Tuesday, August 29, 2006

In Memory of Lauren - on her Birthday



You were loved, little girl, even before you were born. You are loved now, even though you are gone. In the words of e. e. cummings:

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

[...]

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To Lauren's famiy and friends, our sincerest wishes for peace.

18 comments:

Ronni said...

Beautiful, Loretta!

Best Wishes to Sarah on this day.

Charlie said...

I looked at this entry earlier and it brought tears to my eyes. I'm at a loss for words.

Sarah, God bless you and your family. Happy Birthday to your precious angel.

Kent Wills said...

There are no words to express the sorrow when the world looses a child like Lauren. I truly hope she is dancing on streets that are golden.

Dane said...

My condolences to Sarah and family.

I hope justice will be served. I have faith that it will!

Skye said...

This is a wonderful tribute to a beautiful little girl.

Birthday wishes to Lauren.

Sarah, thinking of you on a difficult day.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful tribute! My condolences to Lauren's family on this sad day.

ken said...

While I have no faith whatever that justice will be served -- I've lost faith in a lot of things over the years -- I can still hold out hope.

Sarah, our thoughts went out to you on that difficult day.

CountryGirl said...

Everytime I started to post here yesterday the tears would start.

You were loved, little girl, even before you were born. You are loved now, even though you are gone.

You captured what I felt and could not put into words.

Skye said...

This is certainly not an appropriate comment section within which to discuss this, but I just cannot help myself.

Ken,
all that rubbish over at the Ted's Cam Brown site. Does he not realise that he is making Geragos looking like a King-size, inept idiot?

Maybe, this is how Geragos works. Didn't he try to tell the Judge in the Peterson Trial that he didn't do an adequate job? I may be well out of order here.

ken said...

To answer your question -- and in hope that CountryGirl and Loretta will create a new forum, and leave that touching tribute alone, as it it should be, here are my most recent posts to the KaldisBlog:

Astonishingly, Ted wrote:

Were you there? No. So how do you know she was "murdered"? Short answer: You DON'T. So don't castigate someone else when you are doing exactly the same thing that you are castigating them for.

Unless you were there, you don't know whether Cam did or didn't murder Lauren, either. All we can do is look at the evidence, and make up our minds on that basis, and if you were fair and candid about it, you would be as eager to castigate yourself as you do your adversaries.

[Can I call Ted a "hypocrite," "Case Insider?" Or is Ted the only one here who gets "hypocrite" privileges?]

As I see it, it is best to extricate ourselves from this mountain of minutiae this forum has become mired in, and look at the big picture.

To better explain why any self-respecting prosecutor would salivate at the prospect of taking this "turkey" to trial, we need to take a look at the "big picture," and the toughest aspect of this case from the defense perspective: getting Lauren to Insipration Point. Even if you use facts that the defense claims as true, Cam's cover story is wildly implausible at best.

We know that, when Cam picked Lauren up at the Montessori School, she was "fussy"; there's no particular point in debating why. We also know (I'm going on my recollection of what Ted has asserted) that originally, Cam had planned to take Lauren home, where Patty was said to have been. And allegedly, he decided to take Lauren to a playground, in an attempt to rectify that situation.

But why Abalone Cove? As Loretta said, "location, location, location" -- ultimately, it is the best argument for Murder One. Why? Because it just doesn't make any sense that he'd take her there.

This will make ZERO sense to Ted because he has never had a meaningful relationship with a woman, but others here might see it: If you are in a happy, healthy, and committed relationship, there's quite frankly no one else in the world you'd rather spend your time with. You tend to plan your day around being around her -- and it is as true thirty years on as it was on the first day. (One of our friends fell in love with a man in Kansas and now, she doesn't sleep well when she isn't there.)

And therein lies the problem. If Lauren was so fussy that she needed to be taken to a playground immediately, there were lots of playgrounds in Huntington Beach. But if there was time, you'd expect our blissful newlywed to take her home to Patty, where they could all proceed to the playground together. Think about it: A lazy day at the beach, with the two girls you care the most about in the world ... how could it get any better than that?

Cam had no reason to even go to Abalone Cove -- at least, not without Patty. It didn't have much of a playground, and the chance that Lauren would have anyone to play with was about zero.


Excursus: "First, I Look At The Purse!"
Of course, there is one caveat, and an excellent example of why there are no intrinsically good or bad facts. It is quite possible that Cam and Patty both settled, and their relationship was not as great as they hoped for. Think about it from Cam's perspective: Before Patty, he was shacking up with *serious* hotties, significantly younger than himself. On the boat and near the beach, he was living his dream; the only minor drawback was a lack of cash. Lauren was a major drain on his exchequer -- we have testimony that he wanted to get out from under the burden of child support rather desperately.

Now, look at it from Patty's perspective. According to Ted (how that has changed!), she really didn't get all the "cute genes". Imagine Ted with shoulder-length blonde hair -- and you get the distinct impression that she was well on her way to becoming an old maid. We know from the reports of Shannon Farren and CG that this LARGE, slovenly woman looked more like the Hilton in Paris than Paris Hilton ... and yet, she landed a man ten years her junior?

One could argue that Cam needed a meal ticket, and Patty just needed a man. A marriage of convenience, instead of one motivated by love? This would be a bad fact for them, but a good fact for the case, as it would explain why Cam wasn't especially motivated to go home to pick up Patty.

This may seem awfully cold and brutal, but you have to understand what men like Danny Smith and Craig Hum do for a living. Think of the horror you felt when you looked at Lauren's mangled body. Now, think about how you would react if you had to see things like that EVERY DAY. (This was the reason I gave up the idea of going to med school.) Indeed, Ted even complained that Danny Smith cared too much, and let his emotions control his professional judgment.

It's brutal. It's cruel. But *this* is what's going on inside their heads ... provided that they are doing their job.


Another Peterson Parallel: The Tides Have It
If the trip to AC was thus implausible, the trek to Inspiration Point was doubly so. Team Cam has floated a number of trial balloons to see how they would stand up to scrutiny: alternatively, we're told that she wanted to see where all the people were going, that she wanted to throw rocks off a cliff, and that he simply wanted to show her the view. But no matter how you slice it, the only logical place for Cam to have taken Lauren was Portuguese Point.

We are assured by one of the locals that the base of PP is a popular place for looking at sea anenomes. Problem is, as any SoCal knows, the only time you would do that is at low tide. Our local expert assures us that it was near low tide, but the redoubtable Farmer's Almanac proves otherwise:

http://www.almanac.com/tides/predictions/oneday.php?number=3021&day=7&month=11&year=2001

When the water is four feet over baseline, you're not going to go to look for anemones, and if you've lived around the beach like Cam and I have, you pretty much know by looking whether it is high tide. Just by looking, Cam knew at the playground that it was high tide. Hence, the notion that he went to IP to avoid having Lauren hit people with rocks is breathtakingly absurd.

For everything Cam was ostensibly after, Portuguese Point was simply perfect. It had a great view (comparable to IP), it was closer (which matters, when you have a four-year-old with you), it was a relatively safe walk (again, it matters!), and that is where at least some of the people were going. And if Lauren had her heart set on throwing rocks, there's no reason why she couldn't.

However, it is what IP (and Cam!) *DIDN'T* have that made it a better place for him to murder Lauren. As we are told, it didn't have a fence -- easier for her to "slip and fall." And Cam didn't have a cell phone -- easier for him to come up with a colorable excuse for him to not go immediately to her aid.


"If The Guy's A 'Twit, You Must Acquit!"
The most bizarre part of this whole story is Cam's behavior after the incident. Given that Cam knew that it was high tide -- and there was at least a chance that Lauren survived the fall, and was unconscious in the water -- you would have expected this man, who dated a lifeguard and was a veteran surfer, to know enough to rush immediately to her aid. Every second counts, and 8-10 minutes is a recipe for brain death. Yet, Cam wasted five minutes on a friggin' CELL PHONE!!!

The only logical conclusion is that Cam waited intentionally, to make CERTAIN that Lauren was dead.

If you are a rational detective, you don't need to see the forensics. You KNOW that this was a murder. Whether it is instinct, or just plain old common sense, you know ... and pretty much everyone else who doesn't have a horse in this race (the family and close friends) can see it just as plainly. And you're going to investigate it as though it was a murder, because that is what your training tells you to do.

Was Cam leading? Was Lauren? It's all window dressing. So are the forensics, insofar as a hard shove would probably be as good as a toss. Geragos' "Playbook for Grief?" A carnival sideshow. At the end of the day, everything else is just nibbling at the corners. If Cam gets out of this in one piece, he will be one of the luckiest men on the planet.

Arguably, Geragos' best defense is that Cam is a complete, blithering idiot, who didn't know what to do and hadn't developed the instincts any parent should have. It would help if he were emotionally immature, and in some way mentally unstable; if his relationship with Patty was not as good as one would hope for, it would be a definite plus. (IIRC, Geragos apparently tried to play these cards at trial.)

Next, we turn to the forensics, and a little good old fashioned common sense. For Lauren to suffer the horrific injuries she endured, she had to hit the cliff face at a considerable rate of speed. This unavoidable fact of physics is what makes the defense expert less credible; while it may be possible that she tumbled down the slope, it's impossible for her to have done so at any appreciable rate of speed. If the F doesn't have enough ma to do the damage, the "tumble" theory is proven false.

This is why I maintain that Craig Hum has such an incredible advantage in the second trial. All he has to do is simplify it. He knows what is coming (the defense has a tactical advantage in any first trial, because they don't have to show their hand), and he can focus on what matters. [tbc]

ken said...

[Part II of my comments -- I'll respond to Skye more specifically in a separate post]

Barbequed Crow
The procedural carping by Team Cam here ranges from the insubstantial to the truly absurd. For example, Ted whines that Cam's 995 motion was not decided on the merits (true), and that Geragos' failure to file it on a timely basis was somehow excusable. It isn't, and Geragos clearly committed professional malpractice. Every lawyer knows that if you are unable to meet a hard statutory deadline, in most cases, you can file a motion for an enlargement of time in which to respond, and it is almost always granted. Here, there was certainly good cause for granting such an extension (a change of counsel), and no judge would have turned him down.

The assertion that Geragos has some kind of "H-bomb-class evidence" in his arsenal is equally farcical. Cam came perilously close to getting convicted on second-degree murder charges -- which is basically as good as a conviction on murder one, given his age -- the last time, and from what we know about Team Cam's baseless complaint about the autopsy, the conviction would have been upheld upon appeal. And while the procedures in general leave much to be desired (e.g., I'd like to see every suspect get a prelim, irrespective of whether s/he is charged or indicted), they are as they are and as Ted says, it is their sandbox.

As for the prosecution itself being an egregious abuse of the criminal process, I am forced to remind those who would say so that manslaughter is a lesser included offense and that, based on the credible evidence we do have (that Cam was not acquitted on all charges), convicting him for that offense appears relatively easy. I strongly question the veracity of the anonymous poster who claims that a juror said that no one on the panel believed that Cam threw Lauren off that cliff, given how everyone who isn't virulently partisan has reacted to the evidence.

My assessment of Cam's case -- from more than two years ago -- still stands. It should have and would have gone to trial in any major city in this land. A conviction for manslaughter is a veritable certainty, and he would have done approximately this much time if he'd been tried on those charges. I think you can raise reasonable doubt, but the best you are going to do is slip under that bar. I can't tell what the next jury will do with this case, although I think that Hum has an enormous advantage in the second go-round.

Should Cam testify? Ultimately, that is his call -- although Geragos can't let him testify to things that he knows are not true. It seems to me that the Kaldis clan is paying good money for his expertise, and they should follow his recommendation. As for me, I would not let him get on that stand in the absence of the greatest of need.

And now, without further adieu, on to a few amusing Tedisms:

[Ted wrote:

The whole case makes no sense. There has got to be more here than meets the eye.

As for this grand Bilderberg-class conspiracy that is supposed to be behind Cam's alleged persecution, I note for the record that there has been no meaningful discussion of this point since I brought it up, and on the face of it, it appears totally illusory. If you have something solid, then bring it forth, as it isn't and wasn't a part of the trial. Ted, if you don't have a smoking gun, there probably isn't one, as it's clear on the face of it that this case would be prosecuted pretty much everywhere.]

Scuttlebutt around the courthouse is that [Hum] STILL has [political] ambitions.

Committing character assassination by spreading more baseless gossip, eh, Ted? In the real world, Ted, people with political ambitions (and I know a few from my being active in the Party) tend to play things *VERY* safe. They don't take undue risks. See, e.g., Both-ways-Bob Beauprez.

This is in fact a bald-faced LIE I certainly have no evidence [that the Palos Verdes Conservancy wanted Cam prosecuted for murder to protect their fundraising efforts], and I have NEVER used the word "conspiracy." But nevertheless, the circumstances certainly raise questions about this.

Translated, "I don't want to SAY it, but I sure as hell want to IMPLY it!!!!! This is the textbook definition of duplicity, and example of how Ted has been libelling others via innuendo.

[Someone] "had good reason to fear a lawsuit."

Unfortunately for you, at the time of the arrest, they had no reason to fear a lawsuit from Cam, and even if they did, it was presumptively the insurance carrier's problem. Public officials are largely immune from negligence suits.]

My position is what it was back then: I'm trying to look at this with a clinical and trained eye, and don't care overmuch as to its outcome. As long as Cam gets a fair trial -- and with experienced counsel in his corner, he has a much better chance than most -- I'm delighted with the outcome. Unfortunately, I haven't seen any fouls with any more import than your routine 'hand-checks,' which technically qualify as fouls but are rarely if ever called.

As there is another forum for discussion of this incident, and I don't think the 'officials' here are capable of calling a fair game, I'll move on over to Loretta's/CG's board, where this message will also be posted. Hopefully, they will organize another forum, where a fair discussion can be had without the kind of pettiness prevalent here.

And if no one cares to discuss any of this with me, fine. I can wait until the trial. Trust me: My life won't end on account of it. :-)

loretta said...

Just a quick aside - I find it very off-putting to read from an "anonymous" source that they are privy to the information they claim.

Perhaps they are, perhaps they are not, but being anonymous is at least two strikes looking. You know, when the pitcher throws the ball over the plate and the batter doesn't swing.

If the anonymous source at the KK Blob were credible, he or she would not be hiding behind anonymity.

Heck, I used my name on my blog and posted information I got from sources and was completely accountable for that information and was questioned, doubted, ridiculed occasionally and bashed.

But, at least I was courageous enough not to hide. I was willing to stick my neck out and be accountable. I was willing to support my information with facts.

I protected my sources when they asked me to, but I did not TEASE people by dangling pieces of information that would be "revealed later."

Either put up or shut up when it comes to blogs and the web. Nobody wants to be teased.

If you can't reveal information, you're better off not even hinting about it. All that does is serve to bait and switch your audience, and I'd be willing to bet that the KK Blob has lost a lot of its original curious readers because of that.

But, hey, don't take my word for it. I only had a blog for 40 months that once had 4,000 daily readers. I don't know nuttin' about managing a crime blog.

loretta said...

In regard to moving the comments from today that are not relevant to Lauren's birthday, I will create a new entry and move the comments.

Thanks for the reminder.

ken said...

Skye wrote:

Ken,
all that rubbish over at the Ted's Cam Brown site. Does he not realise that he is making Geragos looking like a King-size, inept idiot?


To answer your question, yes and no. Ignoring the Tony Snow-class spin from Team Cam, they lost the first trial, and the first trial was their best chance for an acquittal. My guess is that Geragos is field-testing ideas, as the arguments in the body of the blog are far too eloquent to be Ted's.

I don't share Loretta's assessment of him (and I don't share Ann Coulter's opinion on much of anything ;-)), and think that while he plays too close to the edge for my taste (cutting deadlines too close, and even ignoring them), he is precisely the kind of "swing for the fences" attorney they need in this case -- and an inspired choice. I've actually changed my mind on the strategy, and don't see the downside in letting those crazy bastards run -- as long as they don't have anything usable to reveal.

Right now, if I'm on Team Hum, I'd be paying attention to the responses. I think they tried to do too much on the first go-around, and I wouldn't expect them to make the same blunder twice.

Skye said...

Thanks Ken. Of course, the information coming from Ted, may not really be the information coming from Geragos.

~~Slapping head~~ I've got to remember that...!

Skye said...

Best wishes to Sarah and family.

Hopefully, proceedings will start on time, and move swiftly.

~~Justice~~ for Lauren!

Skye said...

A question for Ted, if I may...?

Ted, all these people who saw how emotional and upset Cam Brown was directly after this tragedy, where were they during the Trial. Why didn't Geragos call them as witnesses?

Could it be that Geragos knows that they would be pulled to pieces on the Stand, and reveal the "truth"?

It sounds to me, that Cam's own Lawyer knows that he is guilty! JMHO, of course.

loretta said...

New entry above ^^^

Sorry it took so long but I have been very bizzy.