Letter from the Segals
June 21, 2004
Dear Friends and Family,
Here we are, just past Father's Day, a day that usually brings Yo Yo and me a mixed brew of bitter and sweet. I usually pass this hangdog mode on to you; and all of you, kind and gentle, always, infallibly, do your best to cheer me up. You are truly loveable. So we strike our respective roles: me the sad (still) grieving father; you, the ever-sympathetic, endlessly patient loyal friend.
It's high time I tried to change that, moving from my Hangdog (sometimes I feel more like Hound dog) role to becoming Lassie instead, the cheerful collie who -- just look at him -- always seems to be smiling. So from this Father's Day, I will be performing in the role of Lassie, smiling as I fetch you 3 bits of very good news. Enjoy them with me. Start counting:
1. There was a second trial of Anton's murderer. (Alas had the criminal experience and cunning to know how to work the system, milked California funding, got granted an appeal from his first trial, then actually won the appeal. Dubious ethics, questionable law and pissy politics all played their parts, but, grrrrr, don't get Lassie started.) Then, and here's the very good news, for the second time, a second jury again unanimously found Alas guilty of murder and for the second time the judge (a different one) once more threw the book at him: that means 36 years to life, so that the earliest he can come up for possible parole would be in 36 years, although he does get credit for the almost 6 years he's already served. Yo Yo and I will be dead; alas, so will some of you. But, knock wood, many of you won't, and I invite you now to mark your calendars for around the year 2035 in order to appear, wrinkles, warts, walkers and all, to dissuade the parole board at that time from then granting Alas parole. The man is violent, and age will only slow down, not stop, his trigger finger. There is a nice article about the end of the trial and Anton's last act of gentle goodness here.
2. The Anton Segal Memorial Traveling Fellowship Award (better known now as "the Anton") is alive and kickin.' Many of you have already given generously, so breathe easy! We are not trying to hit you up again! Harvard itself seems to have the lock on repetitive fund raising. But I know some of you have long wanted to give, have been unable for any number of reasons, and have been waiting for a better economic opportunity. I hope it is here and now. Yo Yo and I ourselves are now able to match the next $50,000 of your funds, with $50,000 more of our own. It is all tax deductible of course, but to make it a little more attractive to you, we are pleased to match your own tax deductible contribution with our own matching gift, paid directly to you (instead of to Harvard). You then can if you wish (we hope you will) send our matching dollars on to Harvard as well, thereby doubling your own gift…and doubling your own write-off. We gladly forego the deduction for ourselves. We truly know the opportunity to double up the write off - and double up your contribution -- is not the reason you will want to give to Anton's fellowship. We know this is about love and about the worthiness of the fellowship itself. But we wanted to do something that would offer fresh encouragement to those of you who have been wanting to give…but waiting for the right moment. We hope this is that moment. If you do give, please make the check payable to:
If you then send us a copy of the check, or Harvard's subsequent acknowledgement, we will then in turn send directly to you our own check, made payable to you, for an equal amount. We hope you will then deposit it, and (hopefully) send another check in your name to Harvard for the same amount again, thereby doubling up your donation to the Fellowship and getting the second contribution write-off. Sorry if this is confusing; we're just trying hard to raise some money for what we know is a good and special cause. For more details, call us at 281-496-2928. Or call us anyway, just to say hi!
3. The next great thing about "the Anton" is that it is now actually operational, even with the limited funds presently available. It's a 2-month summer fellowship, and this year we were able to award the very first "Anton," selected by a stern and demanding committee (Steve Yi, Chris Bell, Chris Niewoehner, Paul Henrys, Stu Finkel and me) that vetted the candidates as carefully as if they were up for a Rhodes. And the inaugural winner is (envelope, please)….. Doris Huang. I am attaching (with her permission) her application and some correspondence, so that you may enjoy, as we did, the quality and charm of this winner. Doris wonderfully meets the criteria for the fellowship, and she represents some of Anton's best instincts and qualities. She's smarter, but we didn't hold that against her!
This letter and update is long, but I wanted to let all of you know the good news with respect to the trial, the sentencing, and the fellowship. At the sentencing Judge Moscone said something like this: I read every letter sent me, both from this trial, and all those sent to the Judge from the first trial. I also read the Little Prince Memorial booklet, and I read Anton's website as well. I have never seen so many letters, nor such an outpouring of love in all my years on the bench. It is clear to me that Anton still exists, still lives even now, in the impact that he has made on so many people, and in the hearts, memories, and minds of all those who so love(d) him.
It is with love in our own hearts, for Anton and for all of you, that we pass all this news on. Much love to all of you, Yo Yo and Jim.