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Hans Reiser and the "Geek Defense" Strategy 738

Posted by kdawson
from the thinks-too-much dept.
lseltzer alerts us to a story in the Washington Post on the defense strategy in the Hans Reiser murder trial. "In the courtroom where Hans Reiser is on trial for murder, [the evidence] might appear to indicate guilty knowledge. But his attorneys cast it as evidence of an innocence peculiar to Hans, a computer programmer so immersed in the folds of his own intellect that he had no idea how complicit he was making himself appear. 'Being too intelligent can be a sort of curse,' defense counsel William Du Bois said. 'All this weird conduct can be explained by him, but he's the only one who can do it. People who are commonly known as computer geeks are so into the field.'"
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Hans Reiser and the "Geek Defense" Strategy

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 23, 2008 @07:37PM (#22530268)
    Most of us have soaked our floorboards after we removed the passenger seat.
    • by R2.0 (532027) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @07:47PM (#22530336)
      Believe it or not, I have been in a situation where I had a removed front passenger seat and a soaked footwell. I was having a problem with water getting into the car and couldn't find it. It was coming from under the dashboard, so I removed the seat so I could get my head in there to look closely. But then I ran out of time, so I just left it like that till next weekend.

      Sure enough, during the week I got pulled over for speeding. The cop certainly looked at me funny, but I didn't have a warrant out for my arrest, so all was OK.

      I'd email this story to Reiser's lawyers, but for 2 things:
      1) I had a VW, and the leak was idiosyncratic to that model. He drove a Civic.
      2) I think he's guilty.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Skapare (16644)

        2) I think he's guilty.

        Is this just speculation on your part? Or did he admit this to you? Or were you there when it happened?

        I personally do not know if he is guilty or not ... because I was not there to be a witness. And I probably will not ever know because I actually do have some specific experience to know that courtroom procedures frequently do prohibit a fair and truthful trial from taking place along the lines of one ruling the judge in this case has already made.

      • by dubl-u (51156) * <2523987012NO@SPAMpota.to> on Saturday February 23, 2008 @10:09PM (#22531418)

        Believe it or not, I have been in a situation where I had a removed front passenger seat and a soaked footwell. [...] I removed the seat so I could get my head in there to look closely. But then I ran out of time, so I just left it like that till next weekend.
        That's surely plausible. But the notion that Reiser then threw out the seat? No way. Every geek I know has a giant collection of old parts that they will use "someday". A real geek would have kept the seat. Even if there was something wrong with it, there were plenty of good parts on that sucker.

        Christ, I've still got a 100 MB SCSI hard drive in my parts bin that I haven't thrown away yet. Yeah, megabytes, that's right.
      • by spintriae (958955) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @10:23PM (#22531508)

        Believe it or not, I have been in a situation where I had a removed front passenger seat and a soaked footwell.

        Oh, I believe you. I too have had to remove my passenger seat and hose down the floor board. Mainly because they were soaked in my ex-wife's blood...

        Since then I always keep tampons in the glove compartment.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by noidentity (188756)

        I'd email this story to Reiser's lawyers, but for 2 things:
        1) I had a VW, and the leak was idiosyncratic to that model. He drove a Civic.
        2) I think he's guilty.

        Just curious, if you had evidence related to a case but thought that the defendant was guilty, would you avoid reporting it? It seems you should let the court make the determination, since it sees all the evidence, including some those outside the courtroom never know about.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Wordplay (54438)
        There's nothing idiosyncratic about a heater core leak, which is what usually dumps water/coolant into your floorboards in a failure. Heaters usually work by routing the coolant through another miniature radiator (the heater core) on your side of the firewall. When you turn the heater on, it opens a valve that starts routing coolant through that loop. Fans blow heat from the core into the cabin. This is why turning the heater onto full can lower the temperature on an overheating car--you're actually put
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by unitron (5733)

          There's nothing idiosyncratic about a heater core leak...

          As a matter of fact, I learned the hard way that late 60s Fords were especially prone to having this problem.

          When that radiator fails, it will leak from under the dash onto the floorboards.

          Except that if the leak is near the top of the heater core it won't necessarily leak until the engine is hot enough for the thermostat to open, at which point it will exit the leak as steam and deposit a thin film of anti-freeze all over the inside of the windshield.

          Of course if you want a Ford with a wet floorboard, get one of the ones that ran the brake line to the rear wheels through the passe

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by aussie_a (778472)

        Sure enough, during the week I got pulled over for speeding. The cop certainly looked at me funny, but I didn't have a warrant out for my arrest, so all was OK.

        Right, except was your wife also murdered?

        See, having your car flood and removing the passenger seat is pretty uncommon (more common for some apparently, but still fairly uncommon). Having your wife murdered is also fairly uncommon. Again, it happens (more common for some), but on average its uncommon. Now both of these events happening at the same time in the order of the car flooding and then the wife being murdered?

        I'm no mathematician, but surely this doesn't happen often enough to be considered "reaso

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by shaitand (626655)
          'I'm no mathematician'

          Obviously. If you are rolling a six sided die and guess the result will be 4 you have a one in six chance of being correct. Where the roulette junkies get led astray is that they think if the result was not 4 then the chances of getting 4 are better on the next roll since 4 is "due" or if the result was 4 they think the chances of rolling a subsequent 4 are lower. Those are all false, if you have rolled twenty fours in a row your chances of rolling a 4 on the next toss are still just 1
    • by HeavensBlade23 (946140) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @08:59PM (#22530936)
      I wouldn't vote to convict based on that, however damning it may look, anymore than I would vote to convict of a computer crime because they were using encryption. Maybe he did kill her, I don't know, but there's some serious doubt about whether she could be hiding out in Russia or dead at the hands of the ex-boyfriend who admitted to killing nearly a dozen people.
  • peers? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by vDave420 (649776) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @07:39PM (#22530282)

    The effort will be watched and appreciated down the breadth of Silicon Valley, perhaps the only place a computer genius might find a jury of peers. There, Hans Reiser's actions appear fairly reasonable, at least to people who spend much more time with computer code than with other humans.

    Come on - the only place a half-crazed defense strategy can work is when pitched to computer geeks?
    What what what?

    -dave-

    • Re:peers? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @08:33PM (#22530718) Homepage
      If they were so smart, they would have thought of an excuse to get out of jury duty.
      • Re:peers? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Skapare (16644) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @08:48PM (#22530854) Homepage

        If they were so smart, they would have thought of an excuse to get out of jury duty.

        That presumes they want to get out of jury duty.

  • by reboot246 (623534) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @07:40PM (#22530290) Homepage
    Being too intelligent is a curse I've had to live with my whole life!

    But I guess it sorta goes with my outstanding good looks. :)

    • by gbjbaanb (229885) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @10:03PM (#22531382)
      I guess you would have mentioned your immense modesty too, if you weren't so modest :)
  • Desperate Twinkies (Score:3, Interesting)

    by milsoRgen (1016505) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @07:41PM (#22530300) Homepage
    The old Twinkie Defense [wikipedia.org] upgraded for the year 2000.
    • by milsoRgen (1016505) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @07:46PM (#22530326) Homepage
      Also why is he constantly referred to as a genius?

      i.e. "an exceptional natural capacity of intellect, especially as shown in creative and original work in science, art, music, etc."

      Granted I couldn't design and implement my own file system, but I hardly think that deserves the label 'genius'.
      • by liquidpele (663430) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @08:04PM (#22530476) Journal
        I agree with this. I *could* design an implement my own filesystem if I thought it was really profitable, and I'm no genious. But I also wouldn't have gone to Russia for a mail-order type bride and let her get her citizenship after having some kids, or run my business into the ground while my Russian wife stole money because I was stupid enough to let her handle the finances and not double check things myself. Sure they guy is smart, but he's also very, very stupid from the stories I here.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 23, 2008 @08:21PM (#22530596)

          I'm no genious

          Yeah, no shit.

    • by Omnifarious (11933) <eric-slash@omERD ... g minus math_god> on Saturday February 23, 2008 @07:54PM (#22530386) Homepage Journal

      It's not the Twinkie Defense. Hans is claiming he didn't murder her, not that some bizarre psychological condition associated with being a geek should mitigate his action in some way. The psychological aspect is used only to explain why he acted so strangely and why those strange actions are not indicative of guilt. Basically, it didn't even occur to him that those actions might be seen as acting guilty.

      From what I can tell, the prosecution has absolutely not proven Hans' guilt beyond the shadow of a doubt. They have not met the standard of proof required for a criminal conviction. All they have is some fairly flimsy circumstantial evidence.

      But that's a separate question from whether or not I think he's guilty. And given the available evidence I can't decide either way. This case just is too bizarre. I can actually believe that Nina has managed to escape back to Russia and finagled the courts through the rest of her family into letting her children go back too. But I can also believe that Hans murdered her. Both scenarios fit the available evidence.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by erlehmann (1045500)

        Both scenarios fit the available evidence.
        In dubio, pro reo.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        From what I can tell, the prosecution has absolutely not proven Hans' guilt beyond the shadow of a doubt. They have not met the standard of proof required for a criminal conviction.

        The standard of proof in a criminal case is 'beyond a reasonable doubt'. This is far less than 'beyond a shadow of a doubt'.

    • by Ozan (176854) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @11:27PM (#22531938) Homepage
      No, I would think more of an inverted Chewbacca defense:

      William Du Bois

      Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, the district attorney would certainly want you to believe that my client killed his wife. And they make a good case. Hell, even I almost think it was him! But, ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, I have one final thing I want you to consider. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Alan Turing. Turing was a Mathematician from England. He came up with what is now called a Turing Machine. Now think about it: that does make perfect sense!
      Paul Hora

      Damn it! He's using the Turing Defense!
      William Du Bois

      Now why would Alan Turing, a Mathematician from England would invent something like a Turing Machine? Because it helps to show that some problems are never solvable by computing. Does that make any sense? Yes it does.
      Imagine a Turing Machine and a set of instructions. Can anybody tell, if the machine, running those instructions will ever stop? And more important: can we program a Turing Machine, so that it decides whether a set of instructions would cause a Turing Machine to halt eventually? But more important, you have to ask yourself: What does this have to do with this case? Everything. Ladies and gentlemen, this case completedly depends on it! It does make a lot of sense! Look at me. I'm a lawyer defending a software engineer, and I'm talkin' about Alan Turing!
      Now how can it be, that this halting problem is undecideable? Because, if we hypotheticaly have a Turing Machine that solves the halting problem, we could use it to construct another Turing Machine that does not halt when it should, and thus, when given to itself to test for halting, would contradict its own behavior!
      Does that make sense? Ladies and gentlemen, I am making perfect sense! And so you have to remember, when you're in that jury room deliberatin' and conjugatin' the verdict, do you know wheter you will ever stop deliberatin'? No! Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, you will never know! If the jury doesn't halt, you must acquit! The defense rests!
  • Gem of a quote (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 23, 2008 @07:42PM (#22530302)

    His signal adult achievement was ReiserFS, a file system he named for himself, unusual in the programming world. The system organizes data on Linux, the "open source" operating system.
    In the same breath, they say naming something after ones own name is unusual, and refer to the OS written by a guy named Linus. Hows that for irony.
    • Re:Gem of a quote (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mccalli (323026) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @07:49PM (#22530346) Homepage
      In the same breath, they say naming something after ones own name is unusual, and refer to the OS written by a guy named Linus. Hows that for irony.

      Linus named it FreakOS I believe. It was someone else who convinced him to rename it to Linux.

      Cheers,
      Ian
      • by Richard_J_N (631241) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @09:26PM (#22531126)
        http://www.freax.org/ [freax.org] has a little more info
  • /. defense (Score:5, Funny)

    by tverbeek (457094) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @07:43PM (#22530310) Homepage
    I'm too anti-social to be a threat to society.
  • My Suspicion (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jjohnson (62583) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @07:50PM (#22530354) Homepage
    Assuming he killed Nina (a pretty safe assumption, on the face of it), I suspect he's making an error of reasoning that hyper intelligent people and small children are prone to: Because there's no direct evidence, he can't logically conclude his own guilt from his actions, therefore no one else can.

    It's like a child hiding cookies behind his back and assuming that, since Mom can't see what's in his hands, she can't know that he's got cookies.

    There's a quote about how circumstantial evidence *is* evidence to smart people, because smart people of capable of making inferences and deductions.
  • risky defense (Score:5, Interesting)

    by timmarhy (659436) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @07:51PM (#22530362)
    it's very risky this type of defense. it might be seen that he's so smart, that maybe he KNEW he could use this kind of defense and planned on hiding out in the open so to speak.

    personally i find it strange they aren't looking closer at the cross dressing lover who has admitted to killing people in the past.

    also there is no body yet, so i don't understand how exactly they are mounting a murder case against him? for all they know this is all staged by his bitter russian bride in an attempt to get back at him, stranger things have happened.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tverbeek (457094)
      You don't need a body for a murder trial and conviction. Think about it: that would mean that successfully getting rid of the body would be a Get Out Of Jail Free card. All they need is 1) enough evidence of a crime to persuade a grand jury that it's worth trying, and 2) enough evidence that he did it to persuade the regular jury that he's guilty. It doesn't have to be a logically sound proof, just a convincing one.
      • Re:risky defense (Score:5, Insightful)

        by timmarhy (659436) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @09:35PM (#22531196)
        I can't believe you can go to a murder trial with so LITTLE evidence she is dead though. they found some small blood samples in his car and garage.

        those could be explained easily in normal circumstances, even easier with his wifes known affair with a BDSM freak. maybe at some point her and her lover got freaky in the garage before the divorce?

        so we have that and we have a book on famous murder trials. wow really compelling case there, you can't even prove she's dead let alone who killed her.

        • Re:risky defense (Score:5, Informative)

          by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Saturday February 23, 2008 @11:49PM (#22532068) Homepage Journal
          I believe the reason the judge let the case go ahead was because Hans was demanding a speedy trial (as is his right) so the judge wanted to give the prosecution time to get their case together.. even after getting Hans to waive his right to a speedy trial and delaying it so Hans' lawyer could go on holidays, the prosecution still couldn't come up with any more evidence.

          What really sucks is that at the conclusion of the prosecution, Hans' lawyer asked for the case to be dismissed on the evidence. Because this is a standard thing for the defense to do, the judge didn't even consider it. He has publicly said that the case has no evidence, but he won't throw the case out on two separate occasions.
  • by mincognito (839071) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @07:53PM (#22530374)
    1. killing ones wife requires having a wife to kill
    2. the accused is a geek
    3. geeks cannot have wives
    4. the defense rests

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @07:55PM (#22530400) Homepage

    Sean Sturgeon confessed to killing eight people [wired.com]. If I were the homicide detective, you damn well better believe I'd be urging the prosecutor to dismiss the charges without prejudice so that the scope of the investigation could be brought to bear on HIM, now. The guy is into "death yoga," serious BDSM and confessed to killing eight people. The guy is a total loon based on what has come out, and he'd probably score very dangerously high on a sociopath scale. Hans might be the killer, but if I were a cop, I'd have spat my coffee out all over the report in shock when I read that Nina had gotten herself involved with a guy who sounds like a real nutjob who probably killed her.

    Unless they found Nina's blood all over Reiser's car, they don't have much to go on. Even then, it's not unrealistic to think that Sturgeon might have tried to frame Reiser.

    The details of this case are very sordid. I wouldn't put it past the prosecutors to be ignoring sturgeon's high probability of guilt out of pride because they "have their man." This is one of the reasons why I unabashedly support making it impossible to give a life sentence or execution without a minimum of two credible witnesses, and serious penalties (that can include execution in murder cases) for those who commit perjury.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 23, 2008 @08:25PM (#22530618)

      The guy is into "death yoga," serious BDSM and confessed to killing eight people. The guy is a total loon based on what has come out, and he'd probably score very dangerously high on a sociopath scale.


      'Serious BDSM' is what I do sometimes, but it has nothing to do with being a sociopath!

      If BDSM is not your piece of cake, fine, but do not put it at the same level as killing people because you simply do not understand it.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 23, 2008 @10:43PM (#22531652)
        'Serious BDSM' is what I do sometimes...

        If BDSM is not your piece of cake, fine, but do not put it at the same level as killing people because you simply do not understand it.


        *sighs*

        You OS X people are all alike. And it's "BSD", not "BDSM."
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jjohnson (62583)

      The guy is a total loon based on what has come out

      I suspect that's why they dismissed him as a suspect--after investigating him, they decided he was a total whackjob. The fact that he hasn't been charged with the eight murders to which he confessed (AFAIK) suggests that they don't find him credible.

  • by hxnwix (652290) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @08:13PM (#22530524) Journal
    I and many of my geek friends would have a hard time proving our innocence if such accusations were leveled against us.

    Imagine if they looked in our basements... I can hear the cross examiner already: "sir, can you explain to us what made you so angry that you shot this Compaq server 382 times with a .22 rifle? Do you usually shoot things that annoy you? You said that computers are important to you - so important that you like to shoot them repeatedly. Was your wife important to you? Did she sometimes annoy you? No further questions."

    Fortunately, we are innocent until proven guilty...
  • by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @08:37PM (#22530746)
    The issue seems to come from the apparent weakness of the prosecution's case. The most damning part of the case seems to be that Reiser acted strangely; did odd things, said odd things, behaved in unexpected ways. That kind of thing works well to tie together strong evidence to show motives and behaviors that link the evidence to the suspect. But lacking that, the case becomes little more than "he sure SEEMS guilty." And that is, as the article mentioned one judge noting, a very thin case indeed.

    So this is what the defense has to rally against. They have a client who is his own worse enemy. They have to remove the focus on irrational, unexpected behavior and shift it back to the strength of the real evidence presented by the prosecution's case. In short, they have to defeat a strategy that may give circumstantial evidence more weight than it would otherwise be given by people who don't share the same sensibilities as the defendant.

    I've known plenty of technical folks (engineers, coders, sysadmins, screwdriver slingers, etc.) who are just odd birds. I've got a whole host of weird stories based on experiences working with and around these folks. Many of these stories could (and sometimes are) taken out of context to imply a lot more about the individual than they really should. I'm not at all surprised that such an issue might rear its ugly head in the aggressive atmosphere of a court of law.
    • by Dogun (7502) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @09:50PM (#22531286) Homepage
      Whether or not he's guilty (I for one don't take his behavior into account), my understanding thus far:
        A) The prosecution has failed to show Nina Reiser is dead.
        B) The prosecution has failed to produce any physical evidence linking Hans Reiser to Nina's death. Tiny flecks of blood found in places where Nina may have reasonably been in the past under normal circumstances in the past haven't even been found to be Nina's.
        C) The prosecution has failed to produce circumstantial evidence tying Hans Reiser to Nina's death, just that he acts funny when he's convinced he is being followed by police and everyone thinks he killed his wife. Despite several attempts to guide Hans Reiser's children into a declaration that they witnessed an argument, nothing has been said that is consistant to that effect.
        D) 8-time confessed serial killer Sturgeon was romantically involved with Nina.

      I hope Hans didn't do it. If he did, though, I hope that the jury fails to find beyond a reasonable doubt that Hans Reiser murdered Nina Reiser, unless I've missed some vital piece of evidence somewhere, or they find their smoking gun. The evidence as I've seen it is too thin for someone to convict in good conscience.
  • From the hood.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by FlyingGuy (989135) <flyingguy AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday February 23, 2008 @08:45PM (#22530816)

    Well, I tell ya. I live in Han's hood, and let me tell ya a thing or three..

    • Silicon Valley is on the other side of the bay.
    • The jury of his peers came from Alameda County, not San Mateo or Santa Clara County, which comprise 95% of what is considered Silicon Valley and most of them probably came from the city of Oakland, a Blue Collar city for the most part.
    • The guy who owns the local hardware store went to High School with Hans ( Skyline High School ) and is also a Deputy Sheriff. He personally thinks that Han's did the deed and well, for the most part so do most folks that live in Montclair.

    I personally am not convinced since I know a few Russian women, and for the most part they are pretty normal, well until you piss them off, then all bets are off because they are some pretty vindictive women. Prior to his wife going missing and him getting arrested I had seen Han's around the village a few times, picking up his mail, the grocery store, the usual stuff and he never really impressed me one way or the other, so I don't know him as a person.

    One thing I will say is that from the live blog coverage of the trial, he is certainly not doing himself any favors with his courtroom antics. I might stop by the trial this coming Wednesday. If I do I will srop you all a line back to let you know my thoughts.

    In the meantime, I am not sure I would start any long term projects that rely on his file system brilliance...

    • Re:From the hood.... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by bikerider7 (1085357) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @09:57PM (#22531328)
      I also live in the neighborhood (2 blocks from the last known location where Nina was seen). Indeed, this is not Silicon Valley, it is (basically) the North Oakland area -- which in the past 2 years has experienced a huge increase in homicides and other violent crime. Even California's Senate President Pro Tem (i.e. 2nd most powerful leader in the State) isn't safe as he got carjacked in broad daylight on a busy street. Without any direct evidence linking Hans to the crime, I am no more inclined to believe that it was him, and not some gang of thugs out cruising Montclair.
  • Can't. Shut. Up! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Apotsy (84148) on Saturday February 23, 2008 @09:35PM (#22531194)
    The Wired blog about the trial mentions him constantly arguing with his lawyer & the judge. His lawyer is constantly asking for things to be repeated because Reiser is pestering him, even when he's busy questioning a witness!

    The judge has asked him if he wants to fire his lawyer, but he says "no". If he wants to try the case himself, he should. If he wants to talk to his lawyer about things, he should ... at the appropriate time. But his constant interruptions have apparently antagonized everyone in the courtroom. Now apparently, his lawyer is going to try to explain that away with "well ... it's because he's just that much smarter than everyone else!"

    It's obviously nonsense, because if you go back and look at any of the times he was badgering people on the LKML, they are experiencing exactly the same sort of annoyance with him. He just won't shut up, and won't stop pestering everyone with his ridiculous, delusional ideas that he can't let go of (like when he said ReiserFS would become the new VFS layer, with VFS implemented "on top of" it). Is anyone really prepared to claim he's not only smarter than everyone in the courtroom and day-to-day life, but that he's smarter than everyone on LKML too? Maybe he's just annoying and can't stop talking. Maybe he's just got something like Tourettes. It certainly doesn't sound like it has all that much to do with his intelligence.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by phorm (591458)
      This would lend credence to why he would have bought all the "incriminating literature" though. Simply put, the guy couldn't sit down and let somebody else deal with things, he's obsessive compulsive and had to start digging into it himself.
  • by chris_sawtell (10326) on Sunday February 24, 2008 @01:49AM (#22532722) Journal
    A disclaimer: I am not a US citizen and live thousands of miles away, but thanks to Wired, SFGate.com and Jay Gaskill, I have kept myself as well informed about this sad state of affairs as it is possible to do with out actually being in the Court.

    The whole trouble with this case is that the evidence we have seen so far allows one to mentally conjour up so many equally valid scenarios. To wit - all equal possibilities, ranked in seriousness:-

    1. A nasty, skilled, pre-meditated killing.
      Evidence for the prosecution:
      • Hans knew that Beverly Palmer was going to be away for the whole week-end.
      • Hans arranged for Nina to come to the empty house in the middle of a long holiday, when few of the neighbours would be around.
      Missing Evidence:-
      • No 'Smoking Gun', or actual witness.
    2. A crime of passion. Nina's previous behavour had so sensitized Hans that he struck out in an uncontrolled, mindless rage and killed her in a few seconds using a Judo chop of some kind.
      For:
      • Han's behavour immediately after Nina's disappearance.
      Against:
      • Rory said his mother gave him a hug and left the house.
    3. Nina left the house, and proceeded to a 'Professional Appointment' with Sturgeon. She died, possibly accidentally, during the 'treatment'. Hans may or may not have been involved with the disposal of the body.
      For:
      • It's happened before in other Jurisdictions.
      • Sturgeon has confessed to having been involved with many deaths.
      Against:
      • None.
    4. Nina, a pleasant looking chick, and alone in her car, got hijacked, dragged off to some unknown place, gang raped, killed, and dumped in the sea to be eaten by sharks.
      For:
      • Judging by what I read about the Oakland neighbourhood, this is no more a fanciful scenario than any of the others.
    This whole parody of a trial seems to me to be something straight out of 'Alice Through the Looking Glass'. The defendant and his parents are all as mad as the Hatter. The forensic DNA technician is incompetent. The prosecution has spent 3 whole months spouting a cloud of largely irrelevant waffle. While they have demonstrated that Hans could have done the deed, and that he had a degree of motive, there has been not one jot of independent expert evidence that, at the time of the alleged crime, he was sufficiently sane to form the intent to murder, that he was fit to plead, or that he actually did the deed. This is the sort of crime, and resultant investigation, which cries out for a "Not Proven" verdict,
  • by istartedi (132515) on Sunday February 24, 2008 @01:58AM (#22532758) Journal

    I've experienced this myself, although it was particularly bad in elementary school. Many geeks have Asperger's syndrome, and others, although not diagnosed Aspergers's, have traits that put them on the "autistic spectrum".

    I have some of those traits, and the one that tends to cause the most problems in this context is "innapropriate affect". This is where you have an unexpected reaction or facial expression that doesn't match up with what "normal" people expect. In my case, I would smile and feel a bit giddy when I was getting dragged to the principal's office. It didn't mean I was happy, it just meant that my mind dealt with the whole deal by minimizing it to the point of meaninglessness, and that was very amusing. The "normals" interpreted this as a "guilty grin", and I got punished for it on more than one occasion when I was perfectly innocent. As I got older, I learned somewhat how to provide the correct "output" for various situations.

    Assuming HR is innocent, it wouldn't surprise me if he were going through this. Of course, it doesn't mean he's not guilty either.

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