Ohio Gang Rape, New Delhi Rape Murder & VAWA Asks Us All One Question

Do we value women? That’s it. That’s the question Steubenville Ohio and New Delhi India asks us all to answer.

When a woman is gang raped and murdered in New Delhi India and a Ohio teenage girl is gang raped, allegedly, by a group of high school football players while many others stood by and did nothing except to video, take pics and tweet about it, the answer is no. We don’t value women.

When our US “leaders” repeatedly fail to reauthorize VAWA, the 1994 Violence Against Women Act, the law that unequivocally reduced the incidents and increased the prosecutions and funding of domestic violence prevention programs, the answer is again no. We don’t value women.

When US politicians propose laws that use terms like “forcible” rape, as if any rape or qualification of rape is ok, or imply that a women can’t get pregnant when she is raped, the answer is still no. We don’t value women.

When women are denied access to health care including breast exams, pap smears and even, a legal abortion due to a “religious” objection, the answer is still no. We don’t value women.

When women are forced to terminate a female fetus, forced to submit to a vaginal probe before they can have a lawful abortion, forced to endure genital mutilation, denied an education, denied equal pay, fired because they are “too attractive”, blamed for going to a bar where they were attacked, blamed for “staying” in a domestic violence relationship or face potential violence in the workplace, on the streets, on a date or at the hands of their partner, the answer is still no. We don’t value women.

When our men, our husbands, partners, boyfriends, fathers, brothers, sons, uncles, and male co-workers stand by and do nothing when the women they love are being devalued, the answer is still no. We don’t value women.

When parents and communities stand by and do nothing when their sons and daughters devalue each other through social media or fail to stop the violence and/or take any action to hold the offenders accountable, the answer is still no. We don’t value women.

And, when women stand by and do nothing when another women is being devalued, the answer is still no. We don’t value women.

Yet, until women have equality, freedom over their bodies, safety in their homes, workplaces and on any street, and the offenders are held accountable, violence against women and girls will continue.

This isn’t about hatred or anger. It’s about love and healing. But, we can’t get there until we look at the truth, however, painful. Ask yourself, is this the world you want to live in?

May India and Ohio find healing in the pain and lead us all forward.

Simply my opinion, what say you?

(Update 2/25/2013: On 2/14/2013 Reeva Steenkamp, a South African law grad & model was killed by her boyfriend, Oscar Pistorius, a paraOlympic and Olympic athlete. Pistorius is charged with the premeditated murder and his defense claims an accidental killing as Oscar thought he was shooting an intruder in the bathroom. Ms. Steenkamp had been in a prior domestic violence relationship and had begun to speak out about the violence against women. Ms. Steenkamp was killed just days after the brutal rape of a 17 year old South African woman which resulted in public outrage. On 2/22/2013, Pistorius was given bail after a 4 day hearing and 2 hour decision by Magistrate Nair. Next Court date June 4.)

(Update 2/5/2013: Trial began today in the New Delhi Rape & Murder trial. The first of 86 witnesses testified on direct with cross exam expected Wednesday. Court ruled limited reporting of testimony by media as reported on cnn.com.)

(Update 1/13/2012: Another gang rape in New Delhi India (Gurdaspur) this past friday night. This time it happened to a married 29 year old women who boarded a bus and was taken to a residence where the bus driver and his assistant were joined by 5 others who proceeded to gang rape the women and do “wrong things” to her throughout the night. 6 of the 7 men in custody. Why is this happening? Read article )

(Update 1/10/2013: You tell me did ESPN Sportscaster Brent Musburger’s comments, during last Monday’s Alabama v. Notre Dame televised championship Football game, about the QB’s girlfriend Miss Alambama’s Katherine Webb, place a value on women? Objectify women?:
“…you see that lovely lady there? She does go to Auburn, I’ll admit that, but she’s also Miss Alabama, and that’s A.J. McCarron’s girlfriend. Wow, I’m telling ya, you quarterbacks, you get all the good-looking women. What a beautiful woman! Whoa! So if you’re a youngster in Alabama, start getting the football out and throw it around the backyard with pops.”

Even CNN contributor, Dean Obeidallah, who consciously dismissed Musburger’s comments as “playful” and questioned the “instant outrage”, clearly made the connection, “The only criticism that’s arguably fair is Musburger’s implication that if you are great quarterback, you will have earned a beautiful woman — a reward, more than a human being. If that had been Musburger’s intention, that, of course, would have been wrong.”

Problem is, he like Musburger and others don’t see that placing a “value” on women or objectifying them actually devalues women and so does using language like “get” and “earned” in reference to women. Or, telling young men to play football so they can get a beautiful women.Are women possessions? Read full article here http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/09/opinion/obeidallah-musburger-comments/index.html


No Alimony For Spouses Convicted Of Sexual Assault: AB1522 Crystal Harris

If Crystal Harris has her way, there will be no alimony or attorneys fees for convicted spouses and it’s called Assembly Bill 1522 (AB 1522). Ms. Harris’ husband was convicted by a jury in San Diego, California, of sexually assaulting her and he is now serving a 6 year prison sentence. Yet, a family law judge, ordered Ms. Harris to pay her husband alimony once he gets out of prison and allowed a settlement for her to pay her husband’s attorney’s fees ($47,ooo).

What?

Yes, you read that right.

Turns out in California, judges in divorce proceedings can order alimony except in cases of a spouses conviction for attempted murder or solicitation of murder of their spouse (California Family Code Section 782.5 and 4324) . Yet, you’d think a judge, a family law judge no less, would never make such an order as it further traumatizes the victim and allows for the power and control dynamics of domestic violence to continue. And, in Ms. Harris’ case, it continues for the next 6 years even though her abuser is locked up in prison. Wow, that’s an exercise of judicial discretion especially given a judge has every right not to order alimony, as it is not required by law, and domestic violence convictions and incidents are legitimate factors to deny such an order, but apparently not for Judge Gregory Pollack.

And, now because of the judge’s order, amending the above law is being considered by the California Assembly’s Judicial Committee, Assembly Bill 1522 (AB 1522) to prohibit the next judge from awarding alimony, and attorneys fees to spouses convicted of certain violent sexual felonies under California Penal Code Section 667.5 (rape, sodomy, oral copulation, sexual penetration and assault with intent to commit the foregoing felonies).

On Tuesday March 20, 2012 from 9-11 am, the Judicial Committee of the California Assembly will hold a public hearing on the new bill at the State Capitol in Sacramento. Go voice your opinion. Or, you can contact the committee’s Chairman, Assemblyman Mike Feuer at 916-319-2042 (PO Box 942849 Room 2013, Sacramento CA 94249-0042), the Vice-chair Assemblyman Donald Wagner at 916-319-2070 (State Capitol, Room 4146, Sacramento, CA 94248-0001) and the bill sponsor, Assemblywoman Toni Atkins at 916-319-2076 (PO Box 942849, Room 4146, Sacramento, CA 94249-0076)

The bill will likely pass as it has bipartisan support and, frankly, as a former domestic violence prosecutor, it’s the right thing to do.

Simply my opinion, what say you?

See Crystal Harris’ story on ABC Nightline (4/4/2012):

http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/video/victim-ordered-pay-attackers-alimony-16076370

See facts of case:

Ex-Wife Ordered to Pay Alimony to Abusive Ex-Husband

Are Women Safe In San Diego?

Assembly Bill No. 1522 Final Version Signed by Governor, becomes law 1/1/2013.

CHAPTER 718

An act to amend Section 4320 of, and to add Section 4324.5 to, the  Family Code, relating to family law.

[Approved by Governor September 28, 2012. Filed with Secretary of State September 28, 2012.]

AB 1522, Atkins. Family law: monetary awards.

Existing law provides that, in addition to any other remedy authorized by law, when a spouse is convicted of attempting to murder the other spouse or of soliciting the murder of the other spouse, the injured spouse shall be entitled to 100% of the community property interest in his or her retirement and pension benefits, and a prohibition of specified support or insurance benefits from the injured spouse to the convicted spouse. Existing law defines “injured spouse” for these purposes. Under existing law, a family court is required to consider specified factors in ordering spousal support, including the criminal conviction of an abusive spouse.

This bill would expand the above-described provisions to apply when a spouse is convicted of a specified violent sexual felony against the other spouse, and would require the court to consider the convicted spouse’s criminal conviction for a violent sexual felony in ordering spousal support, as specified. The bill would also require the court to order the attorney’s fees and costs to be paid from the community assets if warranted by economic circumstances. Under the bill, the injured spouse, as defined, would not be required to pay any of the convicted spouse’s attorney’s fees out of his or her separate property. The bill would further, at the request of the injured spouse, define the date of the parties’ legal separation as the date of the incident giving rise to the conviction, or earlier if the court finds that the circumstances justify an earlier date, for community property purposes.

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:

SECTION 1. Section 4320 of the Family Code is amended to read:

4320. In ordering spousal support under this part, the court shall consider all of the following circumstances:

(a) The extent to which the earning capacity of each party is sufficient to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage, taking into account all of the following:

(1) The marketable skills of the supported party; the job market for those skills; the time and expenses required for the supported party to acquire the appropriate education or training to develop those skills; and the possible need for retraining or education to acquire other, more marketable skills or employment.

(2) The extent to which the supported party’s present or future earning capacity is impaired by periods of unemployment that were incurred during the marriage to permit the supported party to devote time to domestic duties.

(b) The extent to which the supported party contributed to the attainment of an education, training, a career position, or a license by the supporting party.

(c) The ability of the supporting party to pay spousal support, taking into account the supporting party’s earning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets, and standard of living.

(d) The needs of each party based on the standard of living established during the marriage.

(e) The obligations and assets, including the separate property, of each party.

(f) The duration of the marriage.

(g) The ability of the supported party to engage in gainful employment without unduly interfering with the interests of dependent children in the custody of the party.

(h) The age and health of the parties.

(i) Documented evidence of any history of domestic violence, as defined in Section 6211, between the parties, including, but not limited to, consideration of emotional distress resulting from domestic violence perpetrated against the supported party by the supporting party, and consideration of any history of violence against the supporting party by the supported party.

(j) The immediate and specific tax consequences to each party.

(k) The balance of the hardships to each party.

(l) The goal that the supported party shall be self-supporting within a reasonable period of time. Except in the case of a marriage of long duration as described in Section 4336, a “reasonable period of time” for purposes of this section generally shall be one-half the length of the marriage. However, nothing in this section is intended to limit the court’s discretion to order support for a greater or lesser length of time, based on any of the other factors listed in this section, Section 4336, and the circumstances of the parties.

(m) The criminal conviction of an abusive spouse shall be considered in making a reduction or elimination of a spousal support award in accordance with Section 4324.5 or 4325.

(n) Any other factors the court determines are just and equitable.

SEC. 2. Section 4324.5 is added to the Family Code, to read:

4324.5. (a) In any proceeding for dissolution of marriage where there is a criminal conviction for a violent sexual felony perpetrated by one spouse against the other spouse and the petition for dissolution is filed before five years following the conviction and any time served in custody, on probation, or on parole, the following shall apply:

Ch. 718 2

(1) An award of spousal support to the convicted spouse from the injured spouse is prohibited.

(2) Where economic circumstances warrant, the court shall order the attorney’s fees and costs incurred by the parties to be paid from the community assets. The injured spouse shall not be required to pay any attorney’s fees of the convicted spouse out of the injured spouse’s separate property.

(3) At the request of the injured spouse, the date of legal separation shall be the date of the incident giving rise to the conviction, or earlier, if the court finds circumstances that justify an earlier date.

(4) The injured spouse shall be entitled to 100 percent of the community property interest in the retirement and pension benefits of the injured spouse.

(b) As used in this section, “violent sexual felony” means those offenses described in paragraphs (3), (4), (5), (11), and (18) of subdivision (c) of Section 667.5 of the Penal Code.

(c) As used in this section, “injured spouse” means the spouse who has been the subject of the violent sexual felony for which the other spouse was convicted

Initial Version -Assembly Bill 1522 (AB 1522) reads (with initial revisions in italics):

‘The People of the State of California do enact as follows:

SECTION 1. Section 782.5 of the Family Code is amended to read:

In addition to any other remedy authorized by law, when a spouse is convicted of attempting to murder the other spouse, as punishable pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 664 of the Penal Code, of soliciting the murder of the other spouse, as punishable pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 653f of the Penal Code, or of a violent sexual felony against the other spouse as defined in paragraphs (3), (4), (5), (11), and (15), with the exception of assault with intent to commit mayhem, and (18) of subdivision (c), with the exception of assault with intent to commit mayhem, and paragraph (18) of subdivision (c) of Section 667.5 of the Penal Code, the injured spouse shall be entitled to an award to the injured spouse of 100 percent of the community property interest in the retirement and pension benefits of the injured spouse.

As used in this section, “injured spouse” has the same meaning as defined in Section 4324.

Sec. 2. Section 4324 of the Family Code is amended to read:

(a) In addition to any other remedy authorized by law, when a spouse is convicted of attempting to murder the other spouse, as punishable pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 664 of the Penal Code, of soliciting the murder of the other spouse, as punishable pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 653f of the Penal Code, or of a violent sexual felony against the other spouse as defined in paragraphs (3), (4), (5), (11), and (15), with the exception of assault with intent to commit mayhem, and (18) of subdivision (c), with the exception of assault with intent to commit mayhem, and paragraph (18) of subdivision (c) of Section 667.5 of the Penal Code, the injured spouse shall be entitled to a prohibition of any temporary or permanent award for spousal support, attorney’s fees, except as provided in subdivision (c), or medical, life, or other insurance benefits or payments from the injured spouse to the convicted spouse.

(b) As used in this section, “injured spouse” means the spouse who has been the subject of the attempted murder, the solicitation of murder, or the violent sexual felony for which the other spouse was convicted, whether or not actual physical injury occurred.

(c) A court may, in any hearing regarding child custody, visitation, or child support, subsequent to the spouse’s conviction as described in subdivision (a), order the injured spouse to pay attorney’s fees, under those extraordinary circumstances where the interest of justice and the best interests of the child or children compel that order, if the convicted spouse has already completed the prison term for which he or she was sentenced. The court shall state its reasons for the order in writing or on the record.

(Update 11/8/2012: The new judge denies husband’s request for Crystal to pay husband’s attorneys fees incurred in Crystal’s appeal of the judgment.) 

(Update 9/28/2012: California Governor signs bill into law! One person can make a difference.)

(Update 8/28/2012: Assembly concurred, bill sent to Governor to sign.)

(Update 8/24/2012: AB 1522 is unanimously passed by the Senate. Bill goes to Assembly to vote on changes. Governor to sign or veto bill by 9/30/2012)

(Update 8/21/2012: Senate votes this Thursday 8/23/2012 on AB 1522. Bill expected to pass, than, back to Assembly to vote on bill changes. Governor has until 9/30/2012 to sign or veto bill.)

(Update 7/27/2012: Crystal’s recusal motion granted, Judge Pollack is off the case and the case will be assigned to a new judge.)

(Update 7/3/2102: Senate Judiciary Passes AB 1522 with amendment.)

(Update 6/25/2012: Senate Judiciary to hear and vote on AB 1522 on July 3, 2012 at 9 am Room 112 State Capitol in Sacramento.)

(Update 6/7/2012: Ab 1522 headed to State Senate in June 2012. Date to be confirmed.)

(Update 5/11/2012: California Court of Appeal affirmed verdict and upheld ex-husband’s felony conviction. http://appellatecases.courtinfo.ca.gov/search/case/mainCaseScreen.cfm?dist=41&doc_id=1970152&doc_no=D059126.)

(Update 4/12/2012: AB 1522 just passed unanimously by the California Assembly. Next stop, State Senate.)

(Update 4/5/2012: AB 1522 up for full Assembly vote on 4/12/2012. Let the California Assembly Know Your Opinion.)

(Update 3/22/2012: Bill  with revisions regarding attorney’s fees passed 7 to 1 (opposed by Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski-Democrat Alameda)



San Diego Love Triangle Likely Sentence: Jennifer Trayers Case

(Update 3/9/2012 9:55 am: As expected, Jennifer Trayers was sentenced to 16 years, the minimum. The judge commented that the case “exemplified the irrevocable tragedy of domestic violence.”)

Today, Navy wife Jennifer Trayers will be sentenced in a San Diego courtroom for the killing of her navy doctor husband. The jury found her guilty of second degree murder. The prosecution argued it was a premeditated first-degree murder, and the defense argued for manslaughter, a heat of passion (jealous rage) killing after she learned of his affair.

Likely sentence? My guess, although she faces 16 to life, she will likely be sentenced to a lower term possibly the lowest of 16 years.

Why?

No prior criminal history, an affair, and her remorse tend to mitigate a longer sentence. And, she did testify unlike most defendants in this circumstance. Yet, the delay in reporting, the email letter to his mistress and the jury’s verdict of murder may call for a longer sentence.

Her sentence is now at the judge’s discretion.

Simply my opinion, what say you?


Ohio School Shooting Suspect Thomas Lane: What’s Aggravated Murder?

Was it “aggravated murder” when Thomas Lane, a 17-year-old high school student, killed three other high school students and injured 2 others this past Monday in Ohio? Or, was it murder? Or, was it manslaughter? A jury of 12 will likely decide Lane’s fate.

Lane was charged today in juvenile court with 3 counts of aggravated murder, 2 counts of attempted aggravated murder and 1 felony assault charge. It’s up to the judge to decide whether Lane is tried as an adult or a juvenile. However, in Ohio, a 16-17 year old defendant who uses a firearm faces being tried as an adult rather than as a juvenile. And, the death penalty is off the table due to 2005 US Supreme Court decision that prohibits juvenile death penalty as it violates the 8th Amendment (“cruel and unusual punishment”).

If the prosecution can prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Lane acted “purposefully and with prior calculation and design, cause the death of another” when he allegedly committed the killings of Demetrius Hewlin, Russell King Jr, and Daniel Parmertor, Lane could be convicted of aggravated murder. (Ohio RC Section 2903.01). This charge is similar to a first-degree (premeditated) murder charge in most states.

Ohio Legislature has defined “calculation and design”  as :

“studied care in planning or analyzing the means of the crime, as well as a scheme compassing the death of another. Neither the degree of care nor the length of time the offender takes to ponder the crime beforehand are critical factors in themselves, but they must amount to more than momentary deliberation”. (1974 Committee Comment).

Lane admits he went to school on Monday morning with a .22 pistol and a knife, but, is that proof of “prior calculation and design”?

And, according to the prosecution, Lane claims he shot “randomly”, thus, no prior calculation or design in the killings? The defense will likely argue it to negate any aggravated murder charges. And, without the intent to kill the victims, he didn’t commit murder (“purposely cause the death of another”), the defense may argue.

Maybe, instead, Lane committed a lesser charge, voluntary manslaughter (“sudden rage after serious provocation reasonably sufficient to incite the use of deadly force”)? Yet, there is no evidence that Lane was provoked.

Or, maybe, Lane was simply negligent (involuntary manslaughter) by using a gun at school?

If convicted of aggravated murder as an adult, he faces life imprisonment without the possibility of parole as to each count. If instead, he is convicted of murder, Lane faces 15 to life. And, a manslaughter conviction carries less time in prison. If he is tried as a juvenile and convicted, he faces detention until he is 21 years old.

Clearly, his difficult childhood will matter to possibly mitigate the charges and the sentence. Being raised initially by parents who were both convicted of domestic violence gave Lane role models who used violence to solve problems. As a former prosecutor of domestic violence,  I was not surprised to learn that their son, tragically, acted out in violence.

A terrible, terrible tragedy.

Simply my opinion, what say you?


Are Women Safe In San Diego?

For many years, I was a domestic violence prosecutor in San Diego and maybe, that’s why I am sensing that San Diego may have a problem. Maybe not, but, I’m still asking the question. Are these incidents just an awful coincidence or is there a much larger problem in San Diego?

You tell me.

A woman is found hanging from her wealthy boyfriend’s balcony naked, bound and gagged and the San Diego Sheriff and medical examiner call it “suicide”. Would any woman let alone a missionary’s daughter kill herself and display her naked body in public? While a second independent autopsy indicated that she had four unexplained bumps on her head and her neck wasn’t broken or even fractured, the law enforcement’s response, case closed. Rebecca Zahau, rest in peace.

After being kidnapped, raped and strangled over a 3 day period, a woman reports the incident to the San Diego Police Department and her husband is arrested and booked into jail but, the District Attorney declines to prosecute and her husband is set free. Two weeks later the woman is found dead in the men’s bathroom at SD City College, where she was attending classes, after having been fatally and brutally stabbed by her husband. Apparently, the husband was just found this week in Tijuana, 16 months after the killing, and now the husband is charged with murder by the DA. Yet, could her death have been prevented? The arrest report in the kidnapping incident indicated physical injuries including the tell-tale signs of strangulation, “tiny red spots” (broken capillaries) on her face, as well as 20 prior incidents of abuse, and one prior domestic violence incident reported to the police. And, the husband’s arrest record would have also indicated that he had been arrested for choking his prior wife, all cases the DA declined to prosecute.

Yet, a local judge and the California Legislature saw it differently. The judge attempted to protect the woman when she granted the woman’s request for a restraining order after the kidnapping. And, in response to the woman’s death, it was the California Legislature that stepped up to provide more protection for women by passing the Diana Gonzalez Strangulation Act in 2011, which now allows juries to be told that the risk of death goes up 7 fold after the first choking incident and a conviction carries additional jail time. But, what good is the law when a DA declines to prosecute? The DA made a tragic mistake, but, when it comes to domestic violence, mistakes are deadly. The DA is currently running for mayor, you’d think someone would ask her how this happened, what changes have been made and how can she assure other victims who come forward that they will be believed and protected. Let’s hope this tragedy doesn’t discourage other victims from coming forward, obtaining restraining orders, and whatever help they need so that they can leave a violent relationship and stop the cycle of violence. Diana Gonzalez, rest in peace.

And, recently an 18-year veteran of the SDPD was just sentenced to 8.8 years in prison for multiple counts of sexual battery by restraint, soliciting sexual bribes and sexual assault and battery by a police officer involving 5 women whom he stopped for traffic violations. According to his sergeant who testified at his trial, the officer was “known to target women”, “display their beauty” and had a nickname the “Las Colinas (women’s jail) transport unit “. Yet, to this day, it doesn’t appear that there has been any investigation or discipline of any officer, including the sergeant, by the SDPD to determine who was aware that the officer targeted woman or knew of his nickname and did nothing. Instead, the City (taxpayers) are left with the bill for the damages and so far, one victim has filed a lawsuit alleging a “code of silence” in the police department while 10 other women are contemplating a lawsuit. Just last Friday, the sergeant retired after 26 years and only after an internal police investigation involving allegations that he got rid of 2 traffic tickets for 2 deputy district attorneys. Seriously, I’m not making this up. But, maybe, the Police Chief has his hands full given that 11 other officers have been charged with various criminal allegations including some involving women (rape, stalking, domestic violence) and some not (DUI, excessive force). Ladies, my apologies.

And, San Diego can also be “proud” of a certain judge in family court who has the national and first-ever distinction of ordering an ex-wife to pay alimony and attorney fees to ex-husband who was convicted and sentenced to 6 years in prison for sexually assaulting her. But, hey, the judge did stay the alimony while the ex-husband is in jail. Wow, nothing like having a financial obligation to your rapist hanging over your head for 6 years. I guess re-traumatizing the victim or having a basic understanding of the domestic violence dynamics of power and control, is not his judicial concern. And, the judge also has the distinction of being the only family court judge in San Diego to have a defendant transported from jail to attend each court hearing and undoubtedly, at the taxpayers expense. Wow, you’d think he’d get disciplined or recalled for such conduct. Crystal Harris, my apologies.

And, lastly, there are over 1200 untested rape kits at the San Diego Police Department. A rape kit is done on a rape victim to collect the rapist’s DNA (hair, blood, semen, etc.) which is used to identify and convict the rapist. And, in many instances, the San Diego Police Department doesn’t even test rape kits in cases of date-rape. What? Date-rapists don’t rape just once. They are predators and many times are involved in other crimes as well. They can’t afford to test every rape kit, the police claim. But, a rape victim is expected to submit to a 4-6 hour intrusive and humiliating exam to collect the DNA, which may or may not be tested and sit on a shelf somewhere. It reportedly costs $1000 to process a rape kit. San Diego Sheriff tests every rape kit. Recently, Los Angeles started testing their backlog of untested rape kits and has made over 400 positive hits to other cases. And, San Francisco passed an ordinance in 2010 requiring all rape kits to be tested. Even, fiscally ravaged Detroit is testing their backlog of 11,000 untested rape kits. Can San Diego afford not to gather critical evidence that may solve other crimes, monitor convicted rapists and add the collected DNA to the department of justice database to convict or connect perpetrators to other crimes? Besides, what message does it send to rapists? And, to the women you are hired to protect? Ladies, maybe, you don’t want to date in the city limits.

So, you tell me, are women safe in San Diego?

Simply my opinion, what say you?

(Update 9/10/2012: Coronado Police decline Dina Shacknai’s (6 yr old Max’s mother) request to re-open his “accidental death” case after independent forensic investigators have found evidence of homicide. Based on this new info, Dr. Phil just finished taping an interview with the Zahau family and Dina Shacknai to be aired in November. Full press release & story http://www.10news.com/news/31424675/detail.html, http://coronado.patch.com/articles/dr-phil-re-visits-spreckels-case-zahau-shacknai

(Update: 7/3/2012: Senate Judiciary passes AB 1522 with an amendment.)

(Update 6/22/2012: Rebecca Zahau’s family has made a formal request in June 2012 to the California Attorney General to investigate the “suicide”. In April 2012, Crystal Harris’ bill, AB 1522, to prevent judges from awarding alimony to spouses convicted of sexual felonies, was passed unanimously by California State Assembly and is awaiting vote by Senate. And, see article on how the Detroit Prosecutor Kym Worthy is on a mission to process their backlog of rape kits and help other jurisdictions do the same, the Human Rights Watch Study on unprocessed rape kits and federal grants are available to help cities get it done.)