Footnote from the "loyal Opposition"
Legal books about dismissed cases usually end up on some law student's reading list after he or she upset a sadistic teacher. Or there are there to illustrate how the human factor can influence the law. Dismissed cases usually only have value when you are talking about the limitations of evidence or prosecution screw-ups. The case I was briefly involved with had portions of both.
My name is Jamie Peterson, and this is my personal addition to this printing of "Recoil. The case against David Findley under the PCA."
Carol Black and Sue Barksdale provide a careful and detailed picture of the legal ecosystem that surrounded management of a human slaughterhouse under the PCA. Nancy Ayers has provided a rich and detailed historical view of the entire social and economic surround of the PCA, and how Findley applied it in Chicago. Excerpts from dairies and journals of women who were deeply involved with the daily operations have been reviewed and, where permission was given, were added to provide some greater insight from a lay perspective.
I was asked to provide my counterpoint as lead prosecutor on the case (for a few short weeks). And I think that some of the points about the case do need to be raised, as we reflect on what really happened to us, and our society during that era. Even today, there are some valid questions. If they should have been brought up in a Criminal case, I am not sure.
Background and perspective
There is no doubt that the Findley case had more press and raised more emotions then any other prosecution in recent history. It was the premier prosecution and a "trial of the Century" here in Illinois. We have not seen so much legal maneuvering in Chicago in a very long time. And all of that was the State's expense. The defense was Pro Bono. By women actually or nearly selected under the PCA themselves.
That was one of the press sensations on this case. The condemned were defending their jailor? Were the women who worked at Findley's operations as guilty as he was of killing their peers for no valid reason?
The fact is that thousands of women were terminated by David Findley operations at the end of the PCA. And over a thousand were excluded, exempted or otherwise legally removed from the process flow. All of these removals were due to the efforts of Carol Black and assisted by Sue Barksdale. No other legal team provided so much activity into legal, social or other exemptions in the country. And all of it openly supported by the management of what became the most well publicized slaughterhouse in the country.
Jack and Susan Stienhauer (also named as co-defendants) have said in published interviews that David was as ethically ruthless in his dealing with them as partners as he was with the PCA, the selection board, and with law enforcement.
David Findley felt it was his mission, according to them and others, to exempt, exclude and delay the termination of every woman he could, while treating the remainder that he could not exempt or exclude with utmost respect, dignity and compassion.
As a woman who had close personal friends terminated at David's facility, and who knows the women who terminated them personally, I cannot say I don't have my own emotional baggage on this issue. As a lawyer at the time of the PCA, I had to submerge my emotions while doing my job. Our office's runaway compliance prosecutions were over 90%, and I remember going to the local courthouses and seeing numerous violators twisting on the stakes, winter and summer, and feeling that compliance was surely the lessor of two evils.
During the brief H&S era where women were in fear of the "Live Spitting" that Merle Hill publicized, runaway violators dramatically increased. I can state without reservation that most of our successful prosecutions in the last year ran because they were more afraid of the how (Merle Hill) then of the what (termination). Women who were pressured into thinking that this was their possibility seemed to have a total change of mind once they witnessed it for themselves.
When H&S closed and open registration for services began, the incidents of Runaways decreased dramatically. This decrease coincided with the publications of Findley's intake, screening, and service offerings of processes. It has been remarked that this made a substantial difference in the mindset of many women. Both the treatment (Integrity, dignity and pain management) and selection choices (Romantic? Erotic? Historic? Or Just Plain kinky?) appealed to women faced with the inevitable, but who now had choices about how to address it.
Today, on reflection, it seems unbelievable that someone with some marketing sense hadn't dreamed up David's idea earlier. Nancy's research (with attribution to Christine Javits) seems to show that until the quota system of fixed allocation was removed, none of the processors felt the need to provide a socially acceptable set of choices. Until there was competition, then the status quo continued. David and Margaret got onto the leading edge of this by some happy circumstance just before selection was opened up, and I don't think that he realized that it was going to end.
David knew that he would be creating an upheaval when he began to advertise customer choices in addition to their own trademarked process operation. By saying, in effect, that "women should at least have their last experience be their choice", he was appearing to both alleviate fears and to titillate erotic last minute interest.
All of the activities that David initiated in this period were intended to establish a "Brand of Service". Things like intake scheduling with remote access, intake consoling and legal aid for end of life and exception and exclusion filtering were not even on the roadmap for all other processors in Chicago. From the perspective of his competition, David had changed his business model from meat house to Termination Service Center.
When Hill and Stienauer were allowed to reopen under David's license, and their process line was changed to reflect the vision that David had developed at his own operation, he had de-facto set the new standard for human termination operations in Illinois. And in fact, if the PCA had not been repealed by presidential order, David's process under license would probably have expanded to other states as well.
New York, Georgia, and Florida were the first three states to advocate and accept Illinois termination as a suitable substitute for termination in their own states. Iowa, Michigan and Ohio soon were added as well. (Ohio proposed transferring their entire allocation system to Illinois.) California PCA directors had interviewed David about taking over the State system there, which was run by the state at a substantial loss.
All of this was due to a massive change in focus that David had enacted. This business redevelopment plan was one of the key justifications David used when he removed Elizabeth Carter, Carol Burns and Nancy Ayers from his line that Friday, and asked them to help him to revitalize his business. It was the key excuse that he used for each of the ninety-day extensions he requested (and was granted) by the Selection board for all of the women who were key to his business processes.
One of his greatest changes was the transition of most of the tasks at Findley from paid common (or even skilled) labor (almost entirely men in all other operations) to a system entirely front ended and managed by women who were working there under delayed termination as permitted by the PCA. The specific loophole was for "goats to be permitted to assist in the normal operations of the slaughterhouse where formal union labor was not in effect. The staffing at Findley managed plants were entirely managed, operated and controlled by women under termination orders from intake to post termination transport. A woman coming into Findley for normal processing (the Blue Light Special) did not see a man (other then possibly David) from the time they arrived through their entire process. Women who elected Guillotine as their termination only saw a man when they ascended the platform. Or when they saw their predecessors carried to the rear on a wheelbarrow.
This shift in personnel did two things. First it limited the roles of men in the Slaughterhouse business. They were moved to the rear with no visible impact on the events. Second, it changed the focus from fear to anticipation.
The Prosecution questions
Regardless of the rumors about a possible hidden agenda regarding the prosecution of David Findley, there were a few real questions under the law about this change in business process. And rational people can ask themselves if all of these actions really were legal, under the existing laws. Those key questions were:
1. Did David Findley employ these women with no reasonable compensation? That is one of the key elements of Slavery.
2. Did David Findley use a threat of harm or punishment to coerce these women to provide services?
3. Did the offer of retention also convey an implication of sex in exchange for their life extension (In this case, continued life in the Slaughterhouse)?
4. Specifically, were women retained for their value as a slave or prostitute as opposed to value as a member of society?
5. And most importantly, was a capricious and discriminatory process used to determine who would be retained, and how their exemption or exclusion would be sought? And who was in charge of that process?
The last question became the most disturbing. Was the preservation or process decision a "Capricious and Discriminatory Process" under the law? Was there discrimination in any way against women who were not assisted in gaining extensions, exemptions or exclusions? Were all of these women who were terminated simply too securely within the guidelines of the system of selection? Or was David Findley responsible for some dark discrimination surrounding the retention efforts?
During discovery, the State sought to find evidence of allegations of selective discrimination. When the District Attorney's office felt it had sufficient coincidence and circumstantial facts, they convinced a grand jury to return a finding of charges against Findley for these violations.
First Round of Conference and some dismissal of charges
At the time that I entered into the case on behalf of the prosecution, there had been numerous negotiations. Both prosecution and defense had been involved in conference with Judge Thelma Watson who was presiding judge on this case.
These initial conferences had been adversarial in the extreme. At times the judge had to remind both consuls that she had the power to retain them indefinitely if they did not behave.
This became worse when the DA's office filed a formal letter of complaint of misconduct against the defense senior consul and caused a suspension of conference until those allegations were resolved. Remaining defense consul requested a delay in trial and release of the four defendants on bond.
The state was emphatic that all of the defendants remain in custody for the duration of any proceedings, initially citing a flight risk and "possible danger to the defendants from the public". The prosecution asserted that the crimes were so heinous that the general population would possibly evict Mob Justice against the Findley's.
Giving some credence to the second reason, the court remanded the Findley's to recommended Minimum security and released the Stienauer's to their daughters.
It was determined later by investigation that the Department of corrections was influenced by the Prosecution to not fully comply with this recommendation. Thus the Court was repeatedly informed that Minimum security was unavailable, and thus the Findley's were kept instead at Tamms "CMAX" facility, which was developed for the most dangerous criminals. Despite repeated complaints by the defense, the board of corrections never did comply with the recommendations of the court until the day of David Findley's transportation to the security wing of Cook County Hospital. (Which may not have been the best thing, given how thing turned out.)
At the time of the initial conferences, there were eight thousand charges of illegal discrimination resulting in unlawful death, eighty-six charges of slavery, and six thousand cases of incidents of prostitution. Obviously, the judge wanted to get the charges into some semblance of order.
The state's first assertion that there was no compensation did not stand up during conference negotiation with the defense. In an interesting defensive move, all of these women were card-carrying Union members. David and the Teamsters Meat-cutters Local agreed that the "front end" consultants and guides were eligible as Union membership. And while the membership did not come through the traditional hiring membership process, they were paid union scale, and the union dues for those members were paid to the Local. The job title was added to the existing contract as "Consultant and guide" and was given an apprentice pay scale. The guide roles even included termination activities. And while the compensation for this union activity was not nearly as lucrative as the former careers of many of the women involved at Findley, it was still clearly above Slave Labor Wages under the law. Further, the fact that legally these women were facility bound did not preclude them from investing, or making purchases from these wages and income. In fact, for two of the long-term residents, the income represented a substantial capitol asset to help them live in the Post PCA world.
The State's second assertion, coercion, appears to be negated by documents and activities of record for women who took advantage of the status as "Goats". In many documents reviewed by the Prosecution in response from the defense, women took advantage of the "Stay of execution" to both resolve issues of their life (last visits with relatives, financial issues, etc.) and to provide assistance to others who were undergoing the same crisis and circumstance that they were. In effect, women working at Findley were helping others to resolve the same issues that they had.
Also, women were offered the containment of the collar while the legal team at Findley pursued cases for exemption and exclusion under the guidelines of the PCA.
In point of fact, after two months in the new operating model, PCA extensions were automatically granted to any petitioner from Findley's plants of operations. This was in recognition that Findley acted to petition the courts for clear orders of exemption and exclusion within the guidelines, and that the PCA was cooperating to give Findley time to pursue the cases through the proper court for the proper orders.