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Discussion Questions
In Memory of Jasa 'Haille' Anguillo

The following discussion questions cover issues of teen domestic violence, the criminal justice system, and community action. Though they can be used for many age groups, they are targeted to persons 16-24 years-of-age. The questions are not grouped according to topic. Rather, they're presented in the order that corresponds to the flow of the text. (Discussion Responses)

There are many ways you can work with these questions, and other questions that may wish to add. We find that dividing people into small groups to discuss the questions serves the added educational goal of getting people to talk face to face about topics that our culture still finds difficult to discuss openly. In our Discussion Responses section, we give our own responses that reflect our own views. But don't be surprised if people in your group come up with answers that may be better than ours.

Nectar in a Sieve
1) Many people believe that non English-speaking persons in the United States shouldn't have the same rights to receive public services as English-speaking persons born here. Do Antonio's actions in this story help you argue for or against that view? Why?
2) What do you think you would have done if you had come on the same scene as Antonio?

3) Which of the following best describes how you felt when you first read that Cloverdale refused to respond to the man strangling the woman?

a. If the incident was outside the police jurisdiction, then the police decision to refuse to respond was their business.
b. Morally, the police had an obligation to protect and serve, regardless of jurisdiction, especially when they were so close to a life and death situation.
c. Once a person is sworn in as a police officer, we should trust and respect any decision the officer makes within the law.
d. other

4) Why do you think the Press Democrat gave so little coverage to the story of Haille's murder?
5) Do you agree with the author's statement that the Press Democrat's failure to cover Haille's murder contributes to the next girl's murder?
Lavender and Roses, Jasmine and Geraniums
1) If you were standing beside a friend who suffered a profound loss like Sandra, name two or three things you would do or say to console your friend.
2) When you read the descriptions of Haille's bohemian spirit and lifestyle, did you feel like that gave you a clue as to why Haille was the victim of a murder?
3) Do you think Haille's friends were doing the right thing by repeatedly warning Haille about Atticus?
4) When Haille responded to her friends concerns by saying, "I can handle Atticus," did you feel that gave you a clue as to why Haille was a victim of a murder?
5) According to everyone we talked with, Haille thought she could help Atticus with his emotional problems. Do you think this shows a flaw in Haille's character?
6) Are there personality characteristics that serve as warning signs that someone may be a domestic violence abuser?
7) Why do you think Haille and her friends tolerated a criminal like Atticus?
In the Quiet Eye of the Storm
1) Did the birthday card Haille wrote to her father give you any insight into why Haille was the victim of a murder?
2) Why do you think that despite Atticus' long criminal history, the Sheriff's deputy viewed Atticus in terms of a drug case?
Whisper in the Wind
1) What are some of the realities of young women's lives that are invisible to the society at large?
2) Do you think the restaurant owner did enough for Haille? What else could he have done?
3) Why do you think the police officer "shooed Atticus away" instead of arresting him?
4) What kinds of things can communities do to make sure that police officers respond properly to victims of violence against women?
5) Many people advise victims of violence against women to go to police? Is that advise sufficient?
6) What does Haille's phone call to her friend Barbara tell you about Haille?
7) When the Cloverdale officer still didn't help Haille, what could Haille's friend and Haille herself have done to make sure Haille got the protection she needed and deserved?
8) Can you describe in detail exactly what a police officer should have done in response to Haille's pleas for help that day? If you don't know the answer to this question, where could you go to find out the answer?
9) Do you think the police officer should be held responsible for refusing to help Haille? If you were the Cloverdale Police Chief, how would you respond to this officer? Do the people of the community have any responsibility or obligations in regard to this police officer?
10) Do you agree with the author that sexism was at the core of the officer's refusal to help Haille?
Deadly Decisions Far from the Public Eye
1) When you read that Atticus had walked out of jail just hours before stalking Haille at the restaurant, what does that tell you about Atticus?
2) What is the probation officer's role in the criminal justice system?
3) What is the definition of a bureaucracy? What are some of the characteristics of bureaucracies that tend to make them insensitive to human needs and human suffering? Are police, district attorney's offices, and probation departments bureaucracies?
4) What can you as a community member do to counteract a bureaucracy's tendency to insensibility to people's needs? Do the people who live in Sonoma County have any responsibilities or obligations regarding the dismantling of the probation department's cite/release program?
5) Do you see any similarities in the probation Department's failures in regard to Haille and FEMA's failures in regard to the citizens of New Orleans following hurricane Katrina?
6) Many probation officers in the Sonoma County Probation Department have been very upset that the probation cite/release program was disbanded. Did these probation officers have a responsibility to speak publicly to warn the public? Why do you think these officers did not speak out when the cite/release program was disbanded? What are 'whistleblower laws' and why do we need them? The state of California has whistleblower laws in effect and still probation officers did not speak out. What else is needed for public officials to speak freely about public abuses they become aware of in the course of their work?
7) Why do you think Probation Chief Cora Guy disbanded the probation department cite/release program?
Building Up to It
1) Why do you think Haille went to her friend Ron? What do you think she wanted him to do?
2) Do you think that if Ron had gone with Haille to the police that it would have saved Haille's life?
3) What do you think Ron meant when he asked Haille if she wanted him to talk to Atticus?
4) Do you think it would have helped Haille if Ron and his friends had physically beat up Atticus?
5) Why do you think so many men's first reaction to a problem is to resort to violence?
6) If you believe someone is at risk of domestic violence homicide, should you do something even if the victim doesn't want you to? What should or shouldn't you do?
7) Do you think there is anything Haille's friends could have done directly with Atticus to have deterred Atticus from murdering Haille?
8) Do you think the decision by the Sheriff's dispatcher not to send a deputy to take the report was just an unfortunate slip, or was it an indication of a deeper problem? Describe the problem.
9) Could the Sheriff's dispatcher have saved Haille's life?

10) Do you agree with the author's view that the actions of the system seem more to "protect the system from Atticus' victims, than to protect the people from Atticus"?

As Clear as a Clarion Song
1) What is the role of the district attorney in the criminal justice system? Why is the District Attorney considered the chief law enforcement officer of a county? Do you think the District Attorney in a county has more or less power in the county than a mayor? Do you know the name of the District Attorney in your county? Who has power over the district attorney in your county? If you had a complaint about your district attorney's handling of a case of violence against women, who should you go to make the complaint?
2) Why do you think the July 13 Press Democrat article made no mention of public discontent over the years with DA Vroman's handling of violence against women? Does the Press Democrat's failure have any responsibility for Mendocino County's mishandling of violence against women? Is this a major or minor responsibility?
3) What is libertarianism? Do you agree with the author that libertarian views and policies subject women and children to greater risk of violence? Why or why not?
4) Do you agree or disagree that domestic violence should be a primary responsibility of law enforcement? Why do you think so many people do not agree that domestic violence should be a primary responsibility of law enforcement? Why do you think so many in law enforcement do not agree that domestic violence should be a primary responsibility of law enforcement? Do you think this view contributed to Haille's murder?
5) Do you think the Mendocino DA's office had responsibility for putting Atticus on a no-bail hold following his arrests at the end of April, 2005? Why do you think they did not put Atticus on a no-bail hold? Does DA Norm Vroman have direct responsibility for this decision even though it was one of his deputies that went into court on Atticus' case and not Vroman himself?
6) Could the Mendocino District Attorney's office have saved Haille's life?
So Many Innocent Victims
1) Why do you think Haille went to meet Atticus even though she knew Atticus was dangerous?
2) Do you agree with the author that if Haille had not gone to meet Atticus, Atticus would have continued to look for a way to murder Haille?
3) What kind of help do you think Adam needs after Haille's murder? If you were Adam's friend, in what ways could you help Adam?
4) Why is it often so difficult in domestic violence cases for families and friends to take action on behalf of the victim?
5) Why do you think Haille didn't go to her parents for help? If you found yourself in an abusive intimate relationship, would you go to your parents for help? Would you want other people to go to your parents for you? Would you want your parents to be involved in any way?
6) Can you think of additional reasons, beyond those mentioned in the story, that the primary age range for domestic violence victimization is between 16 and 24 years-of-age?
7) Do you think young people can handle domestic violence on their own? Why or why not?
8) Do you agree with the author that when victim advocates are paid by the criminal justice system, their ability to help victims is badly compromised? How so? Do you think their ability to help victims is still compromised if their offices are in the police department or district attorney's office but their paycheck comes from a women's agency? Give an example of the kind of the conflict of interest that occurs when victim advocates are embedded in the criminal justice system, either by having their paychecks come from the system, their offices located in the system, or both.
9) Why do you think the perpetrators of domestic violence almost always escalate their violence against the victim after the victim decides to leave?
10) What are some advantages and disadvantages of sending victims of domestic violence to a battered women's shelter?
11) What does the following statement mean to you? Domestic violence is not domesticated violence.
12) Having discussed the issues to this point, what would you do now if you felt that a friend of yours was caught in an abusive relationship? Name five things you would try to communicate to your friend. Name five things you could do for your friend.
The Meaningless Processing of Cases
1) Why do you think that strong, thorough law enforcement response to domestic violence is so effective in reducing the rate of domestic violence homicides?
2) Do you agree with the author that the report of multiple rapes in which Atticus was the suspect was the most serious crime report against Atticus? Why do you think that a history of rape is one of the top five risk indicators of a perpetrator's likelihood of committing a domestic violence homicide?
3) Rape is the most poorly handled serious crime by law enforcement. Rape also has the lowest prosecution rate of any serious crime. Why do you think this is so?
4) Law enforcement officials often excuse their poor record in handling rape cases by saying that rape cases are especially difficult because so many of these cases are a 'he said, she said' situation. Do you agree with this law enforcement assessment of rape cases?
5) Looking back through this text, can you find five examples of where one criminal justice agency or another carried out "The Meaningless Processing of Cases"? Why do you think law enforcement agencies would fall into this pattern and practice of "The Meaningless Processing of Cases"?
Misdemeanor Murder
1) What is meant by the term "Misdemeanor Murder"?
2) Now that you have read and discussed Haille's story, do you feel you have more understanding of why Cloverdale Police refused to respond to Haille's murder in progress? Explain. Have you changed your opinion about whether the police decision not to respond was the correct or incorrect decision? Explain.
3) Describe what you think would have been the ideal response from Cloverdale Police to Haille's murder-in-progress.
4) Both the Cloverdale dispatcher and the Cloverdale Police Sergeant heard Antonio's plea on May 22. Which one of these police employees should be held more accountable for the decision that was made that day? Why?
5) Why do you think the author ends this section's analysis of the police refusal to respond with quotes from Cloverdale residents expressing their concerns about openly criticizing the police?
6) Name five things that Cloverdale individuals or groups can do to make sure that Cloverdale Police would respond differently to the same situation in the future.
In Memory of Haille
1) Why does the author say that remembering Haille is the most important lesson of the story.

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