Pages

February 16, 2010

Are parents doing right by their kids by allowing them to hide behind their lawyers in the Joe Loudon case?

The morning that Patrick "P.J." Gabrielli was released from jail, the 18-year-old was “completely broken,” his mother reportedly said. “He could not stop crying. He sat on the floor his face on the couch, sobbing for two hours.”


P.J.’s older sister, Alexandra, 19, was also crying.

The Orinda brother and sister were devastated by the death, the night before, of their good friend and neighbor, Joe Loudon (pictured here a week before his death with his uncle, Thomas).

The popular, athletic 16-year-old collapsed at the May 23 party that P.J. and Alexandra were hosting—when their mother and stepfather were out of town. At this party, according to a lengthy story in the Los Angeles Times, teens came and went and paid a $5 entrance fee. Hard liquor, including Jello shots, flowed freely. Police would later learn that a sophomore with a fake ID had bought the alcohol, and that P.J. was with him.

Authorities and the media initially assumed that Joe had collapsed after binge drinking, but a coroner’s report show that he had consumed a small amount of beer, nothing near enough to cause a normal healthy young man to collapse and choke on his own vomit. Unfortunately, the exact cause of Joe’s death remains a mystery, confused by the fact that traces of an unusual drug were found in his system—but that this drug was administered post-mortem, to prepare his body for organ donation.

While Joe was rushed to Kaiser medical center in Walnut Creek, where he was later pronounced dead, P.J. and Alexandra Gabrielli were taken to the Orinda police station for questioning, and P.J. was booked into county jail. His parents bailed him out the next morning and brought him and Alexandra home.

Friends, who saw P.J. in the days and weeks after Joe’s death said the formerly quiet, easy-going Miramonte High student was “shattered.”

This whole case is a tragedy—for Joe Loudon, his parents, and his brothers, of course—but also for a P.J. and Alexandra Gabrielli.

These siblings are in trouble legally: Each faces misdemeanor counts of providing alcohol to minors. But it also sounds like they have suffered a tremendous amount of grief and remorse. As friends told the Los Angeles Times, it’s possible that Joe’s death will haunt them the rest of their lives.

So, given the amount of devastation this case has caused to so many, it’s pretty disconcerting to keep hearing about the evasive, self-protective actions of some of the grown-ups involved. The Los Angeles Times story, written by an Orinda writer who knows the Gabriellis, as well as Joe Loudon and his family, noted how the “threat of a wrongful-death lawsuit and criminal prosecution prompted some parents to hire lawyers, who advised kids not to speak” to authorities.

I myself have written before about Orinda parents “circling the wagons” and putting up a wall of silence in this case. 

The latest incident of adults circling the wagons occurred just last week when P.J. and Alexandra Gabrielli were scheduled to be arraigned on misdemeanor charges of providing alcohol to a minor.

But they didn’t show up for their court appearance. Legally, people charged with misdemeanors can send their lawyers to appear in court on their behalf. And that’s what P.J. and Alexandra Gabrielli did. Their lawyer, Mary Carey, herself an Orinda parent, showed up instead to essentially handle this bit of dirty work. Carey entered "not guilty" pleas for them.

Who made the call that for these siblings not to appear? My guess is that Carey assured them an appearance wasn’t necessary, and even advised them against it. (I e-mailed Carey, asking her about this decision, but have not heard back.) Going to court would no doubt be uncomfortable for P.J. and Alexandra. I also bet that P.J. and Alexandra’s parents were happy with this advice, eager to spare their children—and themselves—the hurt and shame of a court appearance. P.J. and Alexandra were probably relieved to not have to go. Who knows? Maybe they had other things they needed to do, places they needed to be.

The decision for them to stay away from court didn’t sit well with the judge. After meeting with Carey and the prosecutor in chambers, the judge ordered P.J. and Alexandra Gabrielli to themselves appear in court at their next court hearing.

Good for the judge. The siblings’ failure to appear in court was wrenching for Joe’s mother, Marianne Payne. She came to their arraignment to hear the charges read against them, to hear them enter their pleas, and--if allowed--to address the court and her late son’s friends.

Here’s what Payne said about their non-appearance.

“I believe it is further indicative of their sense of entitlement to silence this matter,” she wrote in an e-mail. “I believe that these misdemeanor charges are very minor given the fact that a life was lost, and I believe that out of respect to my son and my family, that at a minimum they should have appeared to address them.”

Legally, the risk isn’t too dire for P.J. and Alexandra Gabrielli. My reading of the Business and Professions code, which they are charged with violating, shows that, at most, they each face several hundred dollars in fines and a certain number of hours of community service. No jail; no prison time.

What’s at risk is how these young people will live with themselves and what happened. If I were in their situation, I am not sure how I would get on with my life. When I was their age and attending Acalanes High School, I did some things that were not smart or healthy—including drinking and going to parties. The fact that I or someone I knew didn’t get hurt is luck.

Their supporters can argue that P.J. and Alexandra Gabrielli didn’t directly cause Joe’s death. They can say that neither forced Joe Loudon to consume beer—if that had anything to do with why he died. These supporters can also say that these two young people are scapegoats for a community and legal system desperate to assign blame.

I believe that every defendant has a right to a strong defense, and that’s true for P.J. and Alexandra Gabrielli. I also understand parents’ instinct to protect their children, and a defense attorney’s duty to work out the best deal for her clients.

But I also think that justice should be about more than who wins and who loses. It can also be about revealing the truth and leading victims, families, communities--and the defendants themselves--to healing. A big part of this healing comes from defendants stepping up, taking responsibility for their role in a crime, and accepting that they have to take in whatever pain and suffering they caused.

Are the adults around P.J. and Alexandra Gabrielli helping them to take responsibility for their role in this case? I’m not privy to what’s going on in their home with their parents, or in their conversations with their attorney. I don’t know what they told the police about the night of the party. But judging from their non-appearance at their arraignment, it looks like the adults involved need to show that they are truly looking out for the best long-term interests of these two young people.

In my e-mail to the siblings’ attorney, I stated that I may not be mother of the year. "But if your clients were my kids, I would have said, you will be in court."

I'd want my kids to show that they can behave like decent citizens of their community, and to show respect for the law and the family of their friend. I'd also worry that they would never really get past what happened--but that facing up to it in court would help.

61 comments:

Anonymous said...

leave the brats alone

Anonymous said...

The old saying that: People learn from their mistakes; is only true if there are consequences. But, there haven't really been any meaningful legal consequences yet for P. J. and Alex, in my own humble opinion. The fact that the judge is insisting on their presence in court is finally a tiny step in the right direction.
Attorney Carey gave them lousy advice to not attend. Hopefully the judge will continue to require their appearances and more active involvement from them in this case.

Anonymous said...

I'm a little surprised by this, because Mary Carey has been a speaker at parent ed presentations for Miramonte, talking about the legal consequences of underage drinking. Since she stressed how teens are required to jump through all the hoops of booking, jail, court appearances, etc. it's interesting that her clients are not suffering all the consequences of their actions.

Anonymous said...

Not sure that I agree with you on this one, Soccer Mom. You appear to concede, on one hand, that there is no proof that alcohol consumption caused or contributed to the young man's tragic death. On the other hand, you want the (defendant) young people to "take responsibility" for their role in that death ---which, at this point, is what? Yes, they may have acted unwisely and perhaps broke a law, but I'm not convinced those circumstances oblige them to become public targets for parental guilt and community anger.
In any event, an arraignment is not the place where onlookers, even involved ones, get to "make statements," or "address friends" of the deceased. If the defendants are actually convicted of a crime, and if that crime is found to be the cause of a death, there will presumably be time for that.

AKA Soccer Mom said...

Readers, thanks for commenting on this very difficult issue...
First, 3:02 p.m.: You raise some excellent points, and I should clarify.
First, I understand that an arraignment is typically not the place where a victim or family member of a victim typically reads a Victim Impact Statement. That usuually happens at a sentencing, and a sentencing, at least for felony crimes, takes places weeks or months after the charges are initially filed, or after a trial...

I did ask Ms. Payne about her expectations about reading her Victim Impact statement at a sentencing. She said she was led to expect that, given the misdemeanor charges against them, that the Gabrielli siblings (or their lawyer, as it turns out) could have entered their pleas last week (no contest, guilty) that could have led to an immediate sentencing then and there... So she was told to prepare the statement, just in case.

As for the Gabrielli siblings appearing in court? Yes, absolutely, they should have shown up.

And I say that, not just because of this high-profile case, and not because I believe they should bear the full brunt of the tragedy of that night. ... A LOT of people made poor decisions.

But these two broke the law (allegedly). As I said, if these were my kids, I would have demanded that they appear in court. Misdemeanor or not. As a grown-up, you generally have to do that, if you're facing a traffic citation, a DUI, or a drunk in public arrest--That is, unless, you can hire the attorney to do the dirty work for you.

If my son, at 18, is arrested for a DUI, or providing alcohol to minors, or whatever misdemeanor, and charged, you're damned right he's going to deal with the hassle, discomfort and inconvenience of showing up in court. Even if it's for a quickie arraignment--and all the other annoying court proceedings that follow.

The more that I think about it, the more I think this is such a no-brainer for a parent to have this expectation. And, I say that as someone who doesn't consider herself mother of the year.

That these two young people, in this high profile case, where a young person--and their friend--died, didn't show up, to me, shows a real lack of respect and decency. I know that appearing in court could be difficult and painful for them. That's how it is when you're a criminal defendant. It sucks. It's awful, and I know this from supporting a loved one, who was a criminal defendant, and had to go through court proceedings.

Perhaps that was not the Gabriellis' intention--to show disrepect--but that's how it comes across. The judge saw through that, and good for that judge. If their attorney advised them not to show up, she was giving them very questionable advice, in my opinion.

And speaking of Ms. Carey, 2:54 p.m., well, here's an interesting development for you, from the Contra Costa Times over the weekend. It says that Mary Carey will appear as a speaker March 8 at Campolindo High on the topic of "Healthy Choices: Let's Change the Culture!"

"Topics of discussion will include Campolindo's underage drinking policy, laws dealing with underage drinking and parents' legal liability if teens are drinking in their home or at unsupervised parties. There will also be a question-and-answer session.

So, Carey is listed as a speaker, along with Campolindo Principal Carol Kitchens, Moraga police Chief Robert Priebe, and physician Jan Gurley.

OK, there's a lot I could say about this, and I've said it in other venues, but I will refrain for now.

Anonymous said...

3:02 comments that the Gabriellis' responsibility "is what?" in this tragedy. Shocking. Obviously, this person is into the loopholes and technicalities of the law and clearly is lacking a moral compass. I hope 3:02 doesn't have his/her own kids that are out in society. The "rsponsibility" is choosing to host an underage drinking party where someone needed medical attention that was delayed in being called because of the illegal activity happening at the house and party that these kids hosted. It is common knowledge that the Gabrielli house wasn't overtaken by a group of unruly partying teens...there is actual evidence on tape that PJ and the "minor" went to purchase the booze for this party...as in pre-planned party. Over the course of time, there have been many who have engaged in(and attended)the thrill and excitment of hosting an illegal teen party and 1,000,000 out of 1,000,001 times all works out but on May 23, 2009 it didn't and the responsibility is simple...a death could possibly have been prevented had medical attention been called asap. No one will ever know if his life could have been saved had the paramedics been called right away. For that to even be a question in a life or death scenario is unfathomable. No matter what any attorney or judge says that shadow is a heavy "responsibility" to wear around for the rest of your life. Anyone who has ever been sober in a CPR situation knows instinctively to call 911...immediately. That wasn't the case on May 23rd and the party hosts and the minor who purchased the alcohol will forever have to live with, regardless of their parents legal wranglings, the ramifications of their choice to host and provide booze for a teenage party that directly or indirectly depending on who you talk to was a factor in medical attention not being summoned in a timely manner. Responsibility is something that is part of your moral compass...it is a part of you and not something that can be plea'd away in a courtroom. It is your footprint. To even suggest that these three individuals had nothing to do with this tragedy is really the biggest tragedy of all. They should have been the first ones willing to cooperate and answer any and all questions and at the least show up in court and quite frankly in this community to face and aknowledge their involvement. Would it be so wrong for the participants and their parents to say "we made a mistake and we are so, so sorry?" Apparantly, that isn't being responsible.

Anonymous said...

10:03 p.m.
Beautifully said. Thank you,

Anonymous said...

"To even suggest that these three individuals had nothing to do with this tragedy is really the biggest tragedy of all. They should have been the first ones willing to cooperate and answer any and all questions and at the least show up in court and quite frankly in this community to face and aknowledge their involvement. Would it be so wrong for the participants and their parents to say "we made a mistake and we are so, so sorry?"

10:03 p.m. You're asking a lot of this "good, decent" Orinda family with their "good, decent" kids.

Take responsibility? It doesn't sound like a lot of people do that in Orinda.

Anonymous said...

This continues to be a heartbreaking story. I'm sure that no one intended for Joe to die that night. But he did. And everyone should acknowledge that alchohol played a role in what happened. It impaired judgement and prevented a timely phone call to 911 and even worse, prevented someone from walking across the street to get Joe's mom. Why? Because an illegal activity was going on and no one wanted to get in trouble. Carey advised her clients to not show up in court and plead "Not Guilty"? That's a shame. I agree that in the long run this type of legal maneuvering will not help these kids learn to live with what happened and become healthy and productive adults.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the reason they following reasonable legal protocol and not just blabbing is because no one knows what happened to Joe Loudon. It is a mystery. It happened at their house but that's all we know. The autopsy showed nothing. Why are we so sure there is a truth that is being hidden? If you just don't know you have nothing to gain talking.

This was a typical party - they kind we all went to as kids and the kind that go on every weekend. The only difference is that one of the attendees mysteriously died.

This is a legal matter that is best handled by legal professionals. The rest of us should remember that our legal system rests in the premise that the accused is innocent until proved guilty. Sit back and let the pros do their job and quit trying to assume that there is something to be said or told to shed light on this tragedy.

There is no reason to believe that and yet every word that is spoken is subject to free interpretation. I'd keep quiet, too.

Anonymous said...

7:58- Well said! Carey has given her clients good advice that will help protect them and their parents in the civil suit that Ms. Payne and her lawyer are sure to file against the Gabrielli's. Ms. Payne wants someone to blame for the bad decisions her son made by being at the party and her failure to monitor his activities. There were no saints at this party. It's a shame that a young man died while a bunch of drunk teenagers acted irresponsibly like drunk teenagers do, and didn't call for medical help. However, by heeding the advice of their attorney, brother and sister Gabrielli are acting responsibly.

Anonymous said...

As for hiring an attorney to do "your dirty work" - you really aren't the mother of the year if you don't make every effort to save your children from the wolves of the court by hiring a skilled attorney. If you think you can navigate the courts on your own, good luck to you and my regrets to your children.

AKA Soccer Mom said...

7:58 and 10:33 p.m.
I'm not saying I wouldn't hire an attorney--if I could afford it (I know that some public defenders do a good job)--BUT I would tell my son, you're going to court.

And, I'd hire an attorney who would support the idea of his taking responsibility for his actions.

There are such attorneys out there. And maybe that's what Ms. Carey is trying to help her clients do.

Yes, there a lot of people who made bad decisions that night. It just so happens that her clients are among the few who are charged for their bad decisions.

I agree, that's probably not fair. But that's the way it is. And they are charged with misdemeanors, and from various acounts, it sounds like they are guilty of those misdmeanors. But legally they don't look like they are huge jeopardy. Fines. Community service.

My position is that they need to show up in court--and take responsbility for THEIR actions. Sorry, but from the judge's actions, it does look like Ms. Carey made a strategic error in telling her clients they didn't have to show for their arraignment.

If Marianne Payne is planning to sue--well, that would be understandable but, in my opinion, unfortunate. Maybe she thinks it's the only way to get answers, but going the civil lawsuit route is pretty wrenching, I undestand, for the plaintiffs as well.

Read an interesting story lately by one of the New Yorker's medical correspondents, on the issue of medical malpractice... The typical response of doctors, and their lawyers, and insurance brokers, is to clam up and go into denial mode when the doctors screw up. A few doctors groups or hospitals are finding out that--wow--the threat of litigation actually goes down when doctors are upfront about their mistakes and--what a NOVEL idea--apologize for those mistakes.

The point is, patients who sue often are NOT looking for money. They are just looking for someone to tell them why things went wrong and to do a simple human thing: apologize. That's the justice they are looking for.

I don't know. Maybe there is a lesson here for everyone involved. But the thing is, and this comes from both this New Yorker article and concepts of restorative justice that I've read about, is that the person who screws up is the person who needs to make the first move.

It's not Ms. Payne's job to say, OK, I'll back down and not sue and forgive you, and we can all move on. That first gesture needs to come from P.J. and Alexandra Gabrielli and their parents.

If that gesture has been made, I'd be interested in hearing about it.

AKA Soccer Mom said...

Oh, and I DO think it's tacky and insensitive of Mary Carey, at THIS time, to appear as a speaker at Campolindo High talk in early March on Changing the Culture of Teen Drinking.

I have voiced the view to Ms. Carey and to the organizers of the talk. For those on this board who are defending her as a professional, I'm not saying she's not a respected member of the local legal community. As a defense attorney for juveniles, she could bring a lot to such a discussion--if she could talk freely and honestly.

But she's in the midst of this high-profile case involving teen drinking... It's likely that this party and Joe Loudon's death influenced the community to want this talk. Right now, the public actions of her and her clients and their parents are those of people who are supporting the culture of silence and denial that this panel is supposed to talk about changing.

If she can talk about the impact that THIS party has had on her clients, their parents, and the rest of Orinda, then maybe she could be a powerful speaker. They offer a sad but powerful cautionary tale.

But her clients' case is still going through the courts, so I would guess she's not going to talk about it.

It would be the proverbial elephant in the room, and a distraction.

I'm a supporter of the idea of Healthy Choices and of the need for the community to have this talk. I have also been involved in the Acalanes high school district parent education programs. These programs are a great community resource.

I think her presence on the panel, at this time, undermines its intentions and message. She should she withdraw.

Anonymous said...

7:58-- Low blow! Why add to Marianne Payne's suffering by making such an insensitive comment about her parenting. Joe LOVED his mother deeply. They had a wonderful relationship. She was always there for him. Driving him everywhere, at every game or track meet, taking time to volunteer at his school despite being a single mom working hard to support him financially. She is a kind, caring and wonderful person who simply wants to know what happened at that party that night and can't find out because of these wealthy Orinda parents and their high-priced lawyers. Nice way to kick someone when they are down. I hope you, and your mother, are proud of yourself.

In my opinion, the fact that she is the one who lost her son that night gives her every right to pursue whatever means possible to make these kids talk.

p.s. It is horribly insensitive of Mary Carey to speak on this panel, and quite frankly, given that she attends NCL meetings in our community where she talks about the serious consequences of alcohol crimes when one turns 18 and then turns around and helps these kids in our community not have to face these consequences, is hypocritical at best. She needs to withdraw.

Anonymous said...

It's gratifying to see that this community is filled with so many people who, along with ALL of their family members, have always made the right decision, never exercised poor judgment, never broken any law, and--- had they or a family member somehow done any of those awful things--- would come forward, voluntarily and immediately to publicly admit their transgression and atone for it with lots of jail time and/or $$$. Oh, and without benefit of a lawyer, as well.

The combination of smugness, self-congratulation, judgmentalism and hypocrisy is so unattractive.

Anonymous said...

I will have to admit I am saddened to read some of the above comments. Alexandra “Ali” and Patrick “P.J.” have been picked to shreds for the past 8 months by the members of this community that have allegedly ‘shown so much support’ to both families. Granted, many encourage the decisions to do so while others, like myself, see it as none other than a lack of compassion. These siblings have known the Loudon/Payne family for a very large majority of their lives and I am very sure that hearing such hurtful comments just destroys them even more. As the LA Times article stated, these kids are devastated. Not only do they feel responsible for Joe’s death, but the guilt that must be pulsing through their hearts is likely unbearable for these adolescents. They DO understand the graveness of their poor decisions because otherwise they would be parading around Orinda like many of their peers who had also attended that tragic party.
As a member of this community who knew both families fairly well, I can attest to the Gabrielli’s remorse. Not a day goes by that each of them do not take time out of their day to pray to Joe, to pray for his family and to pray for their forgiveness. Their decision to not show up in court, might I add, is extremely out of character for them both. They have each written letters to Marianne Payne and Bill Loudon in an effort to show their forgiveness in any way possible. I feel someone must finally defend these two to the scores of hungry dogs that many of you bloggers have proven yourselves to be. I can assume that their lawyer advised them not to show up in court and I can assume, based on personal relationships with these two, that they had every intention of going. They are lost and scared. Any advice from their lawyer must seem like the one true answer. Situations like this are very sticky because not only has a beloved child from the community died, but now the two in question for his death are caught like deer in the headlights, scrambling for any ounce of advice.
Many of you have your facts wrong as well. They teens were NOT among those who found Joe and were reluctant to call 911. They were, in fact, among those who ENCOURAGED the IMMEDIATE call be placed to 911 when he was finally found in the hallway. There was no hesitation on their part.
The community has been torn apart by this tragedy and to place all blame on the shoulders of two devastated siblings is only worsening the pain, for everyone!

Anonymous said...

I completely support the above comment from feb 18, 3:58.

I too know both families and have seen these kids grow up. I have children the same age, who attended the same schools.

I know for a fact that PJ has not attended a single party or event with alcohol. His sister is away in college and I can't speak for her. I can also say that both kids have been extremely remorseful and respectful and not one person in this community can point to anything they have done that can be seen as bad behavior.

So many facts in this case have either been forgotten or misrepresented. Let's be clear: Ali & PJ immediately began CPR the first moment they discovered Joe. They immediately called out for someone to call 911. There was no hesitation on their part. All the kids have said as much to the police. The parametics that arrived on the scene said the brother & sister never left Joe's side. The PI that Marianne Payne hired to investigate also supports this finding. The article written in the LA Times also indicated that they never hesitated. Had they been the first to discover Joe, help would have come then.

It is also true, that no drugs were found or consumed. Joe did have a very snall amount of alcohol in his system, nothing close to leathal.

The DA has found no evidence against anyone in the death of Joe. No one has been charged and I have to believe the people in charge have all the correct evidence and wouldn't hold back from charging someone if they could.

It is harsh to say these kids hid behind their attorney. Remember they had no leagal counsel and no parent to turn to on the night the police came to their home to question them. They each made a decision to answer all questions, made full statements, and have maintained the truth to this day. Of course none of this is reported - the police were under no obligation to tell the public that Ali & PJ cooperated fully and this family has remained silent dispite all the horrible gossip.

There is no question that a party was given without the parents consent. There is also no question the these two teenagers loved Joe and would never have hurt him or stood for anyone else hurting him.

They didn't show up in court. Again, let's be clear. They are charged with a Misdameaner (completely unrelated to any death)and have the right to enter a plea through an attorney. Maybe Mary Carey told them not to appear and maybe that wasn't good advice, but whatever happened, I am sure they didn't make that choice alone. To suggest that this public court room is the place for them to say they are sorry is ridiculous. They said they were sorry the day after it happened, and many times since then. They have written letters, met with members of the family, met with the parish priest, gone to counseling, and attend a monthly rosery service in Joe's honor. I know PJ has never missed a mass. Ali stood to address parents and students on the night of Joe's candlelight vigil, with Joe's father and step mother watching. I think that if they had waited all this time to address the family in court to say how sorry they are for the loss, then that, in my opinion, would be too late.

Enough. Let these families heal. We must all open our hearts and try to feel what it is like to walk in their shoes. None of this bickering will bring Joe back - it will only serve to prolong the pain. They have had to shoulder a terrific burden and will carry this in their hearts for a long time after all of us have gone away. This is a strong and loving family and they will do the right thing.

AKA Soccer Mom said...

Dear 3:58 and 5:51 p.m.
Thank you very much for taking the time to comment here. You offer a perspective that is missing from my point of view. What you offer is very instructive, and it helps me, in my own insignificant way, to think more about this situation...

There's more I might say... But, I don't know, thanks for taking the time.

delta pi said...

oh i cant wait til this 'good' family goes away for these kids next party,maybe raise the price to $10.00 for better liquor..'good' decent family my foot! good thing they have moolah for a 'good' lawyer. i hope the two think about joe and what they did or didnt do til the day they are laid in their grave..wake up orinda....

Anonymous said...

With all due respect to 3:58, we live in a society of laws and not of men. So, you know all the families involved, so what? You claim that writers like me are “picking them (P. J. and Alex) to shreds” and that we lack compassion. Where is your compassion for Joe’s mother? You claim that P.J. and Alex feel “responsible” and “guilt” for Joe’s death and you “attest” to their “remorse”. Well, that’s fine; and so we should all go home now and forget what happened, since YOU say that they feel badly. So, the rest of society should not learn lessons; and society should turn a blind eye to the persistent party mentality that prevails among the teens of Lamorinda. I think you are mistaking shame (at getting caught) with true remorse. Also, I am most certainly NOT placing all the blame only on these two. There is indeed plenty of blame to go around. I would like to ask 3:58, what should the reasonable legal consequences be for P. J and Alex? They host a party where $5 admission is charged; and surveillance footage from a local liquor store shows P. J. himself purchasing the liquor. Then, tragically, someone dies at their home. So, what should the fair and legal consequence be?

With all due respect to 5:51, this statement of yours really is laughable: “Remember they (P. J. and Alex) had no legal counsel and no parent to turn to on the night the police came to their home to question them”. Well duh, that is because they deliberately put themselves in this position by choosing to host a for-pay drinking party when their parents were out-of-town.
Further, you write: “Enough. Let these families heal. We must all open our hearts and try to feel what it is like to walk in their shoes. None of this bickering will bring Joe back - it will only serve to prolong the pain. They have had to shoulder a terrific burden and will carry this in their hearts for a long time after all of us have gone away. This is a strong and loving family and they will do the right thing.”
Well, I couldn’t disagree more. Just because you say “Enough”, doesn’t mean that the legal proceedings shouldn’t move forward. I would like to see YOU open your heart to Joe’s Mom. Not getting her day in court “will only serve to prolong her pain”. Why shouldn’t P. J. ad Alex “carry this (Joe’s death) in their hearts for a long time”? That is the nature and logical consequence of tragedies. I just wish the other party-goers would share in this regret. IF this was a strong and loving family and they truly wanted to do the correct thing, I think that the two would have pled guilty to this misdemeanor. I think that this was the entire point that Soccer Mom was trying to make.

Anonymous said...

....they didn't plead not guilty. Get your facts straight!!

And "he himself" did not purchase the alcohol.

Anonymous said...

To 3:58 and 5:51pm,

You have to be kidding me. Have you talked to Orinda’s Police Chief, Bill French or the DA representing the case? Have you had a chance to read the incident report from the night of May 23rd? If not, it might be a good idea before you continue to defend these individuals whom you say are grieving and whose life has been shattered. PJ, Ali, and the others involved most definitely have not cooperated in providing any additional statements since the night of May 23rd unless you include Joe’s phone, which was found in a settee in the Gabrielli home by their mother a few months ago. Of course she had to charge it first before turning it in because she wanted to find out whom it belonged to. Again, are you kidding me? These individuals have chosen instead to hide behind their church, their parents and their attorneys. If you want to talk about grief, let’s talk about a mother who has lost her child. I can assure you, there is no greater grief than that of losing a child and even worse, not knowing what happened to them. Even more heartbreaking is knowing there are those who know the truth and refuse to tell. Those partaking in this silence are cowards who have no moral or ethical boundaries. I only hope they will eventually understand the magnitude of their actions that directly contributed to the loss of Joe. As for PJ, Ali and the other individuals being a friend of Joe’s, a true and real friend would be cooperating- telling what they know, demanding answers, demanding the truth and demanding justice.
For those who mentioned Mary Carey, she absolutely needs to step down from any public appearance relating to alcohol and healthy choices. Based on her representation of PJ and Ali, an appearance based on “how to underage drink and get away with it, ” might be more appropriate. After all, the letters, mass attendance, and the so-called meetings with the family seem to be part of her recipe.

Anonymous said...

12:17...Agreed. People really shouldn't be commenting on anything unless they have read the actual police report. Until you know and see with your own eyes, which clearly many who are commenting have not (and I have), the facts straight from the pages of the report, one shouldn't comment. That report, along with the list of kids (yes, they're listed) who were drunk out of their minds at that party goes to prove that crimes were committed by many but again should you as an underaged person choose to host or buy or provide illegal substances and something goes wrong which it clearly did there are consequences, regardless of how remorseful one might feel. That's the gamble and the risk.

Anonymous said...

Mary Carey needs to absolutely step down from any public appearance relating to alcohol, law and healthy choices. I would like to ask the parents who asked her to speak at these events, "what are you thinking?" Is it because of personal relationship with this attorney? How effective do you think she is at promoting making healthy choices? Based on her representation of PJ and Ali, the message to the teen culture in Lamorinda is "if you drink, do drugs, break the law get a good attorney and get away with it". Talk to your kids after they've attended these informational rallies where lawyers/chief of police speak about the law and consequences, the kids that have broken the law and gotten away with it by having attorneys that bail them out of trouble are bragging that what the speakers are saying about consequence is "NOT TRUE". Is time to change the way we teach Healthy Choices and the Law in Lamorinda, education without character is not the answer.

Anonymous said...

To 10:02 click on this url

http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_14367642?source=rss&nclick_check=1


Hosts of Orinda party where teen died plead not guilty
By Jonathan Morales
Contra Costa Times
Posted: 02/09/2010 03:51:01 PM PST
Updated: 02/10/2010 06:44:21 AM PST

WALNUT CREEK — A lawyer for the two hosts of a party in Orinda where a teenager died in May entered not-guilty pleas on their behalf Monday in Contra Costa Superior Court in Walnut Creek.
Patrick and Alexandria Gabrielli did not appear in court Monday, and a judge ordered them to appear at their next hearing, set for Feb. 23. Both posted $5,000 bail.

Anonymous said...

Again to 10:02; I refer you to the blog "East Bay Daze". On September 25, 2009, at 12:23pm Joe's uncle, Tom Payne, commented that video exists of P. J. being present at the store and buying the liquor. Mr. Payne wrote:

>Someone who illegally purchased and sold liquor at a party attended by juveniles. (sorry to the poster who mentioned that the host "just bought the ice." Smile your Captain (Gabrielli) was on video at the store.

Tom Payne
SEPTEMBER 25, 2009 12:23 PM

Anonymous said...

You guys are scary! What about the constitution. The right to an attorney? How does anyone KNOW what the attorney advised.Why would anyone question having this attorney speak on a panel.She wasn't at the party! Why blame the lawyer for doing her job? These kids are charged with having a party! The unfortunate death of Joe, wasn't BECAUSE of the party. His Mother will never have her questions answered.Sorry. She will never have someone to blame.All the kids feel badly who attended the party.Should all of them show up in court to say they are sorry that Joe died. If my children had hosted the party I wouldn't want them to be subject to the misdirected anger and grief of Joe's heart broken mom. The morals of these children and the tragic loss of their friend is a private family matter. You or I don't get a vote.They are facing the consequences of hosting a party, and that is all they are culpable of.Joe's death was tragic.Stop looking for scape goats, not the lawyer and not the kids!

Anonymous said...

Blunt, but to the point.Couldn't agree with you more.These kids are not charged with the death, nor should they be.They don't need to address or be addressed by the heartsick mother.She will find no answers there.She will never find an answer to why her son died.I grieve for her,as do we all.The party host's are not responsible for the death of her son, and have no reason to further express their grief over the loss of their friend.

Anonymous said...

Why do people keep saying that the community will never know the answers. Some people are very hopeful of this and want to make this all go away. The kids are talking. There were 80 kids there and some have a conscience. They are talking.

Anonymous said...

Wow! How can we expect our kids in this community to do the right thing when it's clear based on comments above the parents lack a moral compass!

Anonymous said...

To 8:22 PM and 8:39 PM

I hope you never experience the loss of a child under these circumstances, I am shocked and offended by your comments. Where is your compassion for the grieving mother?

Anonymous said...

To 8:22 PM and 8:39 PM
Really pathetic. Attack the poor child's mom to keep the attention off your kids. Shame on you. Your attorney's advice may be tactically effective but morally wrong and a disgrace.

Anonymous said...

Many here are taking a destructive attitude, I encourage everyone to read this article and book:

http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/04/10/060410crbo_books?currentPage=all

"In “Why?” the Columbia University scholar Charles Tilly sets out to make sense of our reason for giving reasons. Tilly seeks to decode the structure of everyday social interaction, and restorative-justice programs have shown encouraging results in reducing recidivism rates among offenders and psychological trauma among victims."

Anonymous said...

They will never know what Joe died of, but they know what it wasn't. It wasn't alcohol related.There are two separate issues here.

Anonymous said...

10:54 No one is moral who does not agree with you? Interesting

Anonymous said...

The healing of victims is never of interest to many people. AKA Soccer Mom can you please start the movement on Restorative Justice? The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we all apply social values more noble than mere blame and justice policy.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to say my daughter was present, and there is no more to tell. There was never anything to tell.Everyone supports and pities the mother.The kids are not "holding out". We still talk, I hear them talk,they are good kids who went to a high school party where a tragedy took place.Some drank, some didn't, but there is not a conspiracy.

Anonymous said...

11:23 PM what are you talking about? Morality? I was talking about compassion, compassion for a grieving mother.

Anonymous said...

Healthy sixteen year old's don't just die. Something is rotten in Orinda. And the answer to your question Soccer Mom is NO.

AKA Soccer Mom said...

Hello everyone,

I have been thinking a lot about why this case, involving people I don't know, hit a nerve. In any case, it did. I wrote some things that maybe needed to be said, maybe not. I know I became angry and judgmental. After reading some of the comments back and forth, I realize that wasn't helpful for me to be this way... Believe it or not, I understand and, yes, even symapathize with the position of the defendants, their parents, and their attorney much more than I understand the agony of a grieving mother. That's a long story I could and should tell, but now's not the time.

It's clear that people still have strong feelings about what happened that night last May, whether they express them in a public forum, like a courtroom, or not. Some of you are expressing them on this blog. I don't know if it's good or not for me to let people vent one way or another and to do so anonymously. Someone said I should let it happen.

Thanks to the reader who provided the link to the restorative justice article in the New Yorker. I am familiar with this concept and think it can, in select cases, provide a way that everyone touched by a tragedy like this one can start to heal--victim's, their families, the defendants, and their families. It means that the adversarial walls put up in a typical criminal case need to come down--a little or a lot.

One of the reasons this case hit a nerve is that I did think that this concept of restorative justice could have been applied to this case. As much as I believe--and said so--that the Gabrielli siblings have a right to a strong defense, I've also wondered if their attorney--yes, doing her job--was getting in the way, and keeping the walls up, of what really would be helpful. Then again, the prosecutor would need to "get out of the way," too. I was wondering if there is a way the representatives of these two sides could work together.

Of course, are there sides to this?

Speaking of this article, another reader suggested that the kids who were at the party have "been talking" and they and their families have been grieving for Joe and his family.

You know, I think these kids would be much more powerful speakers on a panel about changing the culture about teen drinking than a bunch of adults. They could talk about THIS party, and how the tragedy that occurred impacted their lives. Maybe that's something that some of these kids will consider doing sometime.

Anonymous said...

After reading these comments, I am disgusted at those who lack the compassion for a mother who lost her son under such tragic reasons. For the mom whose daughter was there, I can assure you there is much that has not been said. There were a handful of individuals who watched Joe drop in the hallway, gave him CPR, decided not to call 911 the FIRST time, assisted in getting him to a bedroom in the Gabrielli home and then left him. They found him blue and unresponsive and yes, that it is a fact. It is also a fact there are many unanswered questions in regards to this case. Read the comment on 2/19 @ 12:17pm. I don't feel any one of us would be acting any differently than Joe's mom had we found ourselves in this same position. His death could have most definitely been prevented had those in attendance made the decision to call 911 the first time Joe needed help. The hosts and others involved should tell what they know and take responsibility, as should their parents instead of hiding behind their attorneys and an excuse of grief. Sorry, that is not enough when their actions were a direct contributor to the loss of young man with so much promise.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
AKA Soccer Mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
AKA Soccer Mom said...

Hello everyone,
Again, I've decided that a lot has been said about this situation, for good and for bad. I'm sorry everyone is hurting so much...
But I want to close down comments, OK? Really, if anyone has any concerns they want to share with me, please e-mail me at crazyinsuburbia@gmail.com.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

SC,
Is this thread closed or not? I'm confused because you keep saying "no more comments"...

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
AKA Soccer Mom said...

7:11 p.m.
It's closed.
I've said a lot; others on different sides of this issues have said a lot.
Wow, I don't live right in the community, but there are a lot of very hurt, angry, bitter, vengeful feelings emerging--from me at times--but also from other people.
Again, if you want to contact me directly--feel free. At crazyinsuburbia@gmail.com.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
och ernestine said...

Garcinia Cambogia Select Reviews - Garcinia Cambogia - Garcinia Cambogia Reviews - Garcinia Cambogia Extracts - Garcinia Cambogia Dr Oz - Garcinia Cambogia Weight Loss - Garcinia Cambogia Extracts Reviews - Dr Oz Garcinia Cambogia - Garcinia Cambogia select - Garcinia Cambogia Fruits - Garcinia Cambogia Extracts Weight Loss - Buy Garcinia Cambogia Extracts - Where to Buy Garcinia Cambogia - Garcinia Cambogia Extract - Dr. OZ Garcinia Cambogia Weight Loss - Weight Loss Garcinia Cambogia