The Trial of Dan White: Trial Testimony of Dr. Martin Blinder (defense psychiatrist)
Source: The Trial of Dan White by Kenneth W. Salter (1991)


Q Have you done any research or research projects in your field?
A Yes, I have.
Q Will you tell us briefly what those are?
A I have done work in the diagnoses of the hysterical personali­ty, with the detoxification of alcoholics, the diagnoses and treatment of depressive disorders, and perhaps the most important bit of research
that I have done was to help develop what is now the treatment of choice for the manic-depressive syndrome, which is Lithium car­bonate, and at the time I began I was working on virtually an unknown experiment which has now become the best possible treatment for this disorder. . . .
Q Can you recite for us what you have published?
A Well, my writings have been more or less scholarly articles for such medical journals or psychiatric journals as the Archives of General Psychiatry, International Journal of Psychiatry, Journal of Psychiatry, American Journal of Psychotherapy.
I published my own journal, Family Therapy, to be printed in chapters of a number of psychiatric books, several tapes, seminars from McGraw-Hill.
I have written extensively legal publications, among them the Catholic University of Law Review Adjudicator, the Journal of Califor­nia State Bar Journal, American Bar Association.
That is not an exhaustive list, but representative, I would say, of about four dozen scientific articles, and I also have a book of my own, Psychiatry in the Everyday Practice of Law, now in its fifth an­nual supplement....
Q How many court-appointment type cases have you undertaken?

A Hundreds. . . .
Q Are you usually called to testify for the prosecution or for the defense, or either?
A I would say, by now, it's pretty even. . . .
Q What do you teach at Hastings?
A I teach forensic psychiatry, I teach about the uses and abuses of psychiatry in the judicial system. . . .
Q What do you see as the uses of psychiatry in the criminal field       or courtroom?
A I think psychiatry is most useful in criminal courts in shed­ding some light on the motivations and stresses operant in certain kinds of criminal offenses, and may have some value in psychiatric principles, in helping to provide balanced juries, primarily, I think, to have some understanding as to how crimes come about, what drives the criminal mind.
Q You mentioned that there are uses and abuses of psychiatry; what would be the abusive form of psychiatry, in your opinion?
A Well, I think the Courts, at least some aspects of the courts, tend to place psychiatry in a position where it doesn't belong, where it becomes simply the sole arbiter between guilt and innocence, in certain kinds of crimes, whether or not a man is insane.
I think psychiatry has a lot to contribute to these judgments, but that these judgments are more than psychiatric judgments, and I do not think they should be equated.
I think it's also a tendency in stresses of the adversary system to polarize psychiatric testimony so that a psychiatrist finds himself trying to put labels on normal, stressful behavior, and everything becomes a mental illness, and I think that is an abuse.
And I think there is the problem in trying to directly equate psychiatric findings, psychiatric concepts with legal concepts, such as insanity or diminished capacity, and they are not equivalent.
I think psychiatry contributes something to an understanding of these, but it's misuse of psychiatry to try to equate them one on one....
Q Would you tell the jury, please, the psychiatric history that you obtained from-that you felt was relevant to your conclusion? . . .
A In '76, he married a school teacher, and was somewhat ambiv­alent, not about this woman, who is the best possible wife, but about assuming marital responsibilities, but again, there was family pressure, that this was expected of him, and whether he wanted to be a free agent or not, he was going to get married and do the proper thing.
A year later she became pregnant, and their son was born in July '77.
He named his son after his father, and was stunned to receive criticism-criticism from all family members for the presump­tuousness of naming his son after their dad-criticism from all ex­cept Nancy, and as he puts it to me, "I couldn't believe it, but then again it was just like them."          
He was never political, but in the summer of '77, Mr. White became increasingly aware of the difficulty in providing protection to citizens in the streets, and he felt that, granted, the police are do­ing a pretty good job of catching criminals after they hurt somebody, but what good does that do to the victim concerned, and there were some other issues, and he decided that he would get himself into Ci­ty Hall, where he could do something about these problems.
He realized now that the system of electing Supervisors had changed, and that a mere five thousand votes put him into City Hall to do some good, and so though he had no political base, he decided to run for Supervisor, and due to his characteristics, didn't consult anybody, but announced to his wife that he had made a decision that he was going to run, and in his characteristic fashion, put everything he had into it, spent all the savings, went heavily into debt, relied heavily on personal contacts to make up for the lack of substantial funds, lack of political base.
He contacted on foot seven thousand homes, five thousand businesses, day-in and day-out, knocking on doors, and at the end of the campaign, confounded experts with a two-to-one victory margin.
Paradoxically, this victory served as a catalyst for the tragic events that occurred on November 27th, 1978.
Q Doctor, at this juncture, having reviewed the background material that you have thus far, did it become evident to you that there was an underlying mental illness of some sort in play here?
A I'm not so sure, Mr. Schmidt, that I would elevate it to the threshold of illness, but certainly there were a number of problems of an emotional sort pressing on Mr. White that were of great rele­vance here.
Q Explain for me what you feel you gleaned from the informa­tion that you reviewed, that would be relevant here to your conclu­sions that we will ultimately listen to here?
A All right, in a sense, Mr. White has been in conflict all his life. On the one hand, he wanted to be something of a free spirit and follow his feelings, but at the same time, was exquisitely sensitive to family and the middle-class pressures, obligations, that he prove that he can do the right thing, the social, acceptable thing, and do them well, and be a policeman, fireman, be a husband, be a father, and retrospectively, he might have been happier if he had just gone along and traveled around, took a part-time job here, part-time job there, but there was a conflict, to be a responsible citizen on the one hand and be free on the other.
The second feature of Mr. White's personality that I think ulti­mately will prove important is his lack of close friendship of a con­fidante or pal.
He had a lot of friends of sorts. Mr. White was always very plea­sant, congenial, but never let friendships beyond a certain point, and you could never get close to him, never close enough where he would confide in you, that kind of thing, as to something that might be bother­ing him, and always kept his own counsel, as he put it to me:
"All my life I have been able to handle any problems by myself. If the going got tough, I just dig in harder,” although he added, rather grimly, "I guess this time it didn't work. The harder I dug in, the deeper I got. I had been in stress before as a policeman and soldier, but never broke, but I guess this time things got too much for me."
Q In other words, the factor in there, the overall question of Mr. White's personality, mental status, is the fact that he has depression perhaps as many as a half a dozen per year?
A Is the fact that he's had depression, perhaps as many as half a dozen per year, each lasting four to five days often without any apparent trigger.
During these spells he'd become quite withdrawn, quite lethargic, He would retreat to his room. Wouldn't come to the door. Wouldn't answer the phone. Would call in sick. Wouldn't even sleep with his wife; would sleep on the couch outside.
And during these periods he found that he could not cope with people. He would avoid them because he'd find that when he was depressed, any confrontations would cause him to kind of become argumentative. He left people. He didn't know what he was thinking, which was out of character for him. Ordinarily, he was always polite.
There are two other features of these spells of particular interest. These depressive spells.
One, though he has had suicidal thoughts during these periods of despondency, he has never felt remotely homicidal, though he felt resentful and quarrelsome.
Second, whenever he felt things were not going right, he would abandon his usual program of exercise and good nutrition and start gorging himself on junk foods: Twinkies, Coca Cola. [Note: this reference to Twinkies inspires the description "Twinkie defense."]
Mr. White has always been something of an athlete priding himself of being physically fit. But when something would go wrong, he'd hit the high sugar stuff. He'd hit the chocolate, and the more he con­sumed, the worse he'd feel, and he'd respond to his ever going depres­sion by consuming ever more junk food. The more junk food he con­sumed, the worse he'd feel. The worse he'd feel, the more he'd gorge himself, and so on, in a vicious circle.
Finally, after several days, he'd pull himself together, maybe start jogging a bit, feel better, stop eating this food, feel better yet, and then get back to his old diet and his old personality, which is generally
pretty congenial.
Characteristic of Mr. White, he has never sought out treatment for these episodes.
Q Doctor, with that background, can you tell us some of the psychiatric history you took with regard to the events, the tragedies of November 27th, 1978?
A The fall of 1978 saw the culmination of several intense pressures being brought to bear upon Mr. White and which I feel played a significant role in the genesis of his lethal acts.
First, as you know, in the summer of '77 he decided to run for public office, primarily, but not entirely, on the issue of his concern about street crime. The vulnerability of the patrolman in the streets and so on. He saw 150 homes a day, day in and day out, seven days a week. He won by a substantial margin. And then he had the joy of his victory taken from him when he was told that he had to give up his job as a fireman because of a potential conflict of interest.
This got him twice. First, other Supervisors had businesses that dealt with the City that the Board of Supervisors have to deal with, and they were required merely to abstain on the votes. Yet, he had to give up his job.
And, second, that was his principal source of income. I think a Supervisor gets about $10,000 a year. And so he had to take a tremendous cut in salary at the time when he was heavily in debt because of his campaign. This hardship was little helped by reports from the press that he really had a fat kitty, that he received all kinds of unreported corporate donations.
Adding to these financial pressures was the necessity of having to find another business. Mr. White decided to open a fast food shop. He had to go heavily into debt, take out a second mortgage on his house, borrow $20,000 to finance the opening of his fast food place.
Another source of continuing pressure on Mr. White, and this is somewhat subtle, is the fact he got married, and he had ambivalence about getting married. He was always extremely cautious when approaching apparently congenial members of the opposite sex. He never could get over his first big romance when he was 16 years of age. He has always been very query of situations where strong feelings
are likely to emerge. And, of course, that included marital relation­ships. Always kept his feelings in check.
And though he feels he has an excellent marriage, even his wife has never been a confident. Even his wife has never really shared in his feelings. When he was really feeling crummy, he would just leave his wife alone and sleep on the couch. Still, he always met his obligations. He felt he had a duty to his wife, he had a duty to his son, and there was that conflict between duty and his wish to be free and just kind of go about following his feelings.
His most profound and proximate stress, though, was attended to his position as San Francisco Supervisor. Mr. White found City Hall rife of corruption. With the possible exception of Dianne Feinstein
and Harvey Milk, the Supervisors seemed to make their judgments, their votes, on the basis of what was good for them, rather than what was good for the City.
He would put in hours wrestling with an issue, working to discern its merits, and then when he would find out the merits of an issue and vote accordingly, he found his colleagues didn't give a damn about his merits, but simply how useful their vote would be.
Supervisor Molinari voted against a ball field tax exemption because he didn't get the right tickets.
Q Doctor, we decided not to mention any names with regard to specific Supervisors and that sort of thing.
MR. NORMAN: I thought it was very interesting.
Q [By Mr. Schmidt] Would you tell us, given the background that you have had, not so much dealing with psychiatric conclusions with regard to the various legal and forensic mental states but, basical­ly, all of these stress factors and any others that you are about to point out, how that fits in with the mental status and examination that you conducted?
A All right, as I say, these are the kinds of stresses that were impinging on Mr. White at the time of the homicide. He turned be­tween wanting to do a good job at City Hall, and yet, feeling that unless he played the game, that all the other Supervisors, who shall remain nameless, played that he's bound to be on the losing end of the votes. And this was a very frustrating thing for him to want to do a job for his constituents and find he was continually defeated. So, finally, he decided that since he couldn't play the game their way, his best bet was simply to quit. So he decided to resign. This deci­sion to resign was aided and abetted by the fact he was being stretched very thin. He was putting in 50 hours a week as Supervisor, 20 hours a week working at his fast food business. . . .
A His wife would be down at the shop and he'd be watching the kid. And his wife would come back home and he'd have to go down to the shop. So they would sort of meet in passing.
He was being portrayed in the press as anti-black and anti-gay, accusations which he gave me lots of data, and would suggest they were simply unfounded.
In addition to attacks by the press there was the threat of literal attacks on the Supervisors by people holding grudges, and he told me a number of Supervisors like himself carried a gun to scheduled meetings. Never any relief from these tensions.
He had no time to play softball. He had no time to jog. Even if he had the time, as he put it to me, "I didn't have the energy."
Lack of activity and all this junk food caused him to gain 20 pounds while he served on the Board.
It was on November 10th, 17 days before the homicides, that he resigned. He didn't tell the Mayor his principal reason, that it was a futile, frustrating experience serving on the Board because of what he perceived to be corruption of his colleagues. He simply addressed himself to the financial aspects, the hardship to his income of holding office. It was not his way to bad mouth people.
When he resigned he immediately felt a sense of relief. A tremendous burden had been lifted from his shoulders, but almost immediate­ly thereafter felt very guilty and depressed that he had let all of his supporters down. He had let down all those people who had worked so hard to put him into office. That he let down the many people who voted for him.
So gradually, these individuals worked him over a little bit and persuaded him to stay on.
On November 14th he saw the Mayor again. Told him he had changed his mind, that he wanted his letter back, and the Mayor said he would. That he would reappoint him. That he gave the Mayor a fair shake, and the Mayor would give him one.
Nancy Bickel, Mr. White's sister, reported that Mr. White was high after this meeting and was very optimistic that he'd once again get his seat back. It didn't turn out that way, though. Apparently the
Mayor changed his mind, and through his press agent told the press, "The only one who supports Dan White for reappointment is Dan White."
This was very upsetting to Mr. White. He turned to junk food again for solace. And Nancy Bickel reports that he had her bring him two packages of chocolate cupcakes, eight candy bars and a six-pack of coke. As he began to eat this food he would sit around apathetic and not at all interested in talking with Nancy about the family, which was out of character for Mr. White.
Soon, Mr. White was just sitting in front of the TV. Ordinarily he reads. But now, getting very depressed about the fact he would not be reappointed, he just sat there before the TV, binging on Twinkies. He couldn't sleep. He was tossing and turning on the couch in the living room so he wouldn't disturb his wife on the bed. Vir­tually no sexual contact at this time. He was dazed, confused, had crying spells, became increasingly ill, and wanted to be left alone.
Mrs. White reports to me that at this time the sexual contact which had been as often as three times a week came to a complete halt. Her husband couldn't sleep. Had no energy. Just wanted to be left alone. Told her, "Don't bother cooking any food for me. I will just munch on these potato chips.”
Mr. White tells me he stopped shaving and refused to go out of the house to help aides to rally support to fight the Mayor's apparent perception that there was really no support for his reappointment.
Q Doctor, given these stress factors that you have outlined generally, that have come from family members and from Mr. Dan White dealing not so much with the mental states, or legal issues, can you give us some insight as to the results of your mental status examination? What you would conclude from this data?
A Well, it's important to understand, Mr. Schmidt, that the condi­tion of Mr. White at the time that I saw him in the jail is quite differ­ent from the critical mental state which was as the days approached the fatal Monday Mr. White was caught in the tremendous bind.
On the one hand he couldn't muster the energy to deal effective­ly with the fact of his resignation and getting reappointed. On the other hand, he felt increasing obligations to make one last stand to somehow reach the Mayor, to get to the Mayor, to have it out with him in a verbal way to find out if he wouldn't indeed be reappointed and if not, why not.
He started to receive information that he was-he would not be reappointed from such unlikely sources as the news commentator who called him and said, "Have you any comment to make of the fact that the Mayor is not going to reappoint you?”
This phone call was very stressing to him. He couldn't sleep. Again, it got to be cupcakes, candy bars. He watched the sun come up Monday morning. He couldn't follow any decisions as to what he should do about this.
Finally, at 9:00 o'clock his aide, Denise, called and tried to stimulate his involvement in his own reappointment. He told her, "No." He thought about it again. He said, "Okay. I'll make one last try. I will go and see the Mayor. I have tried to reach him on the phone, but I've never really spoken to him face-to-face. Let me do that."
He decides to go down to City Hall. He shaves and puts on his suit. He sees his gun lying on the table. Ammunition. He simultaneous­ly puts these in his pocket. He goes down to City Hall. Denise picks him up. She is trying to cheer him up. He's sort of half listening. He's feeling anxious about a variety of things, not knowing what the Mayor is going to do. He is worrying about the repercussion of Jonestown, the rumor of a hit squad down City Hall.
Denise reports to me that during this trip down to City Hall he's sitting in the car hyperventilating, breathing very fast, blowing on his hands, struggling to hold back, agitated, and kept repeating to her, "I just want to talk. Have him tell me to my face why he won't reappoint me. Did he think I can't take it. I am a man. I can take it."
He goes down to City Hall. And I sense that time is short, so let me bridge this by saying that as I believe it has been testified to, he circumvents the metal detector, goes to the side window, waits in the Mayor's room for several minutes, gets an appointment with the Mayor.
The Mayor almost directly tells him, "I am not going to reap­point you." And Mr. White responds to this by feeling stunned. Revolv­ing around in his head is the thought, "I'm not going to get the job back. People had counted on me. What am I going to do?" He tried to get the Mayor to share with him the basis for his not reappointing him.
He argued with the Mayor. "I'm honest, I work hard, I'm not aligned with any special interest groups, why would you not reappoint me?"
But the Mayor just repeated his previous statement, "I am not going to reappoint you, Dan." Several times more Mr. White asked the Mayor for his reasons and each time received none.
Finally, he fell silent. He was deflated, limp, lethargic. He kind of sat in his chair and let reality sink in. He tells me that, "I felt my face get kind of flushed. My head was pounding, my face was hot."
The Mayor put his arm around him and led him into a small adja­cent room, saying, "Let's have a drink." He and Dan sat on a small couch while he poured them both an alcoholic beverage. He then asked, "What are you going to do now, Dan? Can you get back into the Fire Department?"
Mr. White was not inclined to engage at this point in any kind of personal discussion with the Mayor. He got up from the couch prepared to leave, feeling increasingly anxious, and he started to pace, and the Mayor asked him, "What about your family? Can your wife get her job back? What's going to happen to them now?"
Somehow this inquiry directed to his family struck a nerve. Mr. White felt totally helpless, directionless. The Mayor's voice started to fade out and Mr. White felt, "As if I were in a dream." Mr. White started to go out of the room, and then inexplicably turned around and like a reflex drew his revolver.
The Mayor started to rise out of his chair. Mr. White started shooting without a word. He had no idea how many shots he fired. The similar event occurred a few moments later in Supervisor Milk's office. He asked to speak with him. Mr. Milk came into Mr. White's office. Mr. White asked Mr. Milk, "Why is it you are trying to cheat me out of my job?" At that point, it seemed to Mr. White that Mr. Milk was smirking at him indifferently.
As Mr. Milk appeared to move toward the door, again reflexive­ly, Mr. White pulled his revolver and shot Mr. Milk. He tells me that he was aware that he engaged in a lethal act, but tells me he gave no thought to his wrongfulness. As he put it to me, "I had no chance to even think about it."
He remembers being shocked by the sound of the gun going off the second time like a cannon. He remembers running out of the building, driving, I think, to church, making arrangements by phone to meet his wife, and then going from the church to the Police Department.
Q Doctor, you have mentioned this ingestion of sugar and sweets and that sort of thing. There are certain theories with regard to sugar and sweets and the ingestion thereof, and I'd like to just touch on that briefly with the Jury.
Does that have any significance, or could it possibly have any significance?
A Well, I think, Mr. Schmidt, there are probably three factors that are significant.
First, there is a substantial body of evidence that in susceptible individuals large quantities of what we call junk food, high sugar content food with lots of preservatives, can precipitate anti-social and even violent behavior.
There have been some studies, for example, where they have taken so-called career criminals and taken them off all their junk food and put them on milk and meat and potatoes, and their criminal records immediately evaporate.
There have been a lot of studies in which individuals who are susceptible to these noxious stimuli, when given these noxious stimuli will undergo complete change and engage in behavior which they nor­mally would not. That's No.1.
No.2, I think that all the pressures impinging on Mr. White for months, increasing in intensity in the days prior to the shooting, made it very difficult for him to think very much about what he was about. I think he was operating largely in an unthinking emotional way. Physically exhausted. Feeling tremendous pressure to begin to do the right thing and, yet rapidly running out of the energy and the emo­tional needs available to do it.
I think he began to focus irrationally on being reappointed as the savior. That's the solution. If only I am reappointed, then all these pressures will be off of me. And I think, realistically, were he reap­pointed, he'd be right back where he was before.
But at least at the time that the Mayor and Supervisor Milk had been shot, he had come to see reappointment as his last salvation, and I think when the Mayor said, "No, you are not going to be reappointed,” pulled the rug out from under him.
The third factor I think is that by the day of the shooting all of these pressures on him seemed to reside within, or be personified by Mayor Moscone and then Supervisor Milk. They seemed to repre­sent in the flesh all the things that were impinging upon.
And I would suspect, that if it were not for that, and if it were not for all the tremendous pressures on him the weeks prior to the shooting, and perhaps if it were not for the ingestion of this aggravating factor, this junk food, with all three factors, did not impinge upon him at the same time, I would suspect that these homicides would not have taken place.
Q Now, Doctor, we haven't touched upon forensic terms and premeditation and deliberation, and those terms, and the thrust of your testimony is more toward the pressures and the stress that were on Mr. White at the time.
But just given that alone, do you feel that on November 27th, 1978 he had the capacity for premeditation and deliberation as you know it?
A I can't give you a definite yes or no to that question, Mr. Schmidt.
I feel that all of these pressures sufficiently discombobulated him that he didn't have his wits about him. And I think that these factors would play a substantial part in impairing his ability to premeditate.
Whether or not it would totally wipe it out, whether it would totally negate his ability to premeditate so he wouldn't have any capaci­ty to do so, that judgment I think must depend not only on the psy­chiatric data I have presented which, I think, is very important, but on other kinds of testimony to which I am not likely to be party to.
Q Addressing the same question with regard to the concept of malice or malice aforethought. We haven't addressed that here, and that is not the thrust of your testimony. But can you give an opinion on that, whether or not he had the capacity to harbor malice or malice aforethought in that state of mind?
A Based on the information that I have, Mr. Schmidt, his capacity to harbor malice would be significantly affected by these three power­ful pressures upon him.
But it's not for me to say how much weight you want to give that relative to other information that I am sure the Jury will have.
Q I understand. Lastly, Doctor, you have indicated in outlining the material that you went through briefly here, that there were cer­tain provocative episodes with regard to the reappointment. Within your expertise, was that type of provocation the type of provocation that would arouse some passion in a person, not necessarily arouse some passion in the ordinary reasonable person, so that he would kill, but simply arouse that passion?
A Yes. I think that any man, even one not carrying all the special burdens that Mr. White carried, I think that any man, even one for whom reappointment did not hold that very special significance that it held for Mr. White, would be aroused to tremendous emotions and tremendous passion, emotion and passion which might serve to short circuit some of the mental processes necessary for premeditation, malice, intent and so on.
And certainly in the case of Mr. White, I think it's common sense that these pressures would have a profound effect upon him and in­deed move him to an unaccustomed state of passion.
MR. SCHMIDT: I have nothing further. Thank you, sir.
Q Dr. Blinder, you had three interviews with the accused?
A Yes, sir.
Q Now, those interviews were April 17, 18 and 21st each respectively. How long were the interviews each?
A I don't remember. I would say I spent about six, seven hours altogether with the man.
Q When you saw him did you find, Doctor, that his memory was intact?
A Yes.
Q He seemed to know and understand the events which had oc­curred as they had been reported to you?
A Just about all of them except for the actual-there was some lack of detail around the actual shootings and understanding of the reason for the shootings.
But in every other way his memory was uncommonly good. . . .
Q Did you, Doctor, find that he had ever suffered from any previous mental illness that was reported?
A Well, he certainly never had been treated for a mental illness. There is much data to suggest a diagnosis of a manic depressive syn­drome depressive type dating back to adolescence.
Q This data which would or could suggest this, was it such to you, Doctor, that you could say that he suffered from an articulable mental illness?
A I have to say I'm not sure. . . .
Q Did he seem to be straight forward with you when he was talking with you? That is, not holding back certain things?
A That's right. I felt he was absolutely candid.
Q Did he seem, Doctor Blinder, to express any remorse?
A Yes. He told me that he was particularly upset about the Moscone family. He remembered what it was like to lose his father, and that was, of all the terrible things that he did, that was perhaps the worst. Deprived this family of their winner and their father.
Q Did he tell you at any time that he felt sorry that George Moscone had lost his life as a result of his act?
A I don't think he said that specifically, no.
Q Doctor, in a psychiatric examination, particularly as it relates to a criminal case, that's a question that you are interested in, isn't it?
A Yes.
Q Did you ask that question?
A Yes, I asked him how he felt about what he had done, and he said he felt badly, particularly and then what I said before. . . .
Q -particular family. I take it, then, that he did not include George Moscone in that sorrow?
A Not that I can recall.
Q With respect to Harvey Milk, did you ask him if he felt sorry that Harvey Milk was dead and that he had caused it?
A No. I did not specifically ask that question.
Q Did he, if you recall, state to you that he felt sorry for Harvey Milk that he was dead as a result of his act?
A No....
Q Now, given that he felt this to be a frustrating experience, and he felt that the process of government was immoral did he have any attitudes respective of George Moscone and his honesty or dishonesty, other character flaws that may have existed?
A Yes. He felt-he seemed somehow to be separate from the Mayor. That most of his animosity as expressed to me about the venali­ty of the politician was for the supervisors with the exception of Feinstein, Milk and, apparently, the Mayor.
His attitudes toward the Mayor was: George is an okay guy. George is doing a good job.
Q Did his attitude sometime change prior to November 27th regarding George Moscone?      
A Not that I can discern. I really, you know, leaned a little bit on him for that. The closest thing that I can come to the negative change was Moscone's seeming to go back on his word about the issue of the reappointment. But there is really no history of animosity or venality in Mr. White's eyes on Mr. Moscone's part. . . .
Q Doctor, about this conflict between being more or less of a free spirit and on your own versus acting out a life role which is con­sistent with the, perhaps, expectations of responsible society. . .don't all of us more or less experience that?
A Yes. Some more than others.
Q Isn't it something that's commonly shared by a great many people perhaps in daydreams, but that they'd like to be off doing something, well, other than the daily routine in which most of us have to live out?
A Yes. . . .
Q There was a time when George Moscone had made a public announcement, approximately four or five days following the tendering the resignation, that George Moscone had publically promised to ap­point Mr. Daniel White to the Board of Supervisors.
Did Mr. White, in your opinion, regard that as a promise?
A Yes. . . .
Q Would the breaking of such a promise, Doctor, given his background again, be such as would bring about and instill anger. . . .
A Yes, I think it brought about anger. I think it brought about great puzzlement since, as you put it, Mr. White tends to see things in black and white, and a promise is a promise, and this seemed to be contradictory to something that the Mayor had told him to his face. So how can this be?
You know, how can you compromise A with Z? It's either A or Z.
I think, finally, it was a recapitulation of Mr. White's often feel­ing that he never had support. Even from his earliest childhood that he-you always have to scramble for it. That it isn't generously forth­coming. That this-just when you have done well, you can be let down. You will be criticized. You are not going to be supported.
I think it all brought all of that home to him in a highly emo­tional way.
Q Now, were you favored with the circumstance that on or about the 24th day of November, that was a Friday preceding these kill­ings, that a newspaper reporter for the Chronicle Newspaper had seen Mr. White at a time shortly following a court proceeding which in­volved the application for a restraining order against the Mayor, to prevent the Mayor from appointing anybody other than Daniel White?
Were you aware that there was some circumstance or occurrences that I have suggested right now?
A Yes, I know about the hearing. I don't know about the news reporter.
Q Well, if I told you that Mr. White was approached by this cer­tain newspaper reporter, who is Mr. Maitland Zane of the Chroni­cle, and he was asked about the success, or likelihood of success of the restraining order which had been applied for in the Superior Court, and Mr. White replied to him, among other things, "Well, the gloves are off now," Doctor, would that statement ascribed to Mr. White have any significance to you in the context of the other circumstances which you know have occurred here?
A Well, I think the issue is joined. I think that I don't know exactly what was in Mr. White's mind at the time, but it would suggest to me, at least, that he was going to fight for what he believed to be right. He wanted to be reappointed, and that's the only right just thing....
Q On the next morning, which was November the 27th, he re­ceived a couple of telephone calls from his aide, whom you had in­terviewed. In your opinion, did you take into consideration what the aide had reported to Mr. White in those telephone calls? . . .
A Yes. . . .
Q If it were a fact that she had reported to him that the Mayor was observed on that particular morning of November 27th to a drive toward City Hall, and when he came close to where he usually parks his automobile, upon observing the placard carrying supporters of Daniel White then swerved away or, to use some words which were ascribed to her at one time, ditched us, and went somewhere else, do you think the report of that circumstance could have brought about or increased any anger which he may have had?
A I do.
Q And if it were a fact that it was also reported to Mr. White by his aide that the supporters who had a petition which had approx­imately 11 hundred signatures upon it, a rather substantial number, had attempted to see the Mayor personally to deliver these petitions and were told that the Mayor was not in, when, in fact they knew that he was in, would that report having been given to Mr. White under all other circumstances have brought about or increased any anger which he may have had at that time?
A Yes.
Q With respect to Mr. Harvey Milk, I think you reported that Mr. White had told you that he, well, he did not dislike him. Did he report that he liked him?

A He admired him are the words used to me. He was a man, who, like Mr. White, stood up for what he believed in.
He represented the underdog of being gay. He was something of the odd man out, a position with which Mr. White could identify.
He went to bat for him on at least one occasion, securing him committee appointments. They had disagreements, too. But it seemed to me that Mr. Milk was one of the more reliable Supervisors in Mr. White's view.
Q Did Mr. White ever report to you in any of the three inter­views, or did you learn from any other source, if that's the case, that he, Mr. White, felt that Harvey Milk was working against him?
A Yes. Around the issue of reappointment? Yes. . . .
Q What did he tell you in that connection?
A Just that. That Milk was close to the Mayor, and that a lot of the opposition in City Hall that had materialized to his being reap­pointed came from Milk as well as from Mr. Moscone.
Q Doctor Blinder, was the circumstance that Mr. White believed in that Harvey Milk was working against his appointment by the Mayor one which could unexpectedly have brought about anger in Mr. White's mind toward Mr. Milk?
A Yes.
Q Given that circumstance, if it were a fact, that on November 27th Mr. White's aide in one of those telephone calls made to Mr. White, reported that Mr. Milk was seen coming out of the Mayor's office at about the same time when it had been reported to the sup­porters of Mr. White that the Mayor wasn't even in his office at that time, would that circumstance have contributed to any anger felt by Mr. White?
A I believe so. . . .
Q Doctor, did he tell you how often he carried a gun on his per­son previous to November the 27th?
A Yes.
Q What did he tell you in that regard?
A Fairly often for scheduled meetings he would carry a gun.
Q Did you review his statement which he gave to the police on November the 27th?
A Yes, I did.
Q Do you recall in that statement when he was asked when the last time was that he carried his gun prior to November 27th, that he said he guessed that it was a few months ago, meaning prior to the 27th?
A No, I do not remember that. But now that you read it to me, it does come back.
Q Doctor, there was not, as you understood it, any scheduled meeting of the Board of Supervisors for him to attend on November 27th, was there?
A No.
Q Now, he, as you understood it, is this correct, he took his .38 revolver with him?
A Yes.
Q He took extra cartridges also with him, didn't he?
A Yes, he did.
Q Did you ask him why he took extra cartridges with him that day?
A Well, not in so many words. Not knowing that much about firearms, I don't really know the difference between the right number and the extra number, if you get my drift.
Q All right. Doctor, if I told you that the weapon he took with him was a five-shot .38 special­-
A Yes, I know that. I know that he had more bullets then the ones in the gun. . . .
Q And when you use up those five, well, you have to reload again if it becomes necessary.
A Right. But it never occurred to me, you see, to think there was anything unusual about taking more bullets along with you if you are carrying a loaded gun. Perhaps it is, but I didn't think in those terms.
Whenever I see a policeman he has a loaded gun and a whole bunch of bullets. So I never thought to ask him if he took any extra ones.
Q Doctor Blinder, when he left his home on the morning of November 27th, at that time did he have the capacity, in your opin­ion, to form the intent to kill George Moscone?
A Possibly.
Q He had the capacity at that time to form the intent to kill Harvey Milk, given all the other circumstances leading up to that time?
A Possibly.
I said early today, when we get to this question of intent as defined legally, we get into an area that certainly relies heavily on psychiatric data and state of mind, but on other factors as well to which I may not be party. But I think it is possible that he had the capacity at that point to form intent.
Q Well, Doctor, at that particular time did you feel that he had that capacity to reason out the following, perhaps it's an oversimplifica­tion, but: I am going to kill George Moscone for what he has done?
A Yes, I think it would be possible for him to think that.
Q Do you think that it was possible at that time, and that he had the capacity to reason: I am going to kill Harvey Milk for what he has done to me?
A Yes, I think possibly that he would have the capacity to exer­cise that particular logic. I don't think that he would. I think that's at war with the way Mr. White is put together. But the mere fact somebody wouldn't do something doesn't necessarily mean that he could not.
And, thus, I say to you, yes, it was possible that he could go through that reasoning process.
Q Doctor, when you say that you think that it's possibly at war with what he thought, it's difficult to know what he thought, or to look into a person's mind to know just what they are thinking at a particular juncture, isn't it?
A It's impossible to know. The best you can do is know how a person usually thinks, and then apply that information to a particular moment. . . .
Q About the gun and a hassle over that.
Doctor, is it possible that he could have reasoned that if he went through the door with the metal detector, the gun, which was his weapon of offense, might in all likelihood have been taken away from him?
A Yes, it's possible.
Q When he went up to the office of George Moscone and entered, then saw George Moscone and was told that he was not going to be appointed to the Board of Supervisors, do you feel, Doctor, that that was a matter of great disappointment to him?
A That's an understatement.
Q It was a matter of monumental disappointment to him, wasn't it?
A Yes. . . .
Q When he and the Mayor went into the room adjacent to the Mayor's office where the Mayor offered him a drink, then made some inquiry, according to him, about his plight of his family, Doctor, do you feel that at that time he was capable of knowing that if he pointed a gun at the Mayor and that if he discharged it that in all likelihood would kill the Mayor?
A Yes, and no. I think he certainly walked into that office in possession of that basic information. But knowing something is more than simply possessing a piece of information. You have to have it accessible. It has to be part of your awareness.
It has to be a meaningful comprehension of that.
Without that it's possible to know something and not know it. Just as you might meet somebody who you know very well. You know their name.
You said, "Hi, Sam,” half a dozen times, but suddenly at that moment in that party you can't think of his name. How can you not know the name of somebody whose name you know?
And I think at this point there is a lot of data that suggests that that knowledge ceased to be relevant. It really wasn't a working kind of knowledge.
It's just as a student who has boned-up very carefully for an ex­amination finds that under the moment of the exam and the emotion of that examination all that knowledge which he had so securely the night before has fled.
You know but you don't know.
Q Doctor, isn't it kind of basic that the point of a gun which is loaded at another human being, and the discharge of it, is likely to bring about death or in the very least great bodily injury?
A Yes, that's certainly basic. Just as basic as the name of a friend who for a moment you do not have access to because you are anx­ious, or you are preoccupied with something else. It is possible to lose your grip on basic information if you are sufficiently emotionally discombobulated.
Q What you are saying is it is possible then that he did not at that time know that it would be likely to kill George Moscone?
A That's right. I am saying it's possible that he did not know that in the sense that I'm sure he knew it ten or 15 minutes before that confrontation. . . .
Q On the other hand, is it equally possible, Dr. Blinder, that he did know that the pointing of that loaded gun at the body of George Moscone and the discharge of that gun would likely bring about death or, at least, great bodily injury to George Moscone?
A Certainly, I think it's possible.
Whether it is equally possible depends upon a number of things, of which I am asked only a few. And I present it to the best of my ability those psychiatric aspects.
But which was the most likely, I must defer to others on that score.
Q You would defer to the Jury?
A Yes. . .I think that's the critical issue here, and I think my testimony will be useful in the resolution of that issue, but not controlling.
Q Doctor, you are aware that, are you not, that after George Moscone had been shot twice in the body and fell to the floor, that the Defendant discharged this same .38 special weapon into his head at close range, to be exact, not more than one foot on one shot and not more than 18 inches on the second shot?
A Yes.
Q Doctor, at that particular time, is that kind of behavior con­sistent with anger?
A Yes. . . .
Q Did he tell you where he went when he left George Moscone's office?
A Yes, he did.
He said he rushed down the hall. He had only one thought, get­ ting out of the building.
For a moment he thought he saw Harvey Milk's aide. He didn't. But this misperception put Supervisor Milk on his mind. The next thing he knows, he's going through the door to the Supervisor's offices with Dianne Feinstein's aide. He sees Harvey Milk in his office.
He tells him, "Harvey, can I talk to you?"  And joins Mr. Milk in his own office.
Q Doctor, would it in any way change your opinion with respect to the shooting of Harvey Milk if it were a fact that his aide testified that when she picked him up and or during the time that they rode to the City Hall he said he would see-he was going to see Harvey Milk?
A No. I think it's entirely possible that he planned a meeting with Moscone and Milk.
What, though, occurred after he had shot the Mayor I think would have very little to do with whatever Mr. White might have intended on that ride to City Hall with Denise Apcar.
I think it likely-I think it reasonable that he intended to find out from the Mayor's lips why this was happening. I think it's entire­ly possible he was going to have a confrontation with Milk to con­front his adversary instead of it always having been done to him when he's at his place.
But I think eventually it overtook him.
I think he lost control. And we have a considerable discrepancy between what he may have had in his mind as he rode to City Hall and what actually occurred.         
Q Did he tell you where he reloaded his weapon?
A No.
Q You had acquainted yourself with his statement given the police on November the 27th, shortly after the shootings occurred, hadn't you?
A Yes.
Q Do you recall his having been asked in the statement: "Where did you reload?"
A Yes.
Q And his response being: "I reloaded in my office when­-when I was-I couldn't out in the hall?"
A Yes.
Q Would you understand that to be that he reloaded his weapon in his vacated office of the Board of Supervisors?
A Yes.
Q Well, Doctor, would you presume he went in to his office first, reloaded his gun before he spoke to Harvey Milk?
A Yes.
Q Doctor, when he asked Harvey Milk in the office: Why are you working against me­-
A Yes.
Q (Continuing:)-would that indicate to you, Doctor that he was very concerned that Mr. Milk had been working against him?
A Yes.
Q Doctor, is it likely that he was angry at Mr. Milk at that time?
A Yes.
Q When asked Mr. Milk: Why are you trying to cheat me out of my job, do you think that he genuinely believed that Mr. Milk was trying to cheat him out of his job?
A Yes.
Q And that certainly would have brought about anger?
A Sure.
Q Doctor, do you feel that the anger brought about was suffi­cient to bring him in to action to the extent that he would want to hurt or visit some injury upon Mr. Milk?
A Not consciously.
Obviously, if he had ample opportunity to do that, why go through this dialogue, why go through this discussion, if you reached a point of homicidal decision-presumably I take the gun and shoot it, but this was not-was in his mind, he really wanted to have some understanding as to what was going on, but because of his mental state, he could not process this information in a constructive way with lethal consequences.
I could say the same thing of the incident with the Mayor.
You don't sit down and have a drink with a man that you intend to kill.
I don't think he went in there to kill the Mayor, but the event and the onset of emotion came over him for the reasons I expressed earlier this afternoon.
Q Doctor, he shot Harvey Milk three times in the body; is that your understanding?
A Yes, it is.
Q Then after Harvey Milk was disabled, fell to the floor, he shot him twice in the back of the head?
A Yes.
Q Are those acts, Doctor, that are consistent with anger?
A Yes, they are.
Q Are those acts consistent with the judgmental decision?
A Could you say what you mean by "judgmental decision?"
Q Could he say or reason to himself, no matter how brief it may be: Shall I do this, shoot him, or not shoot him?
A Okay, I think it's not inconsistent that there is no reason why the man could not go through that judgment process and arrive at a decision, to empty his gun.
I think it's more likely that the emptying of a gun and discharg­ing of bullets had long passed the point of necessity, which reflects emotion, and passion rather than calm decision.
I think if I were sufficiently distressed by cutting off your cross-­examination to dispose of you right now, I would aim a gun at your heart, and that would be the end of it.
If I sit there emptying all five bullets, I think I am no longer acting out of calm reason or judgment, but out of passion and a mat­ter of reflex.
Q Doctor, I hope that my cross-examination hasn't been that pressing on you.
(Laughter in the courtroom.)
THE WITNESS: This is purely a hypothetical example.
MR. NORMAN: Q I think I understand.
In regard to the question as to whether he could premeditate and deliberate, I think you said that you could not give a definite "Yes" or definite "No?"
A That is correct.
Q Doctor, what do you understand deliberation and premedita­tion to mean? . . .
THE WITNESS: I remember the question. I was just going to say: In the interest of time, that a working definition that I have is the rationale of deliberating is weighing pros and cons, the considered judgment that precedes an act.
MR. NORMAN: Q That, of course, can ripen in a very short time with some people, can't it?
A Yes.
Q It's not really measured in any units of time, definitely, is it?
A That is my understanding.
That really goes to the quality of process rather than its duration.
Q Did you say that with respect to the ability to form that quality of thought, which is malice, in our law, that you couldn't say "Yes" or “No?"
A I couldn't give you a conc1usionary response, but with malice, as to premeditation, the psychiatric information that I have goes to­wards great impairment of the mental processes, to weighing, to con­sider, and deliberation, and to weigh the requirement of law, and your relationship to that law, as is necessary in for the formation of malice....

Q Doctor, can we say that in your opinion it's possible that he could have premeditated and deliberated and formed malice?
A Anything is possible, Mr. Norman.
If you wish me to speculate, I would say, "Yes,”  it's possible.
I think, however, that at the time of these shootings there is much psychiatric data, at least, to indicate to me, significant impairment of the mental processes necessary for those words: Premeditation, formation of malice, to have a meaning.
Q Doctor, consistent with your statement initially and your-in your direct examination about the abuses of psychiatric testimony­-
A Yes.
Q (Continuing:)-do you agree that it's better to leave that ques­tion of the ability to form malice and to deliberate, premeditate, to the jury?
A Wholeheartedly.
MR. NORMAN: Thank you very much, doctor.
Q Doctor, with regard to the remorse issue, you testified, I believe, that when you asked him how he felt about this entire inci­dent, the shootings, his response was that he felt very badly?
A Yes. . . .
Q That was an all-encompassing response, that he felt very badly?
A Yes.
Q Then he specifically responded to your question and said that he felt particularly bad also about the children of Mayor Moscone?
A Yes. . . .
Q Just so I can understand: With regard to premeditation, deliberation, malice, all these requisite intents, basically for that, you would have to, in laymen's terms, be, not have your wits about you; is that a fair statement?
A Yes.
Q And would you conclude at this time that these shootings, ac­cording to Dan White, had his wits about him?
A Probably not.
Q Would you categorize the shootings as deliberate and thought­ out shootings, or would you characterize them more as a response to an emotional upheaval?
A Decidedly an emotional-I see these homicides far more reflexive than reflective.
They sprung from feelings, they sprung from motor impulses rather than from rational, conscious thought, and in fact, by any application of rational, conscious thought, these shootings don't make sense.
He wanted to see him reappointed, and with that thrust of anger in the Mayor's office, how could he possibly hope to be reappointed after he slew the man who might have reappointed him, and slew another associate.
So, logically, rationally, it makes no sense, and emotionally, perhaps, it makes some psychiatric sense.
Q With regard to the reloading, he did not specifically, as I recall your testimony, tell you about the reloading?
A He did not.
Q If I suggested to you any statement to the police, taken in con­text, after he said he reloaded in his office, and the next word was: Then, did you leave the Mayor's office at that time, and he said, "Yes,” would that bring him the possibility that he had reloaded in the Mayor's office?
A Yes.
Q Would it be reasonable to you to assume that one could reload a firearm in the presence of another person without the other person becoming alarmed?
A No.
Q Now, you mentioned that you were fairly familiar with the events of the preceding week.
A Yes. . . .
Q And you indicated that those facts, as you know them, would at that time have evoked anger, rage, some emotion, at any rate?
A I do.
Q Is anger or rage, emotion, does that fog one's reasoning power?
A Yes. . . .
Q You mentioned also something about the People's Temple Hit Squad.
Did Dan White mention something about the People's Temple Hit Squad, and if so, - ­-
A That he had heard rumors that the Board of Supervisors were potential targets, and that was one of the things that flashed through his mind as he saw his gun and made a decision to take it with him on that fateful day.
Q Doctor, lastly, looking back now, we know that there were no hit squads operating in San Francisco after the second week, I believe, in November, when all the people died in Guyana?
A Yes.
Q Recalling that it would be reasonable to assume, given that there were 900 dead people in Guyana, the possibility that there might be hit squads from the People's Temple Church?
A I think that alone would make it possible. I think when you add to the fact that-I know certainly that certain Supervisors have been threatened over the years, it's a reasonable assumption, I think, that a man who is accustomed to carrying a gun, a policeman, would so consider that sufficient justification to take one along.
MR. SCHMIDT: Nothing further.
Q Dr. Blinder, you had told counsel and the jury that rationally it didn't make any sense to kill Mr. Harvey Milk, given the cir­cumstances that George Moscone being the person with the appoin­ting power was now dead?
A Right. . . .
Q Doctor, given that circumstance, isn't it possible that when Mr. White went to Mr. Milk's office, then went over to his own of­fice, and asked him:
Why are you trying to cheat me out of my job, that he was feel­ing the emotion of revenge?
A . . .Yes, I think it's possible.
Q Can a person, Doctor, be angry and still premeditate?
A Yes.
Q Can he still deliberate?
A Yes.
Q Can he still form malice?
A Yes, he can.
MR. NORMAN: Thank you.  
Q But Doctor, anything is possible, and certainly one can be angry and still have the ability to premeditate?
A Yes.
Q Given all the information that you have, do you believe that this, in fact, was a premeditated slaying?
MR. NORMAN: Objection, as asking for impermissible opinion.
THE COURT: Sustained.
MR. SCHMIDT: Q Let me ask you this: With regard to anger, if anger is engendered, would that cause, that reasoning process re­quired for deliberation to be thought?
MR. NORMAN: Objection, as being asked and answered.
THE COURT: Overruled.
A lot of questions have been asked and answered for the past two hours, and let's have the last one.
THE WITNESS: Yes, the point, though, is, Mr. Schmidt, whether or not that anger reaches a degree sufficient to cause a man to lose control, and if he is out of control, then the quality Of his premeditation and everything else requiring rational thought is as im­paired as to fall below the threshold of his responsibility, and in my judgment, the feelings that were seething through this man at the time, anger included, feelings of lack of support, feelings that he had no place to go, that he had no options, that he was letting everybody down, all these things came to a head, that he had been wrestling with for months, to the point where he probably lost control, and once a man loses control, I don't know how you can talk in terms of premeditation.
MR. SCHMIDT: I have nothing further.