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Microsoft The Courts

Child Abuse Verdict Held Back By MS Word Glitch 191

Posted by samzenpus
from the messy-verdict dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Last week several defendants including one high-profile TV presenter were sentenced in Portugal in what has been known as the Casa Pia scandal. The judges delivered on September 3 a summary of the 2000-page verdict, which would be disclosed in full only three days later. The disclosure of the full verdict has been postponed from September 8 to a yet-to-be-announced date, allegedly because the full document was written in several MS Word files which, when merged together, retained 'computer related annotations which should not be present in any legal document.' (Google translated article.) Microsoft specialists were called in to help the judges sort out the 'text formatting glitch,' while the defendants and their lawyers eagerly wait to access the full text of the verdict."
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Child Abuse Verdict Held Back By MS Word Glitch

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 12, 2010 @05:21AM (#33551398)

    OpenOffice, would it be news here?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 12, 2010 @06:47AM (#33551662)

    The deadline is not affected because the time for appeal only starts when defendants get their full copies of the decision.
    This all started because the judges didn't want to make those copies before reading the decision in court fearing it would leak to the media and that would be even worse.
    Given the status and influence of some of the defendants that was a sure thing.
    Of course now their lawyers are already trying to exploit this and even suggesting that the decision wasn't even written when it was announced in court...I guess once a lawyer always a lawyer :P

  • Export to PDF (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @06:58AM (#33551692)
    Experts? This should be a five minute problem: Just export to PDF. Either the legal aids here are really, really computer illterate, or this is some sort of legal trick to stall for time.
  • by kainosnous (1753770) <kainosnous@lavabit.com> on Sunday September 12, 2010 @07:47AM (#33551788) Homepage

    My vote is that all official documents must be typed in vi(m), or at worst emacs. Even if somebody did manage to use DOS line endings, a few simple keypresses would fix it.

  • Re:2000 pages... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cptdondo (59460) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @08:33AM (#33551976) Journal

    It's "Hang, draw, and quarter". They would "hang" you but not drop you as they do in modern times, so your neck would not break, and presumably you would still be somewhat alive after hanging. Then they would "draw" you - take you down, and then they would tie each limb to a horse, and have the horses pull you apart. That's the "quarter" part. Sometimes they would cut the sinews in your hips and shoulders to make it easier for the horses to pull you apart.

    Somewhat akin to working with word, but less painful.

  • by neural.disruption (1290844) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @08:35AM (#33551984)

    Yes, it's Microsoft's fault that you have to spend 3 or more years in high school learning how to produce a simple document, and another two years or more in college learning how to make more complex documents. Who else would you blame?

    Of course I think colleges everywhere should create a MS Word PHD, for those poor users that after 10 years using a computer don't know that caps lock is the cause of their text being all in uppercase.

  • Re:Insane!!! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zippthorne (748122) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @09:05AM (#33552084) Journal

    Can you even *have* a 2k page Word document without tremendous compute resources?

  • Line endings (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tepples (727027) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .selppet.> on Sunday September 12, 2010 @09:15AM (#33552146) Homepage Journal

    With plain text, I'm sure someone could manage to mix up DOS and unix line endings

    That's why Python has "universal newlines": so that the code units representing newline on MS-DOS (0D 0A) and pre-2002 Mac OS (0D) get translated to UNIX newlines (0A) within the standard library. If you're willing to ignore pre-2002 Mac OS, you can just strip 0D from all files and end up with consistency among PC operating systems. The trouble starts when you bring in text files from VMS and some other operating systems not descended from UNIX or PC operating systems. Unlike text files on UNIX, MS-DOS, and classic Mac OS, where lines are delimited by a string of 1 or 2 constant code units, VMS text files are stored as a sequence of Pascal strings, where each line starts with a 2-byte integer representing the number of bytes (or was it characters?) in that line. (I learned all this after a discussion of why FTP has a text mode: VMS FTP servers are responsible for doing this conversion between Pascal strings in the file system and newline-delimited files on the wire.)

    or character set encodings

    In my experience, text files from UNIX, modern Windows, Mac OS X either UTF-8 or something based closely on the ISO 8859 character set that corresponds to the national language of the country where the court is located. A simple heuristic can easily tell those apart: UTF-8 never has no 80-BF code unit following a single-byte (00-7F) code unit and never has a code unit in C2-EF preceding anything but 80-BF.

    But once you have a text file, the question becomes one of which markup language to use. The language's styling mechanism has to handle footnotes per page for one thing; at least in the United States, legal style doesn't use the easier-to-implement endnotes or parenthetical notes.

  • by BUL2294 (1081735) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @11:54AM (#33553062)
    Does this come as a surprise to anyone who has used Word extensively???

    To this day, I don't know why Microsoft hasn't added WordPerfect's "Reveal Codes" feature to Word to help resolve this... I cringe whenever I have to merge documents from different sources, especially if they're from different versions (e.g. 97-03 .doc + 07-10 .docx), because I never know how badly the result will turn out...

    In one example of a 10-page merged document, I deleted a group of bullets and the text moved 1/2 way to the right & the font changed, became bold, and was blue. But it wasn't a simple fix of moving the tab stops, changing the font, etc.--it wouldn't let me do some of those things. That document was so screwed up that I had to cut/paste everything into Notepad and spent 3 hours reformatting it from scratch.

    I mean nobody is moving TO WordPerfect from Word, so Corel should want to get some $$$ from Microsoft to license the technology (e.g. due to copyrights, patents)... But then again, Microsoft might be scared to reveal how screwed up the formatting is within .doc and .docx formats, so there might be CYA involved in not doing so...
  • by TangoMargarine (1617195) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @03:41PM (#33554610) Journal
    Congratulations, you've just completely destroyed any kind of formatting more complicated than Tab and Newline. Other than that, yes, it works like a charm.
  • And... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jeepien (848819) on Sunday September 12, 2010 @08:36PM (#33557070)
    ...in other news, "Dog bites man."
    (Film at 11.)

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