your right. A dozen lawyers for the prosecution and two for the defense. The room is silenced promptly at 1:30 and a different judge walks in! No adorable Judge Sweet. But it’s all good. We quietly wait to get started and then I realize, DeAngelo hasn’t arrived yet. The bailiff is peeking through a cracked door waiting – for what I think is – an elevator to deliver DeAngelo to the hallway that’s just outside the cage. We wait for a little bit (not that long but it’s noticeable since we’re all quiet) and then he walks in.

He looks exactly the same and yet smaller and more frail. Frail in that he seems to have finally lost all body fat. He has no butt. His arms were much smaller (circumference). He still stands at parade-rest with his mouth looking like it’s hanging open (I’m not able to see him from the front so until I watch a television report, I can’t tell if it was actually open). He remains unremarkable.

New judge (I’m too lazy to get up and get my notes right now to find his name); new judge is great and immediately denies the defense motion to once again prevent the media from participating. This is going to be DeAngelo’s lawyer’s pro forma motion every time. Then, in an unexpected move, the judge said, we are here today for an announcement. (We are? I thought we were just here to check on how discovery was going?) At that point, the different district attorneys got up and announced they were going to pursue the death penalty. It was a dramatic moment and I didn’t realize that this is how things work – that it’s done in an announcement. I guess it usually happens much later in the process. Since our case is a horse of a different color, this is how they did it. I’ll admit, even though I oppose the death penalty, it was incredibly satisfying to have them say it county by county so that DeAngelo could hear it.

After the announcement, we were done. Hearing dismissed.

I have so much more to say…but I need to sleep first.We did get together afterward, and I want to talk about that too! Thank you for all the support. I do read your comments and messages and I love the squad on Twitter.

I just got off the phone with a reporter friend and I think I might break some news tomorrow.

Planned Parenthood Advocacy Day at the California State Capitol 2019
Seconds before this shot, this poor man feel into the brick box behind him. He bounced up and smiled for the camera! Look at that tree.
Planned Parenthood Advocacy Day at the California State Capitol 2019
I’ve never been at something with rally signs before.
Planned Parenthood Advocacy Day at the California State Capitol 2019
The guy on the right looking at me for the win! I believe he wasn’t allowed to eat lunch until after this shot.
Planned Parenthood Advocacy Day at the California State Capitol 2019
Jennifer Newsom, First Partner, and Dr. Leana Wen. Both women were brilliant, informed and measured. I have now followed both on Twitter. Smart women.
Planned Parenthood Advocacy Day at the California State Capitol 2019
I am honestly ashamed I hadn’t thought of this before. The homeless don’t go to the bathroom and open the cupboard when they get their period. What do they do? Welcome to the Homeless Period Project. These kits are shared with women who need them.
Planned Parenthood Advocacy Day at the California State Capitol 2019
I am smitten with this building. Its gorgeous and it reminds me of my dad. Smells like law inside. Please note the palm tree. The wind was unpleasant!

Another Court Date for DeAngelo in Sacramento Tomorrow

Now that Katie lives up here, it makes it just a bit more awesome coming north for another courtroom performance. Today, I spent the afternoon helping two Gen Z’s create resumes and think about what work environments would suit them and what won’t (like, let’s not hand Katie a try of cocktails, it won’t end well). She and her roommate need to get working. I believe they are clear on the concept after this visit.

Here’s the rundown on what’s planned in the next 24 hours, based on the Jen Carole calendar.

  • DeAngelo Hearing – happens at 1:30pm PT and we have been told it will be short. Ventura mentioned to me he might enter a plea, but he doesn’t have to. No plea is assumed to be not-guilty. The other thing they will cover is the progress being made during discovery – across all six jurisdictions.
  • Post-Court Gathering – we’ll be heading down to a survivor’s home to catch-up with one another after the hearing. HBO is going to join (I think) as they continue to develop the story for the docudrama. I’ll learn more about this tomorrow. I know you guys want scoop and I do too!
  • Take my survey – please! I’ve been thinking about this case and you wonderful folks who actually care. I’d like to understand more about you in the aggregate – as I find the fascination with true crime to be amazing. Here’s the link to the survey – will take about three minutes. I’ll share the results in an upcoming blog.
  • Planned Parenthood Advocacy Day – since I’m in town and never get a chance to support women’s health, I’m going to spend the morning with the advocates from around the state heading to the Capitol tomorrow morning. Since I will spend the afternoon with women who have been to hell and back, it feels like a nice bookend to do something pro-woman, pro-health. The event goes on all day and I believe it’s not too late to come down tomorrow. The details are in the image below (I made it clickable, so click away!).
Planned Parenthood Affiliate Advocacy Day April 2019

Court Date December 6 | Legal Representation for Joseph DeAngelo

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.

My Life Has Been Incredibly Different Since the Arrest of Joseph DeAngelo

Yesterday Sacramento was able to announce the arrest of another monster. Terrorist. Piece of human excrement. The NorCal Rapist was identified via DNA and he’s in custody. Not to completely freak you out, but he worked at UC Berkeley – surrounded by women who clearly had no idea there was a predator in their midst.

The irony in that statement that has turned me into a complete mess this week.

The reality is, we know there are predators in our midst. We know they are our fathers, our husbands, our co-workers, our religious counselors and our government leaders. It’s all good to talk about the monsters who reveal in their reputation as monsters: our President has done an effective job of shining the light on MS-13, a horrible gang that uses rape and murder to terrorize mostly immigrants. But they are the exception – like frankly our brutal killer DeAngelo.

More often, women are hurt by the men they trust.

On August 23, when the charges were read against DeAngelo, new to the catalog were 13 counts of kidnapping. While it made for a dramatic read in court, and it’s tremendously satisfying that the DAs were able to add those important charges, it ended-up sending shock waves through the ranks of the victims.

And here’s why. Because most of the survivors in Sacramento are rape survivors, they had come to terms with two things: the statute of limitations expired on the rapes and their voices would only be heard via a Victim Impact Report that is either oral or written and isn’t subject to cross-examination. The minute the kidnapping charges were added, so was the requirement that these 13 women testify. For some, this isn’t something they want to do. Testifying means being cross examined and that’s is where victims are typically re-victimized in the legal process.

Based on the events of this week, this shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Ironically, it’s likely I won’t be called to testify because I don’t have anything particularly material to share on this case. I wasn’t at the house, I don’t know the suspect. I could be called to talk about my dad, but I think the defense could possibly do more with me than the prosecution. And even at that, it would be irrelevant because DNA puts him raping Charlene. He’s guilty and I don’t care about him. But I do care about re-victimizing those already hurt decades ago.

I had no idea how much DeAngelo’s arrest would change me. I have not been the same since that day. Parts of me I’ve push down or away have bubbled up nearly driving me crazy. I wrestled with the paradox I was living in as I met and supported my fellow survivors in Sacramento. As I celebrated their courage to face DeAngelo in court, I was struggling with what had been happening to me for the last year of my life. I just spent the last year being abused by my boss. I had to keep quiet or he might not give me by expense report reimbursement (it still came through short and it took four months to get the check. I can’t talk about the company because they only way I’d get severance and COBRA was signing a confidentiality agreement. I’d already met with an attorney and the only way he could have gotten rid of me without a lawsuit was to lay me off. So he did – while I was out on medical leave to catch my breath over the arrest. I remember crying and telling my mom I felt like a hypocrite because I wasn’t telling my story while I was encouraging others to be strong and share.

And there’s more. I need to talk about my dad. You’ve all asked me to – but I can’t yet. My dad could be Brett Kavanaugh. Truly. He would fit all the descriptions people have of the judge. And I don’t think my dad ever sexually attacked a woman. But he was abusive to the women in his family. That was our secret. Not sexually. Emotionally and physically. And I will talk about it. But I need a little more time.

I am like most women; I struggle with not wanting to impugn his reputation.

He really did amazing things for our community and my brothers must have learned some goodness from him because they are both married to amazing women. I’m proud of both my brothers for having healthy, balanced marriages – the kind I didn’t believe were possible as I grew up (hey you with the raised eyebrow thinking, hey, maybe that’s why Jen isn’t married; here’s a cookie, you’re a winner).

Because my dad was so tough on me, I grew up tough. I think he gets credit for that not because of his behavior but because of DNA. I am a lot like him. I don’t back down and I fight for justice. I can be incredibly annoying because I am so driven. Then imagine being trapped by circumstances that prevent me from fighting that fight. That’s the gut-punch of being abused. You’ve lived through the trauma but to get justice, one goes through a process that crushes the soul and strips us of our dignity and defies moral justice.

  • The state tries criminals on behalf of the people, not the victims.
    I think this is correct but in the pursuit of “fairness”, it’s actually tilted to benefit the law, not the humans. In fact, humanity is intentionally stripped from the legal process. If you don’t believe me, do a quick rhetorical analysis. Rhetoric was my major: it’s the understanding of how words are used to influence. I called it a degree in bullshit and people would agree and I’d say, “See, I just did it. It works!” In legalese, words that talk about feelings are subjective. Subjectivity is seen as bias and lawyers work to eschew bias and seek facts. Sadly, the fact that someone had to move 3,000 miles away to get away from their perpetrator because they are so scared, is fact but is meaningless without the emotion. One DeAngelo rape victim did just that. Moved away immediately, across the country. Apparently, Dr. Blasey-Ford did the same thing.
  • There are still too many men involved in investigating these crimes.
    We are so blessed to have a hero in our midst with Carol Daly. She says one of the ways she approached abuse victims was to encourage them to tell their story. Seriously. Prior to her involvement, that’s not how things went down – it’s the difference of being transactional (iterative questioning back and forth) and being contextual (what happened, how did you feel, doesn’t have to be from beginning to end because many women think more comprehensively). Without more women – many of whom have experienced abuse – we won’t be able to conquer the bullying and the bias that we saw this week. Watching 80+ year-old men delivering Dr. Blasey ultimatums was beyond tone deaf and inappropriate; it was absolutely revictimizing the victim. If you still don’t understand what she’s facing, watch this. I nearly vomited on Monday night when I watched. That’s when I knew I was also facing my own demons.
  • Good people do bad things.
    This is probably the most important part of what’s happening in America right now (and what causes me the most consternation). My former boss actively posed as a moral, wholesome man from Utah (that’s code – please read into that). When I tried to pursue things internally, I was told I was guilty of reverse discrimination and I was making the men uncomfortable. (That sound you hear is me screaming – yes, I can scream that loud.) Our NorCal Rapist worked at UC Berkeley as a safety specialist (oh irony, you are a minx). And of course, Wee Willie Winky DeAngelo, was eating at Charlie’s Café and bopping around Citrus Heights and was a former police officer. Nuff said.

From Twitter:
Since I’ve hit 50, I’ve thought a lot about how we function as humans. What I come away with after this tumultuous week that’s demonstrated just how often we hurt each other, I still have no real explanation. #sad #bebetter #KindnessMatters #WhyIDidntReport

— Jennifer Carole (@jcarole) September 22, 2018

I think a lot about the nature of humanity. There are so many things we have to figure out as humans: how to have agency, how to manage relationships, how to manage our health, how to support the people we love (and those we don’t even know) – we shouldn’t have to worry about other humans hurting us.

Based on where we are as a civilization, we should be doing better. Civilization actually means we are civil. But we just aren’t there yet.

We can be better. We can stop hurting one another. And it starts with closing your lips, opening your ears, being patient and showing kindness. A small shift that could create tremendous change. I wish that for all of us.

[Folks that follow me on Twitter know it’s been a tough week for me based on my tweets and you’ve been tremendously supportive. Thank you. It’s a great place to talk and meet other survivors. The true-crime community is amazing and we invite you to join us. Awhile ago I wrote a Twitter primer – if you’re new to the platform, it might help!]