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Hans Reiser Guilty of First Degree Murder 1395

Anonymous Meoward writes "Today Hans Reiser was found guilty of first degree murder in Oakland, California. Quoting Wired: 'In a murder case with no body, no crime scene, no reliable eyewitness and virtually no physical evidence, the prosecution began the trial last November with a daunting task ahead... The turning point in the trial came when Reiser took the stand in his own defense March 3.' Whether he really did it or not, Hans basically just didn't know when to shut up."
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Hans Reiser Guilty of First Degree Murder

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  • Free Software (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28, 2008 @07:39PM (#23231284)
    Can he work on free software from jail? He won't commercially gain from the crime and he can contribute for the good of society as a whole (in fact, provide a benefit that the world can use).
  • WTF (Score:3, Interesting)

    by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @07:44PM (#23231368)

    Defense attorney William DuBois cross-examined the witnesses about Nina's extramarital affair with Reiser's former best friend, Sean Sturgeon. (The jury was not allowed to hear testimony that Sturgeon has confessed to killing eight people unrelated to the case, in retaliation for child abuse.).
    Ok. The whole article is spun towards Hans, but how in the hell is this piece of information not relevant?
  • by softwaredoug ( 1075439 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @07:46PM (#23231394)
    From the article: "When police eventually located Hans Reiser's Honda CRX a few miles from his home, they found the interior waterlogged, the passenger seat missing, and two books on police murder investigations inside. They also found a sleeping-bag cover stained with a 6-inch wide blotch of Nina's dried blood. " That plus his behavior is pretty damn near close to passing the reasonable doubt criteria. A 6-inch wide blotch is a pretty large one, I might add, not a simple cut.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28, 2008 @07:51PM (#23231450)
    You do realize they found her body wrapped in the same tarp and same duct tape Scott owned?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28, 2008 @07:51PM (#23231464)
    I live in North Oakland and knew Hans Reiser from the Berkeley OCF.

    I met Nina Reiser at a pre-school picnic.

    Nina seemed like a typical harried mom - devoted to her kids and quite kind (she got a cup of juice for my daughter).

    Hans, on the other hand, went out of his way to be mean, petty, arrogant, and small minded. He acted as if he owned the Open Computer Facility, and that everyone should kow-tow to him. Once he booted an undergrad off the system because she had posted a Usenet message that he disagreed with.

    I attended the trial for several days. I was impressed with how carefully the jurors followed the witnesses, even though the testimony was boring.

    Hans shot himself in the foot by testifying. Maybe he shot both feet. He used the passive voice when describing critical events, as if he were an outside observer. He varied from extremely explicit (remembering license plates) to utterly vague (not remembering where he slept).

    Even though I wanted him to get out of this squeeze, I quite agree with the jurors on this one: there may not be a body, but Hans committed murder.
  • First degree murder? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bob whoops ( 808543 ) <bobwhoops@gma i l . c om> on Monday April 28, 2008 @07:52PM (#23231470) Homepage
    IANAL, so could someone explain to me how it makes any sense that he was found guilty of first degree murder when no one can even prove that Nina is dead? Maybe a lesser charge such as manslaughter, but I think that the fact that the prosecution cannot definitely say that she is dead should be enough for reasonable doubt.
  • Re:A man... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The Empiricist ( 854346 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @07:56PM (#23231516)

    Personally I am blown away by the incompetence of the defense attorney. Clearly he must have understood Reiser (guilty or not) would not help his case by testifying. He should never have been put on the stand.

    In all likelihood, Reiser's lawyer did not want to put Reiser on the stand. However, it is generally accepted "[i]n a criminal case, [a] lawyer shall abide by the client's decision, after consultation with the lawyer...whether the client will testify []." It is assumed that the right of a client to testify in criminal cases is a constitutional right. See Nix v. Whiteside, 475 U.S. 157, para. 16 []. Even if the client's testimony can only hurt the defense, the lawyer must allow the client to testify if the client so insists. To do otherwise would be unethical and impair the client's rights.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28, 2008 @08:01PM (#23231578)
    Fuck, doesn't even have to be murder. I got a burglary once[0] while drunk, I was read my rights and then got the whole "What are you doing out drinking?" "Why were you making food?" (I was hungry). I repeated that I had been read my rights and that I wished to speak to my lawyer. Cop thought that because I was drunk I 'didn't really mean it' so kept on.

    My lawyer eventually got me off because of that.

    [0]. I went to the hotel kitchen and started making myself food at 4 am. Burglary in the state I was in even if the kitchen was unlocked.
  • by ThinkFr33ly ( 902481 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @08:09PM (#23231704)
    I don't know whether or not Hans is guilty.

    I do think that convicting somebody based on circumstantial evidence is almost always a bad idea. In fact, it's such a bad idea, it usually doesn't happen... and when it does, the judge often steps in and overturns the conviction.

    In this case, you have a guy who did some things that are pretty damn hard to explain away. The day after his wife goes missing he removes the passenger seat from his car and hoses the entire thing down? Seriously?

    Should that be enough to convict him? I don't know. What I do know is that I find it very strange that so many of you are willing to ignore things like that and declare your outrage about his conviction.

    Now that he has been found guilty, perhaps you should explain why you think he is innocent?
  • Re:Reasonable Doubt (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SashaMan ( 263632 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @08:09PM (#23231706)
    Mod parent up. I recently was called for jury duty and was directly asked the question "Do you agree with the statement that is it better to have five guilty men go free then put one innocent man in jail?" by the defense attorney. I think my response was something like "of course," and I remember being shocked that a significant number of potential jurors did not agree. Afterwards, though, I realized that the question really breaks down to "what's an acceptable false positive rate?" 1 in 10? 1 in 100? It made me realize the situation is not as clear cut as I originally thought. Sure, I can barely imagine the horror of being an innocent man in prison, but the fact is that you do need to accept some error rate to live in a lawful society.
  • by UncleTogie ( 1004853 ) * on Monday April 28, 2008 @08:13PM (#23231766) Homepage Journal

    Yes there is a lot in psychology that is guessing. But they are guesses that match real world behavior. But to call it a complete pseudoscience is flat out wrong.

    Try volunteering to spend some time in/around psych hospitals, and pull the other leg: it squirts Ovaltine!

    Most private hospitals are simply cash cows. The usual psychobabble they throw at the parents keeps them happy, while a "healthy" dose of medication keeps the patients calm, if not content. Overmedication is rampant, and I'll use an example I saw:

    "Kent" had been restrained after Monday's fracas over his phone time, and his medication had been bumped up. Flash forward to Wednesday, where he's in the hallway, drying his hair VERY slowly with a hair dryer...

    ...but it wasn't, sadly, plugged in to the wall. Kent never noticed due to his new "therapeutic medication regimen". This is a pretty regular occurance, believe me.

    So yeah, pardon if some of us are cynical.

  • Re:A man... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Gewalt ( 1200451 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @08:16PM (#23231800)

    RTFA, Reiser's defense attorney didn't want to put him on the stand, but Reiser insisted.
    Not only that, but his attorney is NOT a criminal defense attorney. Reiser insisted this guy represent him, even tho the lawyer did not want to. At the very end, he tried to have a mistrial declared because his lawyer was no good.
  • by Tim Browse ( 9263 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @08:19PM (#23231844)

    "...but it may harm your defence if you do not mention, when questioned, something which you later rely on in court."

    The above is from the UK police caution [] (after the govt decided people being silent in interviews was pissing them off).

    No idea how often this clause is actually brought into play though.

  • Re:Free Software (Score:3, Interesting)

    by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @08:19PM (#23231848) Homepage Journal

    Can he work on free software from jail?

    Not a chance. And even if there was, California is a state with death penalty, and for a crime like this, it's quite likely he'll be executed.
  • Re:Free Software (Score:3, Interesting)

    by larry bagina ( 561269 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @08:24PM (#23231944) Journal

    The EFF was petitioning the State of California to allow prisoners to write GPL code. internet/telephone access would be blocked, and some people (Kevin Mitnick types) wouldn't be eligible. I think California does allow some prisoners the opportunity to do programming, but the software is considered property of the State of California.

    He could still write research papers/articles for linux journals/etc, of course (that's more common than you might think).

  • by garcia ( 6573 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @08:35PM (#23232084)
    While I could definitely see why he would kill that thieving bitch of a ex-wife of his, I don't think they proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he definitely killed her.

    I'm sorry but a missing car seat, wet car carpet, and a single drop of blood in a house they at one time shared along with random books about murder (I have about 15 of them on my bookshelves and at least one in my car because I like to read) doesn't mean someone killed someone else.

    His kid said he saw his mother leave and there's no body. The bitch probably is back in Russia and from what I have read, and please correct me if I missed something as I was only watching what Threat Level was providing, no one even took the time to see if she was over in Russia like Hans' defense claimed.

    Sounds like there was proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the jury was bored with his testimony (more that I read via Threat Level) and not the prosecutor's. If anything, this has more to do with juries being fucking stupid than Hans killing her.

    That all said, he probably did do it -- she stole tons of money from him and seemed to come to the US just because she was now "married" and didn't do it for love -- I just don't think they proved that he did actually do it.
  • by fishbowl ( 7759 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @08:37PM (#23232112)
    >you can't convict a person of first degree murder.

    "you" can't but the State of California can, and did.
    Judge and Jury didn't find reasonable doubt for the accusation.
    That car situation turned out to be just as bad for him as I said it was going to be.
    He really, really needed to find that damn seat with no blood on it and the correct serial numbers.

    If Nina ever shows up alive, she's in trouble.

    The argument relies on Russia being a lawless place where a person of international interest can simply disappear.
    That may be true to some degree, but she has to *remain* disappeared for *life*. What's she getting out of this
    that would make such a difficult life worthwhile?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28, 2008 @08:39PM (#23232148)
    Devil's advocate:

    Well, actually, I'm pretty sure you'd have to kill him first.
    Objection. Sustained.

    And you'd have to rip out one of the seats of your truck, hose down the inside of the truck leaving an inch of water, and claim that you removed the seat in order to sleep in the car, in the inch of water.
    I have, more than once, thought of removing the passenger seat in my Mustang and putting something more interesting there (such as an LCD hooked up to a Linux box in the trunk, or a fully automatic machine gun turret, or what-have-you). Hosing it down with an inch of water? Maybe he just had some really, really old Jack in the Box in there, couldn't get the smell out, and didn't realize that trucks don't have hull plugs. "Shit, there goes my bed. Well, where the fuck else am I going to sleep?" Your average hacker tends to think in the present, I've noticed.

    Hell, Vincent van Gogh cut off a chunk of his ear. Just because you're weird doesn't mean you killed someone. I would expect a Slashdotter to relate to eccentricities in his fellow geeks.

    And they'd have to find your friends blood in your house as well.
    I guarantee if you searched some of my friends' old apartments, you'd find samples of pretty much all of our blood, with the drunkenness and fencing with replica swords and head-butting and general rowdiness. If I went and jumped off a cliff in the middle of nowhere, that doesn't mean they killed me. If you found blood in their cars, it doesn't mean they killed me.

    And you'd have to testify in your own defense,
    Like an idiot, yes.

    and do a piss poor job of convincing the jury that you're telling the truth.
    The two go hand in hand.

    Yeah that'd do it, genius.
    Do me a favor. Next time you're summoned for jury duty, print out a copy of your comment, and hand it to the attorneys.

    The legal system is broken because some of our peers do not properly perform their duties as jurors.

  • Down here... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by hummassa ( 157160 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @08:52PM (#23232328) Homepage Journal
    You cannot prosecute for murder without a dead body period. Even if you have witnesses, it's not beyond a reasonable doubt that the witness isn't lying... as you don't have no fscking remains.
  • Re:So... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fishbowl ( 7759 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @08:53PM (#23232358)
    >If his testimony were allowed ... It would have guaranteed a mistrial.

    Nowhere is it established that Sturgeon killed anyone. And nobody called Sturgeon as a witness for any purpose whatsoever.
    It would be very different, if there were any evidence that Sturgeon killed anyone (say, because he was testifying from prison or something.)

    It's a pretty serious problem for this notion, that none of the people Sturgeon claimed to have killed, are dead.
  • Re:A man... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Zordak ( 123132 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @09:06PM (#23232482) Homepage Journal

    Actually, a defense attorney almost never wants his client to testify, because---to be frank---most of them are guilty as sin and lousy liars. But a lot of them are really arrogant and think they'll have the jury eating out of their hands. Those guys are a prosecutor's dream. You can have the toughest case in the world, and then the defendant gets on the stand, and makes your case for you (kind of like Hans Reiser did).

    And just because I have to (yes, I really do)... Yes, IAAL, but I don't represent you, and this is not legal advice. If you are charged with a crime and you rely on this post as legal advice, you are a moron. Actually, if you rely on any post on Slashdot as legal advice for any reason, you are a moron. Also, I do patents, copyrights and trademark, not murder. So assume I don't know what I'm talking about.

  • by ari_j ( 90255 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @09:40PM (#23232846)
    Actually, your silence can be used against you in court. The correct procedure is this:

    1. "Am I free to go?" If the answer is yes, then go straight to your lawyer's office. If the answer is no, then continue.
    2. "Read my Miranda warnings to me immediately."
    3. "I invoke my right to counsel."

    Through a sad quirk of the jurisprudence, your silence before you are given your Miranda warnings can be used against you. Silence after you invoke your right to counsel (which is stronger than invoking your right to remain silent) cannot.
  • by stmfreak ( 230369 ) <> on Monday April 28, 2008 @09:42PM (#23232870) Journal
    Guy's wife disappears. He then immediately removes the seat from his car...

    Coincidentally, not immediately. Your bias is showing.

    This murder was not proved. They have no body, they have insufficient blood to prove she is dead. Typical human holds 8 pints IIRC, that is much more than a 6" stain. They have no evidence of planning to commit on his part. All they have is a defendant that got up on the stand and delivered answers that the jury found weird, strange, not-normal.

    So they alienated him, found him strange, and thus, were no longer a jury of his peers. Just a jury finding that the defendant was odd and probably hiding something and since we're in a murder trial, it must be that.

    I have no special knowledge of this case. He may be a raging lunatic for all I know. But the one take-away that all /.'ers should heed is this:

    When in court, on trial for your life, subject to judgement from average citizens who have no hope of understanding you, your mannerisms or your bizarre hobbies and interests, keep your mouth shut.
  • by plantman-the-womb-st ( 776722 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @09:46PM (#23232916)
    This is why I don't work for that a law firm any more. We did a lot of criminal defence and the one problem was often the mentality of the accused. The Persecutor often had very little evidence that supported thier case, but the sad fact of the judicial system is that the week link is the jury. I should say, the jury selection PROCESS. How many folks out there in "real-world" land do you think actually believe that things like CSI are "the way it really happens"? Saddly those folks don't make jury selection, they are predisposed to believe DNA==Guilty. SO by the time you select a *impartial* jury (i.e. folks who tilted their answers to jury selection questions to show that, no, they don't watch modern televisin what's this DNA stuff?) you got a panel or 12 Judy Judy watching MORONS who will be swayed by which ever attorney *looks* ballsy enough.

    There was the last case I helped with (civil, not criminal) for them (I was the *tech guy* who ran the powerpoint display) where we were representing a homeless man who's throat had been torn out (yes, he uses the same voice box similar to the tracheotomy having smokers) who was sueing the police for medical damages (he had been sleeping under a tree when they were chasing a criminal(not him) and as far as the cop dog was concerned, he *looked* guilty, don't believe that crap about the cop dog following a scent, these are the dogs trained to attack and disengage on a word (shedard dogs) not follow trails (hounds))(by the way, before everyone jumps and says "but he's homeless, so he was just money grubbing, DSHS (Department of Social and Health Services) were putting a lein on the settlement outcome, had we got what we were after (money wise) it would have only have paid the debt to the hospital that treated him). Our attorney did a FANTASTIC job during jury selection (only a 6 person jury, they do that in civil court) but he advised over and over and over, don't take the stand.

    He did.

    I know what the real tale was, I'd met and talked to the defendant, but, he was homeless, very mentally unstable (as most are) and the jury thought he sounded crazy. End of story. No win. One branch of the government did not have to hand over tax payer money to an other banch of government. Cause he *seemed* unhinged.

    Similar is this case. Hans is an egotist. He *knows* he's smarter than you. And he spews contempt at your ignorance for not realizing this. Ask anyone who's ever debated with him in a forum. He acts as though you are nothing cause he knows all. Well, how well you think that flew with the proles on the jury? I can tell you, it didn't.

    All they saw was a smart man telling them they were idiots. And that, they don't like. So they voted for the lynching.

    The fault in out justice system is that our fate is in the hands of the lowest common denomiator.
    May Mr Saturday come for us all.
  • false positive rates (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28, 2008 @10:37PM (#23233430)

    Afterwards, though, I realized that the question really breaks down to "what's an acceptable false positive rate?"
    I don't think that's what the question means at all. Superficially, the question seems to ask whether or not you believe any false positives are acceptable. You interpreted it as a continuum of possibility (in the real world), and you report that other jurors took the petty and vindictive view that law is about punishing the doers of misdeeds rather than protecting society from harm.

    Here, specifically, is where I think your "must choose acceptable false positive rate" premise strays from protecting the free back into punishing the wicket:

    ...the fact is that you do need to accept some error rate to live in a lawful society.
    No, you must not accept false positives. To accept false positives is to accept that law itself may harm society. Eroding the burden of proof and the threshold of evidence may serve to nail the bad guys, but they also serve to harm the innocent. Unfortunately, some "evil bastard" who "deserves" punishment will walk when we stand up for the rule of law and for the rights of human beings in order to avoid setting precedent that increases the incidence of false positives.

    Citizens at large, as your comment on the other jurors' response illustrates, are more concerned with punishment than with the protection of human beings. I believe that the same jury, given the same quality and quantity of evidence, would be less likely to convict on a less serious charge:

    Manslaughter? "Well, this evidence is incriminating but shaky, and it's important to avoid convicting the wrong person since even if we accidentally let the killer off since this was not a crime of malice."

    Murder 1? "Well, this evidence shaky but incriminating, and it's important to punish the person who did this if at all possible even if we accidentally convicting the wrong person since this was a crime of malice."

    Your appraisal is of what happens in practice, but it should not be what we strive for as human beings. In practice, our system may find false positives, but we must strive to eliminate them, not merely be satisfied with them through some perverse obsession with punishment. Convictions are about protecting human beings from harm, whether at the hands of alley/corporate thugs or the hands of the law overzealously pursuing "justice".
  • Re:Down here... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @10:47PM (#23233518) Homepage
    You are right. Believe it or not, the "body" in question is that of the accused.
  • by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @11:10PM (#23233714)
    what makes no sense to me is why the jury was not told that her paramour has confessed to killing 8 people. Given two suspects, both whom are intimate with the deceased and one is a mass murderer, would this not sort of raise a reasonable doubt about the other? Given the the murders were also inspired by domestic issues (i.e. not robbery, etc...) surely this is even more relevant. Given the murder knew the defendant very well (best friend) and presumably would know how to get to his house and car. Know his habits. etc... Why was this not presented?

    Given the evidence against resiser it seems pretty damning for him in the absence of a plausible alternative. But there was a very plausible one.
  • Re:Down here... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Hal_Porter ( 817932 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @11:16PM (#23233780)
    There was a famous murder case where the murderer dissolved people in acid because he misunderstood habeas corpus to mean it was impossible to convict someone of murder if the victim's body could not be found. He was completely wrong of course and got pwned by the noose. []

    There's a good film about him too []
  • by RenderSeven ( 938535 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @11:23PM (#23233832)
    You certainly dont work for that law firm based on your spelling, sentence structure, or ability to persuade. (Thats my wry little way of saying I think you're lying about the law firm bit by the way).

    As a former juror, let me be the first to say "screw you". All 14 of us (dont forget alternates) worked really hard to get our decision right, even in the cruddy little case we saw. Two days agonizing over it, worrying that we were being swayed by personalities or facts, reviewing written testimony over and over again. Its really easy to spew here on Slashdot because ultimately its completely meaningless. I had to look someone in the eye and say 'guilty', and probably ruin their life, and it was really *really* hard.

    I will *never* second-guess a jury after that. Even OJ! Unless you've sat through the trial and been in the jury room, you have absolutely no right to pass judgement on them or the burden they carry. So you with the laptop projector and the speech impediment calling me a "moron"? Bite me.

    Lawyers cant get smart thoughtful people *off* a jury, because people somehow get really smart in groups of 12. Strangely it mostly works just like it should. I bet some of them even watch CSI and Judge Judy once or twice, and *still* managed to ask intelligent questions, make rational or impassioned arguments, and most of all be willing to take criticism from others and force yourself to re-examine your own position. I've never seen anything like it... it's like an anti-slashdot, if anyone here could imagine such a thing. Hell, someone even quit in the middle of deliberations and was mostly afraid that if they told us why they might influence us one way or another. People get it right most of the time. Even the people who aren't as smart as you are.
  • by Achoi77 ( 669484 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @11:44PM (#23234004)

    Mod parent up. This is absolutely the case. I've been called to jury duty several times, and have been rejected every time as well.

    The selection process is such that even if one side finds a juror that they may think may sway to one side, the other side will simply excuse them. Of course the idea is that once you are all done with the process, you should end up with total middle-of-the-road people that *should be* completely neutral to the case.

    But there is another hidden factor involved: how easily does the attorney have a chance against persuading the juror to agree on their arguement? So pretty much you just end up with the dumbest, most gullible people on the jury making the final judgement call. These are the people you would totally not trust for any important decision making. (apologies for being elitist, but you just had to be there)

    The last time I had to go, I took a quick look at who they were excusing, and who they kept. They kept the unemployed, the single parent, the person with a criminal record, etc. None of which had any form of education higher than a HS diploma, if that. The lowest common denominator was laughably stereotypical. They booted out the accountants, the doctors, the lawyer, and the tech geeks. If you went to graduate school, there was no chance you wouldn't be dismissed.

    Attorneys are not interested in a fair trial; they have money riding on their case. They are looking for people that will listen to their 'vote for me!' speech.

  • Re:Free Software (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Gavagai80 ( 1275204 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @11:51PM (#23234066) Homepage
    He's not eligible to be executed, there have to be special circumstances (like multiple murders, etc). Even if he were, California isn't Texas... it takes 20 years to execute someone here.
  • by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @12:23AM (#23234298) Journal
    I do not get the impression that lawyers want smart thoughtful people on a jury.

    Depends on the lawyer. My uncle was a bank inspector which caused him to assist lawyers prosecuting bank employees on several occasions. The prosecutors ALWAYS wanted smart, intelligent people who could understand how the defendants had defrauded the bank. Of course the defence wanted idiots who could not understand any of it.

    My uncle joked that jury selection was as simple a looking at the newspaper the potential juror carried into the court room: FT and they were out, the Sun and they'd be selected!
  • Re:Free Software (Score:3, Interesting)

    by crankyspice ( 63953 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @12:37AM (#23234380)

    Can he work on free software from jail? He won't commercially gain from the crime and he can contribute for the good of society as a whole (in fact, provide a benefit that the world can use).

    California inmates are not permitted access to any networks, including (especially) the Internet. Personal electronics in the cells can only be those which have no memory function (i.e., plain-vanilla type writers, etc). There's no real prohibition against writing code in prison (though sending it out to the public might be problematic, as correspondence cannot be in 'code' -- would be an interesting, and probably futile, attempt to convince the COs that C/C++/whatever is a legitimate "language" for the purposes of personal correspondence), but he wouldn't be able to compile it. The computers the inmates do have (infrequent, highly controlled) access to are for training programs or for use in clerk-type positions only and are locked down (and running Windows, insert jokes about how effectively a Windows box can be locked down here).

    (I have a few pro bono post-conviction-relief clients in CDCR custody, and I'm a mentor in a program that visits prisons to work one-on-one with soon-to-be-parolees.)

  • by fishbowl ( 7759 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @12:49AM (#23234502)
    >...not with the verdict, necessarily. The jury heard more evidence in more detail then I did, and more than any of you did.

    As far as I know, no evidence or testimony was sealed; some attorneys have posted indicating that they have read the transcripts.
    What evidence and what detail do you imagine the jury heard that would not be in the transcripts?
  • by arivanov ( 12034 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @02:13AM (#23235012) Homepage
    I hate to tell you, but that is what you end up if you ship a mail order blad' sorry bride for yourself.

    So beware of those Anastasia International banner ads on Slashdot. Be afraid, be very afraid.

    Disclaimer - I am half of the same nationality myself and I have observed how my mom has dealt with my dad (another geek) for 25+ years. No thanks. None of that in my house. Not now, not ever.

    Sad, really sad, and IMO totally selfinflicted.
  • So ... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Sepiraph ( 1162995 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @06:15AM (#23236020)
    the missing wife is a friend of a MASS-MURDERER, and yet the police decide to not press charge against him and instead decide that the ex-husband is the more likely suspect ... I think there is a good chance they got the wrong guy.
  • by garylian ( 870843 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @12:12PM (#23239524)
    It isn't just engineers and IT savvy people that show they have brains. It's pretty much anyone that the lawyers know will see right through the B.S. of their case.

    I've been summoned for jury duty several times, and never had to sit through a trial. Most were criminal cases, but the civil cases are really a hoot.

    For one, the plaintive's attorney was asking questions like "Do you have a problem with people that file lawsuits for pain and suffering?" About 3/4ths of the potential jurors were tossed immediately. The judge then said "Don't try that stunt again."

    For another, I got excused because I used to be a paramedic, and the last thing the plaintive's lawyer wanted was someone who was intimately familiar with accident scenes and the likeliness of injuries from various accidents. The judge actually snickered when I said "I used to be a paramedic, and I never saw anyone with those kind of spinal injuries from a 20MPH rear end collision."

    Criminal cases are one thing, but the sheer stupidity that lawyers look for in civil cases is astounding. It's not a jury of your peers. It's a jury of the dumbest the plaintive cound find.
  • by jjohnson ( 62583 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @01:36PM (#23240900) Homepage
    I had a philosophy professor who was excluded during jury selection. He asked the defense attorney later in the bathroom why he'd been excluded. The defense attorney explained that he'd put "Philosopher's Quarterly" on his questionnaire as part of his regular reading material, and explained largely the same thing that you did: The highly educated people in logical fields don't listen to the attorneys, they try to figure it all out for themselves, and often get it very wrong. They come up with oddball explanations for various bits of evidence that makes sense to them; worse, they can influence the rest of the jury with pet theories that don't stand up to normal legal analysis.

    It was an interesting take on intelligence. Whether or not it's a good thing, I don't know.

Space is to place as eternity is to time. -- Joseph Joubert