By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
‘Question the People You Interview!’
Letters may be edited for clarity and length. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail to Letters to the Editor, c/o OC Weekly, 1666 N. Main St., Ste. 500, Santa Ana, CA 92701. Or fax to (714) 550-5908.
The statements made by R. Scott Moxley [“Sandra’s Got Their Guns,” Oct. 16] are false, defamatory and unprivileged. I have never presided over a case that contained allegations of “sex crimes” filed and prosecuted by the sexual-assault unit of the Orange County district attorney’s office during my wife’s tenure as head of that unit. In fact, as soon as my wife became the supervisor of the unit in 2001, I notified my supervising judge that I was disqualifying myself from all sexual-assault-unit cases. A cursory inquiry would have revealed these facts.
Mr. Moxley wrote that my wife used the e-mail account of Judge Froeberg to respond to law-enforcement officers. This false statement was couched in terms that implied that we were engaging in unethical conduct designed to acquire some unspecified advantage. The truth is that my wife was responding, after-hours and from our home, using our personal e-mail account, to a request of her by law-enforcement personnel. The word “Judge” has never [been] used in connection with that e-mail account.
On Oct. 30, Mr. Moxley responded to a request from the Orange County Superior Court’s media-relations officer, Carole Levitzky (mistakenly identified as working for the district attorney’s office) for a correction. [Editor’s note: The Weekly regrets misidentifying Levitzky.] His response re-states false information in two instances. In response to the e-mail issue, he states, “I did not write that Rosanne Froeberg used her husband’s work e-mail. I clearly stated on Oct. 16 that . . . prosecutor Froeberg used the e-mail account of Judge Froeberg to respond to law enforcement.” With reference to the issue of the assignment of cases, he responded, “Finally, defendants charged with sex crimes routinely land before Judge Froeberg.” Webster’s dictionary defines routine as “of a commonplace or repetitious character; of relating to, or being in accordance with established procedure.” As indicated previously, the established procedure is to not assign sexual-assault cases to me. In fact, since January 2001, I have presided over 139 felony jury trials, only five of which (less than 4 percent) contained allegations of sexual assault. Of those five, two involved charges of murder, two were gang-related and one was joined with domestic violence. All five of those cases were prosecuted by members of the homicide, gang or domestic-violence units of the district attorney’s office, none from the sexual-assault unit.
Assistant district attorneys and judges are held to the highest legal and ethical standards. By falsely accusing us of ethical violations, Mr. Moxley comes squarely within the provisions of Civil Code Section 45. His refusal to correct his false statements and his re-statement thereof demonstrate actual malice by the publication of his defamatory misstatements. I again demand a correction that complies with Civil Code Section 48a.
Judge William R. Froeberg, Santa Ana
R. Scott Moxley responds: First, I have to say that threatening a reporter with a lawsuit in a letter written on Superior Court stationery is exactly what I’d expect from this judge. In my article, I wrote that Judge Froeberg has presided “over cases involving sex crimes,” a fact he concedes at the conclusion of his letter. I did not accuse him of presiding over cases that were prosecuted by his wife’s unit, nor did I intend to imply as much. I didn’t write that his wife used a court e-mail account to respond to police officers making inquiries regarding sex-crime probes. I wrote that law-enforcement officers sent e-mail to Rosanne Froeberg’s DA account and received responses from “an Internet account bearing the name ‘William Froeberg.’” That’s a fact and the reason for my report.
I appreciate the topic of the article [Nick Schou’s “The Scars You Can’t See,” Nov. 7], but I felt the OC Weekly hunted for the worst possible candidates for their article. For every one of those guys, there are thousands of us who come back from war and lead relatively normal, productive lives. I’m not saying that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is not a significant issue, but the gentlemen interviewed had experiences that, if true, are certainly exceptional. Fact of the matter is that most people complete their service without firing a shot. I can attest to this as a former infantry Marine who did two tours in Iraq, completing hundreds of patrols, vehicle checkpoints, raids, cordon and knocks, etc. And when we do have to fire, it’s generally only for suppression while we get aerial and artillery dialed in. This isn’t true of every war, but please, question the people you interview! Don’t take it for granted that because they claim veteran status, their word is infallible. Verify dates, units served with, locations. . . . If they are flippant about answering such specifics, things no “real” veteran will ever forget, then they are probably making it up and trying to get attention.
PTSD is developed at a higher propensity in people who don’t have a support structure (i.e., people newly released from the military). They isolate themselves and shut off the outside world and stew in their rage until something happens. For me, it was the birth of my daughter; I knew I had to come to terms with the anxiety and irritability I experienced in many situations if I was going to be a fully functioning dad (something I never had, which is surely part of the reason why I developed PTSD). I found a psychologist who was willing to work with me on the cheap, and I feel like I have resolved many of the symptoms I was experiencing. Unfortunately, a lot of people go into the military because they have dysfunctional families or a virtually nonexistent support structure. In that kind of environment, they have brothers they can share experiences with and talk to about things. Without a doubt, some kind of exit screening for PTSD would help decrease the number and severity of PTSD issues.
A Reader, via ocweekly.com