The Fall of Synanon III

Fall of Synanon III (Chance meetings)

by Paul Morantz
October 2010

(Dedicated to John van de Kamp, Steve Trott, John Watson and Mike Carroll)

In l972 veteran public defender David Vinje entered his nightly watering hole, a small bar called Lola’s in the San Fernando Valley. When the bad guys entered with guns drawn and ordered the patrons to the floor Vinje, who knew best how dangerous the situation was, had a heart attack and started to moan. He was silenced with bullets.

What does this have to do with the fall of Synanon? Strangely, everything. I was also a public defender at the time and decided to write a story on it raising issues of morality for the death penalty. It was my first attempt at free lance journalism. When the office found out I was summoned to the head man and told my story would have to be approved first there as the Public Defender was my employer. But I walked out thinking the first time the boss reads it will be with his Sunday breakfast. By then the story had already been sold to West magazine of Los Angeles Times which did it inside story on me for writing it.

After events dueling a judge and my going to an apartment to confront a bad guy (See Pink Justice) the public defender office and I would part. I thought my future was in writing. While never made, I optioned the Vinje story (Incident at Lola’s) to film. My next piece was a story of Jan and Dean for Rolling Stone in l974 (which became a movie in l978 (See Jan and Dean Behind the Movie) and then the William Depalma story in l975. It is the latter that is key. Because of success of first two I got the Depalma assignment.

Depalma was a catering truck operator wrongfully convicted for bank robbery due to incidents of police arrogance including a crime lab director—James D. Bakken– who manufactured evidence often when he concluded a defendant was guilty. Depalma’s fingerprint was copied in Xerox toner and said falsely to be a lift from the bank counter. At trial the FBI expert on fingerprints told the eyeball teller witnesses who had mistakenly picked out Depalma’s photo of the fingerprint match and so not to worry about their testimony. Depalma’s lawyer failed to ask for a continuance even though Depalma’s employer who was out of town could have testified Deplama was working that day. De Palma had only become a suspect because he was stopped on the street by a police officer and questioned at the time of an earlier bank robbery that had a similar method operandus. The culprit of the earlier robbery would later be caught and confessed. He would become a cellmate of Depalma. The police could not see the odds were against Depalma’s being guilty.

Finally, after several years of imprisonment, the Federal public defender’s office was formed and the case was assigned to it. A investigator named John Bond proved the frame (See Finger Print That Lied).

The Producers of Eddie and the Cruisers wanted to make a movie on it and hire me to write first draft but Depalma nixed it not wanting to relive it. A different decision by him might have changed all that followed But the important point was that in doing the story I met with a person rather then unknown who had been appointed as the first Federal Public Defender. He came from a wealthy food family –The Van de Kamp family which was famous for its bakeries and Lawry’s Restaurants in Southern California but John chose another direction.

He worked in the Los Angeles U.S. Attorney’s Office from 1960 to 1967, including a stint as U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California from 1966-67.

John Van de Kamp then went to Washington, D.C. and served as Director of the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys under Deputy Attorney General Warren Christopher. In 1971 he became the Central District’s first Federal Public Defender, and established that office.

And so we met in his office. Some how we both connected—sort of a mutual admiration. I have never been a fan of politics. In fact, twice politicians solicited my running for office in the 1980s but I declined determining one could probably do more outside the system which itself seem based on self survival and compromise rather than optimum service. I knew how I would respond the first time someone said scratch my back and I will scratch yours.

Van de Kamp, on the other hand seemed sincere, an impressive speaker his quote warning of the dangers when law enforcement can be blinded by its own arrogant self belief became the lead in my story. He wrote me a note how much he liked the piece and I wrote back saying, in substance, “John…I know politics is where you are going and that is not an arena I believe much in. But I do believe in you. Anytime you are looking for volunteers you can call on me.”

A simple interview. A story and a handshake. He never did call. But he would remember 3 years later.

Ironically, in l976 Charles Dederich said on tape that Synanon can do what ever it wants because most lawyers working for the government are lazy coffee drinkers wanting to be home by 5:00 PM. Then he added, “the exception might be the attorneys working in Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. Not only was he prophetic, but when the rattlesnake bit my hand the Los Angeles Dist. Atty. was John Van de Kamp.

Van de Kamp assigned the case full time to two of his best deputies: John Watson and Ronald H. (Mike) Carroll along with assistance from Steve Trott. 1966, when I was a sophomore in college, Carroll joined the District Attorney’s office. In l969, while I was in law school, Carroll served as chief prosecutor in the highly publicized trial that grew out of a four-hour gun battle between Black Panthers and police at the Panthers’ Central Avenue headquarters in 1969. later, Mike headed the DA drugs section. Now he would head the Synanon case. I felt we had a friendship. It seemed he and Watson, more than just prosecuting, looked out for my safety.

Supervising and leading the search warrant raid on Synanon (See Fall of Synanon II) Trott was famous for obtaining the first ever murder conviction wherein the body was never found (victim disappeared in Europe and Trott went abroad to trace their trail) and while I never wrote the book I had met with him once with the idea of writing a book on the case. The key witness, however, wanted money from me I did not have and without him I didn’t really have the necessary information. Still, Synanon had bad luck. Through circumstances the people handed the rattlesnake investigation may have had a little extra motivation. Synanon had messed with someone they knew and I think they respected.

In what Richard Ofshe called, “Raid on Entebee II,” the Synanon search warrant team involved multiple police forces and state agencies descending on the Badger Home Place. A nervous Mike Carroll wore a bullet proof vest. As the police were leaving, an officer spied 3 tapes fallen behind a cabinet. One of them was entitled “The New Religious Posture—Don’t Fuck with Synanon.” The speaker was Charles Dederich.

Synanon filed a motion a motion to quash the warrant contending it was over broad and lacked sufficient evidence to support the search. Carroll and Watson refuted each argument, pointing to the ex-members declarations concerning Synanon violence, the wire, the taping system, and the constant “drum beat” to get Paul Morantz and the enemies of Synanon. Not only did the Judge uphold the warrant, he allowed the tape to be played in the court room as the public had the “right to know.”

And so the world heard a calm Chuck Dederich explain to their followers how Synanon had commenced violence, was now training the Imperial Marines and would get out the message that those who messed with Synanon could be “killed dead. Physically dead (see True Story of Rattlesnake).”

Synanon legal filed every motion there was, is and them some. They attacked Lance Kenton’s fingerprint found in the car; tried to suppress Joe Muico’s jailhouse confession to an inmate. Each motion was denied, fought off by Carroll and Watson.

One motion Synanon got granted was to inspect the crime scene–My house. I was not too happy but Carroll, Watson and LAPD were all there. As a result of measurements taken at the first preliminary hearing Synanon brought out a replica of my front door and wall with the mailbox. I was asked to retrace my steps back from an imaginary kitchen and when I did I found that the lifting of the lid from a straight on approach was an uncomfortable move not likely to have been made. For a moment, Synanon had me. I was confused. But they made the mistake of using this at the preliminary hearing rather than having me look awkward in front of a jury. When I returned home I realized that the model left out that at the doorway from entrance area (where mailbox was) to the kitchen the wall intruded into the walk though door space which would require me from kitchen to approach the mailbox at an approximate 45 degree angle and not parallel. Synanon left this protrusion off their courtroom model.

If they saved the trick for in front of a jury I might have looked foolish. By using it at prelim I was now prepared for it. My testimony would point out the model was not accurate; that Synanon was being deceptive.

It helped that the case was assigned to Judge William Hogoboom who after reading many of Synanon memos had a good understanding of the case. Hogoboom, like me, attended USC Law School. During WWII he was a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. He was in private practice in Los Angeles from 1950 to 1968 when Gov. Ronald Reagan then appointed him to the Superior Court. He became an expert on juvenile law and after ‘no fault divorce” was instituted he helped develop the rules implementing it.

Hogoboom set the Synanon case for trial over objections of both sides As Hogoboom had surmised, Synanon now with its back to the wall and a long jail sentence facing Dederich wanted to deal But what was a fair deal? As to Kenton and Musico, I wrote the Judge if I had gotten them out, someone else would have done it. And as to those kids I got out, maybe if I hadn’t they would be ones who did it. Dederich and his chronies were the real guilty parties.

I have written that brainwashing is a misunderstood concept (See Common Characteristics of Totalistic Movements). People do not become zombies. They make decisions within limits allowed to them. However, to believe a crime is justified is not justification to commit the crime because you still know it is against the law whether you believe it is justified or not. It is still a crime even if you believe in the end it betters mankind (Helter Skelter). Believing it is necessary for “family” to kill someone does not exonerate you. So whether you came to the motivating belief on your own or it was forced psychologically on you is not relevant as to question of guilt.

On the other hand, it did mitigate. But for Charles Dederich these crimes do not happen. CED was Kenton’s role model. Lance had been given over to Synanon at a young age by his music performing parents who thought given their performance traveling Synanon was a better environment for their son and daughter. Musico, a Vietnam vet with a history of crime and drug abuse, came as a jail alternative for help for his anti-social tendencies and was instead rewarded for them.

Part of rationale for crime punishment is deterrence. The message must be delivered that “beliefs” regardless of how obtained are not “get out of jail” cards. Do crime, you do time. So I requested punishment but not so much Kenton and Musico lives were ruined. I pointed out other kids I got out of Synanon were now my friends and but for said removals they might have been the attackers. The main thing was that each be ordered out of Synanon. Judge Hogoboom followed it. He granted probation, conditions including one year in jail and they had to leave Synanon. I felt I had got two more out.

Kenton’s lawyer, Douglas Dalton, said what about his wife? Hogoboom said she had a choice.

As to Dederich, Hogoboom had medical doctors examine him who confirmed he had ailments, as his lawyers claimed, from which he could die from if he went to prison. Hogoboom agreed to give probation, no jail, but The Founder could have nothing to do with running Synanon. Sentencing required my approval (Van de Kamp wanted to be sure I gave public support to what might be seemed as a light sentence) but I could not be the one who said let him risk death by being in jail.

Privately Dave Mitchell and I believed CED would violate probation and end up in jail anyway. While plea bargain was “nolo contender” not “guilty” we knew public saw it as same. These were facts Synanon could no longer challenge. Regardless of labels, they were consenting to their convictions.

When I entered the courtroom on the day of their plea I saw an empty seat between Chuck’s Daughter and new wife. I took it as if to say symbiotically it is all over now.

But it was not quite over. In Santa Monica my civil case was set for trial. By pleading in the criminal case the civil case had lost some of its importance. Until now I was faced, as were the parents of the victims in the O.J. Simpson case, with the fear that the criminal case might not be won and that I needed the civil case as a backup to prove guilt. By example, a good lawyer, and both Kenton and Musico had good lawyers, could argue to the jury in substance that Synanon most likely did it but Synanon is not on trial. The issue in a criminal case, they would say, was which individuals did it and same must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. A case can always be built for reasonable doubt. This one was built on strong circumstantial evidence but still there was no eye witness identification. But in a civil case, all I need to prove is that Synanon was responsible for it, not who did it, and prove it by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not).

I did not want the rest of my lived subject to the Synanon public-relations machine claiming that I had attempted to frame them which would have resulted if they won acquittals in the criminal action. They already made that claim at a press conference where Cesar Chavez appeared in support of Dederich. I didn’t think I would like living that way. So the civil suit was my back-up. Now it was not needed for that purpose. It existed for punishment and damage compensation.

At this time I was gone from my law firm. I had told my firm I could not handle temporarily the emergency legal matters and help the district attorney’s office prepare for trial at the same time. I would probably break down. The response was that my office wanted me to take a lesser salary as I could not produce. This dispute led to my leaving the firm. I took with me my Synanon cases, cases with other cults and set up a small office in my home which was only 1100 ft.² to begin with (See Chasing Annie Hall).

I also got sent a photograph taken by another adverse litigant of a blackboard inside the legal offices in Synanon. There was a series of names on the blackboard with monetary amounts next to it. Next to mine was the sum of $500,000. What did this mean? It was speculated this was the amount they planned to pay to settle. We thought we might have some special inside information they did not intend us to have. A settlement was reached, the term to which were agreed to be confidential, but at that time my feeling was more about having the war over than money and feeling Synanon should benefit from its decision to plead its members in the criminal case. In other words, as I was not being put through the criminal trial do I therefore reciprocate or do I use the civil case as a club rather than a conclusion.

Synanon had also won an order to take a lot of depositions of people close to me and I believe the Court granted that request in part to push me to settle. When I saw the list I commented that everyone I knew was on it except my border collies Tommy And Devon. Sometimes now I wonder if Synanon was smarter than I gave them credit. Maybe they wanted me to see that photograph of the blackboard.

With the civil case over I thought I would take some time off before looking for employment in another firm. I thought what an interesting resume I would have– the nursing home case and then Synanon. “Hi…I am out of work…maybe you heard of me…the lawyer who got a snake in his mailbox. “

I didn’t think getting a job would be difficult. But I did wonder if any firm would let me do what I wanted to do. Truth was I was not about maximizing dollar return. I did not like the “practice” of law. What I liked was bizarre cases where there were good guys vs. the bad guys. But during my “”vacation” I discovered a strange thing. In working on just the few cases I took with me I made 4 times as much money as I did working for a firm.

Then you realize just how much money is spent on office overhead. If I was going to stay in the bad guys fighting business avoiding overhead was important. Most firms would not do it because the fact that time would be taken so much by these cases it would be difficult to meet expenses. There were stories of big cases bankrupting law firms who took them on when the opponent was willing to spend a lot of money to run up costs and make it difficult for the law firm to have time for other cases. At this time it could take up to 5 years for trial date, although later the Los Angeles system by new regulations would get it down to 18 months.

By staying in a home office, which also has tax savings, storms could be weathered as long as there was an eventual pay-off. This also left me free to take cases that were factually outrageous but not necessarily call for large payments because the damages were not that great. It also allowed a far lesser attorney fee when I rarely billed hourly because I did not have the office expense. The downside was lack of contact with other lawyers, people in an office and flirting with girls by the water cooler.

Later I tried hiring lawyers but found it difficult to teach them this type of lawyering which required a completely different concept of legal strategy. Often one proceeded in the reverse of the normally accepted. It also meant taking in more work to pay their salaries. In the end, I knew I would have no firm to retire from. I might regret it later but I made the decision and never left the home office. Looking back, I don’t think I and firm money goals would ever match. Once visiting a law office I saw in waiting room plaqued articles on large jury awards. I tried to imagine what I would have in my lobby…then I realized it would probably be professional licenses I had a part in removing.

In 1979, shortly after the Point Reyes Light received the Pulitzer Prize, the United Press International (UPI) filed a formal complaint against Synanon with the National News Council. UPI charged therein that the foundation had engaged in systematic efforts “to threaten UPI’s reputation and, generally, object to any news coverage which reflects unfavorably upon Synanon.” UPI further charged that Synanon’s lawyers have been “flooding the nation’s news media with letters threatening libel suits as a part of the systematic pattern of intimidation designed to suppress all stories they considered unfavorable.” Even reports on the award of the Pulitzer Prize to the Point Reyes Light drew form letters demanding retraction on pain of suit. [37 Cal.3d 256]

In investigating UPI’s charges, the National News Council staff discovered that the foundation had initiated the “Retraction Project.” According to Synanon’s own reports, this project sent out at least 960 letters to the media during 1978 and 1979, arguing its case and intentionally attracting further attention to its cause. Recipients included all the major television networks and many of their affiliates as well as hundreds of newspapers ranging from the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times to the Billings Gazette (Mont.). Synanon also contracted with a nationwide service to provide clips of articles published relating to its activities, and according to its report, 11,136 such clips were provided during 1978 and 1979 alone.

Now with the convictions this mean machine seemed no longer to have any parts.

It is generally believed this report on Synanon, and assumed by some additionally practices by other cults, helped formulate the California anti-SLAPP law that provides a procedure to analyze and dismiss lawsuits aimed at thwarting free speech that do not have factual support, plus provide for sanctions for violators who brings such cases without sufficient supporting facts.

Mike Carroll after the Synanon case was assigned to re investigate the question of whether or not Marilyn Monroe’s death was the result of suicide or foul play. He concluded it was a suicide. I wondered if Van de Kamp had given him the job as a reward/vacation for his hard work in the Synanon case. Glamorous Hollywood was just the diversion for Carroll who could now “do lunch” without a bullet proof vest under his sweater

Mike became the head deputy in Van Nuys office and in 4 years became the head of the Santa Monica branch Court and so I would see him from time to time and say hello. The last time I saw him he was walking in Pacific Palisades and I was able to introduce him to my son and that was a big thrill for me.

John Watson after 21 years as prosecutor became an Orange County Judge in l989 until retiring in 2006. He authored the January 1, 1991 California anti-stalking law which served as the model for stalking laws in all 50 states.

Douglas Dalton became world famous the same year I was attacked when his client Roman Polanski bolted for Europe rather than risking sentencing for sex with a 13-year old, a crime some suggested that grew from his grief over the Charles Manson led murders that included as victim Polanski’s than pregnant wife Sharon Tate.

Stephen Trott, who was once was a member of the singing group The Highwaymen which in l961 recorded “Michael, Row the Boat Ashore” is considered by some as the greatest prosecutor ever. He became a judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Trott was nominated for this position by President Ronald Reagan on August 9, 1987 and was confirmed by the senate, and received his commission on March 25.

Hogoboom retired shortly after the case in l983 and then served for 16 years until he left at the end of 1983 to spend a decade as vice president and counsel for USC. In interviews he said Synanon was his most memorial case. He also became a mediator and supervised a settlement of a cult case of mine in the 90’s (to be written Seaside Caper). It was the first and last time I had opportunity to ever talk to him. I told him thanks for the manner in which he handled the case, treated me (victim) and the parties.

John van de Kamp who had been appointed Los Angeles County District Attorney in l976, was subsequently elected twice. He had that public servant career I had predicted when we first met. As District Attorney, he established the office’s first Victim Assistance Program and chaired the state committee establishing such programs throughout California. He established the office’s Career Criminal, Vertical Prosecution, “Operation juvenile justice” and bail reform measures.

Van de Kamp was elected California’s Attorney General in 1982 and served two terms. As Attorney General, he created the Public Rights Division, which fought to enforce antitrust laws, and statutes protecting the consumer, civil rights, and the environment. Van de Kamp pushed anti-trust enforcement, winning two landmark anti-trust decisions in the U.S. Supreme Court. In the civil rights area he took an active role in fighting for affirmative action, in opposing discrimination against persons afflicted with AIDS, and in opening private clubs to minorities and women. In the environmental area, he fought to protect Lake Tahoe and established a moratorium on oil drilling off the California coast. Van de Kamp also devised and sponsored the Trial Court Delay Reduction Act (“Fast Track”) and brought the A.G.’s office into the forefront of the high-tech era with the implementation of the CAL-ID Computerized Fingerprint Program and the development of DNA technology. The National Association of Attorneys General presented Van de Kamp with its Wyman Award in 1989 in recognition of his outstanding effectiveness in office.

For outstanding leadership in public service and the legal profession and because of his contribution to equal justice, John Van de Kamp was presented the 1995 Maynard Toll Award by the Legal Aid Foundation of L.A. And in 2005 he received the Shattuck-Price Award from the Los Angeles County Bar Association.

After an unsuccessful run for the Governor’s Office in 1990, he left office in 1991. Van de Kamp joined the law firm of Dewey Ballantine LLP as partner and chairman of the Los Angeles office’s litigation department. From 1996 to 2004 he was President and General Counsel of the Thoroughbred Owners of California. His law practice now specializes in Arbitration and Mediation. He now is a private mediator with ADR.

In 1999 he was appointed with two other former Attorneys General (Frohmayer and Cody) by NAAG to allocate $8 billion of tobacco settlement proceeds as a member of The Strategic Contribution Fund Allocation Committee. Their Final Report and Decision was issued on May 21, 1999.

He was elected and served as the 80th President of the State Bar of California in 2004-2005.

Van de Kamp became President of the Board of The Planning and Conservation League and on the boards of The Skid Row Development Corporation, The Norton Simon Museum, and The Los Angeles Conservation Corps. He became the long-term chair of the Community Campaign for Schools for the Pasadena Education Foundation. He is also on the Board of Directors of Lawry’s Restaurants, Inc, famous for feeding steaks to Rose Bowl teams. For a number of years in the 90s he served on the board of the National College of District Attorneys.

He has also served on the ABA’s Special Committee on Criminal Justice in a Free Society which published its report in 1988 (Criminal Justice in Crisis), and on The ABA Task Force on the Federalization of Criminal Law which released its report in late 1998. He now serves on the ABA’s Commission on Effective Criminal Sanctions.

The City of Pasadena designated him to chair its Task Force on Good Government (2005-2006) to report on campaign finance reform.

In 2006 the California Senate Rules Committee appointed him to serve as the Chair of its Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice to recommend safeguards to prevent wrongful convictions. Its l report issued in 2007.

In late 2006, the Attorney General of California designated him to serve as the monitor of the Getty Trust until April 2008.

I have never in my life spoken to Lance Kenton or Joseph Musico. Kenton works for Charlie Sheehan after having been married to the mother of Charlie’s child. Given recent drug shanaigans that may be an irony. Musico was murdered a decade ago by a rival pimp/drug dealer who threw him off a building. The police investigating the case had no idea of the victim’s infamy until I called to get the story.

There were few rewards for me. By the time of the events at Waco it seemed I was forgotten. ABC once had me on 4 nights in a row to explain Jonestown and now it seemed the new media had forgotten me. ABC and Showtime over a decade apart contracted to make movies on the story but did not. Showtime had green lighted the project for 4 years but kept delaying it until it replaced the ideas of movies about sociopath villainy with episodes making a hero out of such anti-social person (Dexter). Vanity Fair spent a lot of time on a story on my career but never ran it following 9-11. The Los Angeles daily Journal did a story on my career but did not run it, the reporter telling me it feared lawsuits. Super Lawyer magazine never called. I turned down offers to do a book but eventually did this site sostories would not die with me. Eventually Rod Janzen did his inaccurate book on Synanon without bothering to interview me. And now I was asked this year to write a book and it soon will be out.

The Van Nuys Bar Association once had me as a guest speaker and for a while I was on a national speaking tour at a lot of campuses which got me to see a lot of the country and meet interesting people I otherwise never would have experienced.

As to the idea of being acknowledged for at least a different approach at a legal career, I had to settle for two accidental events.

The first one was somewhere in the late l990’s. Myself and some friends attended a party in Santa Monica. Most of the guests were AA members. But alcohol was permitted for the nonmember guests. When the supply got low I volunteered for a liquor store run. I picked some small corner liquor store on Main Street. I put some beer and wine in a box and handed over my credit card to the proprietor. He came back to me and said:

“Your money is no good here, Paul. You can come back any time you want for anything the store has but we will never take your money…”

I looked at him like he was out of his mind. I had no idea of what he was talking about or why he was saying this. Then I looked outside the store front window. Across the street that old red brick building still stood extending towards the sky. A hotel, restaurant and Bar now. The old sinister black-and-white Synanon sign long ago removed. I understood then and looked back to the store owner.

“It was so terrible back then,” he said. “They marched down those streets like Nazis intimidating everyone. You drove them off. You come back here any time you want just don’t bring to your money.”

I never did come back to the store. And the old proprietor never knew as I exited that my eyes were filled with tears.

Mike Caroll in 2000 retired from the district attorney’s office and a big party was thrown for him at a swanky hotel in downtown Los Angeles. I was one of the few civilians invited to honor him. I attended with a Palisades girl friend, Bonnie Burke, and enjoyed seeing old LAPD’s officers, like Marv Enquist, who were in attendance.

But what occurred was for me was a surprise. Van de Kamp was the master of the ceremonies and while listing the accomplishments of Mike Caroll, he said, “Of course, there was the prosecution of Synanon and Charles Dederich….

“And Paul Morantz is here with us today.”

He pointed at my table. He was man I met so long ago when he was the Federal Public Defender and I was the then kid writing a story for a magazine. We had shook hands. Now he was pointing. They rose from their seats and gave me an ovation. It was 22 years after the snake and there they were—the who’s who in law enforcements—saluting me.

When Mike Caroll came to the microphone he put the final touch to it, saying, “the thing I will remember most in the office is the courage of Paul Morantz.”

Later the current Atty. Gen. and others came by to introduce themselves. It was not my planned night. It was Mike Carroll’s night. It was an evening to honor him. But it had been shared to my surprise. At least I saw it that way. It is what as good as I got and I treasure it.

I saw Carroll once after that; as stated above on the street in Palisades during Fourth of July Parade. Mike moved to Fallbrook, Calif., in 2000 and died last Sept. 21 in a hospice in Carlsbad, Calif., after a long battle with lung cancer.

I had originally published this piece not long after his death and not knowing of it. Then the obituaries started appearing. He got bigger headlines for his Monroe investigation then heading the Synanon case or the Panther-police shoot outs, which says it all about society. Curiosity over a blond actress will win over bringing down terrorist cults every time.

From the kid in the 34th row, thanks Mike.