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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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  • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) * <qg@biodome.org> on Monday April 28, 2008 @07:34PM (#23231238) Homepage Journal
    No evidence? No body? No murder weapon? Who cares! The prosecutor used Power Point in his closing.. The defendant is "weird".

    Oh well, maybe Hans will confess and reveal where he stashed the body now.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 28, 2008 @07:42PM (#23231332)
      It's written in his journal!
      • by RiotingPacifist ( 1228016 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @09:22PM (#23232656)
        This is a FAT32 partition, it comes from microsoft.
        It has a 4GB limit, in the age of 5GB DVDs why would you ship a product with a 4GB limit?
        It just doesn't make any sense!
        If this is FAT32 partition, the jury must acquit!!
        • Re:The FAT defence (Score:4, Informative)

          by VGPowerlord ( 621254 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @01:28AM (#23234750)
          You know, I'd consider marking that as Funny if I had mod points... and if you weren't confusing FAT16 and FAT32.
          • Re:The FAT defence (Score:4, Informative)

            by RiotingPacifist ( 1228016 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @03:15AM (#23235316)
            You Know, I'd probably mark you as informative if i had mod points...The fact I'm didn't confuse anything and your post isn't informative at all wouldn't stop me though.

            While I know where you were coming from you got your limits wrong
            Partition limits FAT12:32MB FAT16:2GB* FAT32:8TB
            File size limit for all 4GB --that's what I was referring to BTW

            *upon further inspection there is a 4GB mode for 64k clusters (not widely supported), so your not wrong about the limits but you are wrong about me being wrong

            Anyway I hope this posts explains the factual correctness of a joke, I will admit I was initially going to just refer to the partition a FAT partition but then I realised somebody might be running some obscure FAT64 that hasn't got the 4GB file limit and it could of spawned an entire thread of FAT comments debating its utility, so I stuck 32 in to avoid a pointless thread.
    • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @07:42PM (#23231334)

      Oh well, maybe Hans will confess and reveal where he stashed the body now.

      Probably a blob, or maybe split under a well-balanced grove of trees. Even if he can't use the journal to recover the data, he should at least be able to get the last-modified date, right?

      (Why does it smell of sulfur all of a sudden, and what am I doing in this handbasket?)

    • The sad truth is he is 'weird' and should never have been permitted, by his attorney, to take the stand.

    • by OMNIpotusCOM ( 1230884 ) * on Monday April 28, 2008 @07:43PM (#23231344) Homepage Journal
      I'm sorry, but that's ridiculous. Last I knew you had to prove that he planned to kill someone with a first degree murder charge. If you can't prove she's dead, and nobody saw her die, and there's no evidence that she's anywhere other than where he says, you can't convict a person of first degree murder.

      Can you imagine what would happen if this guy was black?
      • by the.Ceph ( 863988 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @07:53PM (#23231484)

        Can you imagine what would happen if this guy was black?
        We wouldn't be reading about it on /. and the prosecution would have had an easier time getting the conviction.
    • 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 badasscat ( 563442 ) <basscadet75@@@yahoo...com> on Monday April 28, 2008 @08:08PM (#23231690)
      No evidence? No body? No murder weapon? Who cares! The prosecutor used Power Point in his closing.. The defendant is "weird".

      Did you bother to RTFA? There was plenty of evidence. A body is not required to arrest and convict somebody of murder. Otherwise all anybody would have to do would be to cremate the body and poof! No crime!

      The article gives just a couple of examples, but they're obviously examples of many. The guy spent 11 full days on the stand. The one pretty incriminating example of evidence cited in the article is the fact that he removed the passenger seat of his car just after his wife's disappearance, then hosed down the interior and left an inch of standing water on the floor boards. Now, you tell me why any average person has reason to do that. I can tell you that in 20 years of car ownership and six different cars, I have never once taken the passenger seat out of my car, thrown it away and then hosed down the interior, and I don't know anyone else who has either. His explanation was that he liked to sleep in the car and wanted the extra room. Does this sound plausible to you?

      So, let's just look at this *one* piece of evidence. Guy's wife disappears. He then immediately removes the seat from his car, which is never seen again, and he hoses down the interior of the car. That doesn't paint a picture for you? Now, let's say you ask the guy why he did that and he gives you a laughably ridiculous explanation. And let's say this goes on for 11 days as the prosecution asks him to explain every other piece of evidence, and his explanations are no less ridiculous in each case.

      The standard for guilt or innocence is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. That doesn't mean *any* doubt, and that's the mistake people often make. It's *reasonable* doubt. Is it reasonable to assume he was telling the truth about that car seat? Would any reasonable person do what he did with that car seat? And if all his other explanations about the evidence presented were similar, is it reasonable to assume he was telling the truth about anything?
      • 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 stmfreak ( 230369 ) <stmfreak&gmail,com> 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.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      The defendant is "weird".
      Oh shit!
  • 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).
    • by ettlz ( 639203 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @07:49PM (#23231416) Journal
      Cue the chroot jokes.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by arth1 ( 260657 )

      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: (Score:3, Interesting)

      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 detritus. ( 46421 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @07:41PM (#23231310)

    I say let him sit in prison until his wife reappears alive. Nobody abandons their kids and cuts off contact with all family like that.
    Getting caught with books on murder, evading police surveillance, having a front seat removed from your car, soaked in 3 inches of water?
    This guy is a real piece of work. Saying he's narcissistic is an understatement.

    Acquit him, and he's another OJ Simpson, free of ever being charged again.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rossz ( 67331 )
      Except the kids were sent to stay with their grandmother. In Russia. Funny how that worked out.
  • SHUT THE FUCK UP. Honestly, that is the advice you need. SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP. Don't talk. Don't answer questions. If you must talk, please state the following: 1) "Am I under arrest?" If YES, then say, "I want a lawyer." If NO, get up and leave. If you co-operate and help them out and do them a favor, whatever--they will talk you into taking the blame. They'll have you convinced you did it even if you didn't. PLEASE, SHUT UP.
    • by snarkh ( 118018 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @07:47PM (#23231402)
      Don't answer questions. If you must talk, please state the following: 1) "Am I under arrest?" If YES, then say, "I want a lawyer."

      This line of action may come across rather as rather peculiar during court proceedings.
    • by Abreu ( 173023 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @08:08PM (#23231692)
      Really kids, listen to this guy.

      I once spent 48hrs in custody and 2 years of going to hearings for not listening to this basic piece of advise.

      I ended up proving myself innocent of what I was being accused of (and the real guilty party, my boss at the time, was never accused).

      So, I learned two valuable lessons after this ordeal:

      1- If you find out that your boss is doing unethical and illegal stuff, quit your job.

      2- If you find yourself being questioned by the police about something, ask first if you are under arrest. If you are, don't say a word to the cops until you get your lawyer to speak for you.
    • by gd23ka ( 324741 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @08:10PM (#23231722) Homepage
      I'll second that. I wish I could mod your post up all the way to +10 and change the font color to yellow on black.

      What you describe is entirely correct. When an officer starts asking you questions if you know what's good for you UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES ANSWER any questions or volunteer any information. Instead and again like you said: Ask "Officer am I under arrest?". If you're not then leave. If you are, tell them "Officer I am invoking my right to remain silent". They will threaten that remaining silent only makes things worse. In many cases they will threaten with arrest if you remain silent or they will offer to help you if you admit to the charge. A POLICE OFFICER HAS NO INFLUENCE ON CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS OTHER AS A WITNESS. A police officer can not reduce your charges, a police officer can NOT drop charges. But... they are permitted to lie to you in order to obtain incriminatory information. They are permitted to offer false legal advice if it serves the prosecution(!).

      You can expect some very tense moments with officers when you deny them permission to search your vehicle or your property or if you remain silent. I have been there. Be prepared for pressure but know that in the end it's better to get intense with the Officer than with your future cell mates (not that I have been there ;-) )
    • by jd ( 1658 ) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {kapimi}> on Monday April 28, 2008 @08:13PM (#23231756) Homepage Journal
      ...that any person who represents themselves has a fool for a client. Courts follow procedures that are highly complex and use a language that has become so seperate from English that if they used Latin it would probably be easier to follow. If lawyers, with countless years of study, notoriously hard examinations, and then countless more years of professional experience, with numerous assistants and paralegals for reference, can make error after error in a courtroom, it might just be a teensy bit harder for the layman to do as well.

      One must also remember that the US, as with the UK, use the adversarial court system. This attempts to establish guilt. Other countries use the inquisitorial system, which attempts to ascertain the truth of the matter. Both systems produce questionable results and have giant catalogues of miscarriages of justice to their names, which leads me to conclude that you either want a blend of the two or neither, but purely one or the other is inadequate. However, that's not the system used anywhere, as far as I know.

      Do I think Hans Reiser is guilty or innocent? I don't think I know enough to say, for the above reason. I don't think the system exists yet to establish that with any certainty. I think he's guilty of stupidity - you don't ask a SQL database engineer to do assembly code programming, he knows that, so he should have been quite capable of inferring that you don't ask a software engineer to do lawyering. Beyond that, I don't know.

      Sadly, his stupidity isn't grounds for appeal. He can't claim that he misrepresented himself. That doesn't work. We shall probably never know what really happened or why - again, the US system doesn't really try to establish such things. We shall also never really know to what extent Hans Reisers' autism affected the trial. In the legal system as it exists, criminal insanity (not knowing right from wrong) is only sometimes recogized, other forms of insanity or mental abnormality are neither recognized nor considered mitigating factors in a person's actions or a person's evidence. I don't like that either, but again we have the system we have.

      This case proves only one thing to me, and that is that we'd almost be better off with no system at all. Not quite, but almost.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jhealy1024 ( 234388 )
      IANAL, but it's not quite as black-and-white as "if not under arrest, get up and leave". Make sure you're always courteous, even when you KNOW you're right.

      The ACLU has some hints about this:

          http://www.aclu.org/FilesPDFs/dwb%20bust%20card7_04.pdf [aclu.org]
    • by Angst Badger ( 8636 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @08:25PM (#23231948)
      Amen. Not talking to the police is the first -- and almost only -- rule in dealing with the police unless you are reporting a crime of which you are the victim. Just don't do it. In general, the most you are required to do is to confirm your identity, and you can do that by handing the arresting officer your license. They may feed you a line of shit about your refusal to talk being suspicious. Ignore it. If it comes up at trial, your attorney will rightly dismiss it as an example of someone simply following sound legal advice. Keep your mouth closed even if you are as innocent as the driven snow. If you shut the fuck up and let your attorney do the talking, the case might not even make it to trial. Concocting amateur legal theories is fun on Slashdot, but it is bizarre, self-destructive behavior in real life.

      Let this case also stand as an object lesson in that other important rule: Once your attorney is there to do the talking, take his or her advice. If you are, oh, let's say an expert computer scientist with an advanced understanding of filesystem design, you wouldn't invite some random schmoe from the street to head your development team. That would be stupid. The converse applies: you are the random schmoe, so let the person with the legal degrees and an advanced understanding of criminal trials make the legal decisions.

      Oh, and another thing: don't murder your estranged wife. Murder your uncle, your neighbor, or your boss if you absolutely must kill somebody. And then paint "PRIME SUSPECT" in three-foot-high red letters on your house. That is still an order of magnitude less suspicious than having your fucking wife go missing during the middle of an acrimonious custody dispute.

      Now if you'll pardon me, the sudden revelation that any clueless jackhole can build a filesystem has me itching to fire up the ol' compiler. ;)
    • by plover ( 150551 ) * on Monday April 28, 2008 @08:33PM (#23232064) Homepage Journal
      If you're innocent, yes, by all means, shut the hell up. But if you're actually guilty, please feel free to talk all you want. Lie to the cops, tell them things that contradict other easily proven things, make stuff up, blame other people.

      I have no particular interest in offering guilty people a defense for what they've done. If you've intentionally murdered someone, please go to jail and get the hell out of our society.

  • by slashqwerty ( 1099091 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @07:42PM (#23231328)
    Summary of evidence:

    1. Reiser showed up at his childrens' school the day after Labor day, the first school day after Nina disappeared and a day when Nina was supposed to pick up the kids. The prosecuter claims he was making sure the police didn't show up to ask where the kids' mother was. Reiser claims he went there to add his mother, Beverly Palmer, to the list of people that could pick up the kids. He was scheduled to pick up the kids the next day.

    2. Hans' Honda CRX was missing the front passenger seat. It went missing sometime after he got a speeding ticket (after Nina disappeared) and before the police seized the vehicle.

    3. Hans admits his hosed out the inside of the car. He removed the seat and threw it away. He also removed the carpet and disposed of it.

    4. The car was also missing a piece of trim that Hans admits to throwing out.

    5. Han's admits he was trying to hide the car from the police.

    6. Nina's van was found three miles from Hans' home. Her cell phone was found in the van with the battery removed.

    7. When Hans was taken into custody his cell phone did not have a battery in it. On the stand he claimed that he did not remove the battery from his own phone. He later admitted he lied about that. He actually removed it frequently after Nina disappeared.

    8. Along with his cell phone, Hans was carrying his passport and several thousand dollars in cash.

    9. Reiser was seen hosing down the driveway to his mother's home shortly after Nina disappeared.

    10. The police found two books on murder in Reiser's car. He had purchased them with cash shortly after Nina disappeared.

    11. He paid a $5,000 retainer to a criminal defense attorney just days after Nina disappeared, while the investigation was still a missing person's case. He didn't even bother to try calling her to find out if she was alive before he shelled out for the retainer.

    My personal opinion is that Hans killed Nina in a fit of rage, then scrambled to cover up the evidence. I did not see any evidence whatsoever of premeditation. So I can not at all understand how this jury reached a verdict of First degree murder.

  • 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 Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @10:59PM (#23233630)
      For a lot of reasons, people will confess to crimes they didn't commit. There are mountains of literature on it so you can do research as to theories why and conditions that cause it and such. Suffice to say it happens. So the courts don't just take any random confession at face value. You'll notice that Sturgeon isn't in prison. If you confess to 8 murders, and the court believes you, you'd better believe you are going to be behind bars. That he isn't says that they don't find his confessions to be at all credible.

      Now this is important, because otherwise, it would create a "Get out of murder free" situation more or less. As an example:

      Suppose you and I conspire together. You are going to murder someone, but I agree that if you get caught I'll confess to it at your trial. This would of course create reasonable doubt for you. However, I'll make sure that there is plenty of evidence showing I didn't do it (for example be on camera somewhere at the time of the murder) so when they bring me to trial, I get off. Bingo, you got away with murder.

      This isn't even to mention the problem of people with mental problems who confess to things they didn't do for any number of reasons.

      A good judge isn't going to allow evidence, on either side, that is likely false. They also aren't going to allow in evidence that is highly prejudicial if it isn't relevant to the case, even if it is true. For example on the prosecution side prior bad acts are limited. They can be admitted to evidence if they relate to the case, for example if someone is accused of robbery and he has 5 robbery convictions, well that's relevant because it establishes a pattern of behaviour. However if you were on trial for tax evasion, they couldn't get in a domestic violence conviction, since all that would do is prejudice the jury and it isn't relevant.
  • by fred fleenblat ( 463628 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @07:44PM (#23231370) Homepage
    this part of the article caught my eye:

    "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.)"

  • 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@nOsPAM.gmail.com> 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.
  • 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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by solraith ( 1203394 )

      Now that he has been found guilty, perhaps you should explain why you think he is innocent?
      People are innocent until proven guilty. Hans was never proven guilty, therefore he is innocent.
  • by digital photo ( 635872 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @08:20PM (#23231856) Homepage Journal
    I've been reading through several of the coverage pages and wow...

    You'd think that given all of the evidence was so circumstantial, that he'd just keep his mouth shut or say as little as possible, but instead, he just keeps digging himself a deeper and deeper hole.

    Advice for hyperactive folks who lack social skills who are accused of a crime not committed:

    1) take a chill pill. no, really, chill. now is NOT the time to expound on the intricacies of your one and only view of the world.

    2) you've got a lawyer. Use the lawyer as a filter. If you don't like the lawyer, get another one. If you don't know how, find someone who can help you manage stuff. this is another example of where you really shouldn't try to learn how to do it yourself, just because you can.

    3) you don't "argue" with judges. You argue with other lawyers. Arguing with a judge is... well, it's just not wise.

    I would have said that the lawyer was incompetent, but it sounds like the lawyer got fed up with his client arguing with him. Who's the lawyer and who's the guy being accused of 1st degree murder? Right. Either listen to the lawyer or get one you can work with.

    He had a good case where the defense stood on fairly firm ground. Then, he opened his mouth and tried to explain things according to his world view, to the point where he could easily be painted as someone who was just not reliable.

    There's alot to take away from this case. And unfortunately, one of those things is that "just being you", or "just being an unsociable geek" is not a valid defense.

    Hopefully, he can appeal and perhaps prove his innocence there.

  • "oj is guilty" according to whites is to "oj is guilty" according to blacks


    "reiser is guilty" according to average joes is to "reiser is guilty" according to _____

    hint: rhymes with "gerds" or "neeks"

    that was a joke, but seriously, this case reveals sociology going on here. if reiser didn't program a file system, not only would no one here care, but most everyone protesting his conviction here would probably agree with it

    what does writing a file system have to do with first degree murder? absolutely nothing

    except according to all the douchebags here protesting this murderer's innocence here on slashdot

    prejudice according to clique. tribalism. its a powerful motivator. just look at all the comments here grandstanding on this murderer's innocence. as if they would know better than a jury

    you don't

    you present two sides of a case to a jury of your peers. they decide. there is no better of arbiter of justice. don't like the verdict. why do you think you know better?

    you don't

    deal with it. move on. the guy is murdering asshole. according to a jury. good enough for me. why isn't good enough for you?
  • by csoto ( 220540 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @08:23PM (#23231912)
    Ba dum dum. Thank you. I'm here all week. Have the lobster!
  • by Tumbleweed ( 3706 ) * on Monday April 28, 2008 @08:50PM (#23232310)
    ...he created one killer file system!
  • by Toonol ( 1057698 ) on Monday April 28, 2008 @10:14PM (#23233208)
    ...not with the verdict, necessarily. The jury heard more evidence in more detail then I did, and more than any of you did.

    I'm disappointed in the majority of slashdotters who are are convinced he's innocent. Do you realize that is really stupid? Why is a group of people who are so rational about technology, say, or science, willing to believe something they just can flat out not know?

    He might have been guilty, he might have been innocent. The devil lies in the details, which the jury knows better than you.

    Obviously it's out of some feeling of kinship with the guy, but, you know, that is a really poor reason. I swear; the reasoning here is about on par with somebody convinced that vaccinations cause autism.
    • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @03:33AM (#23235384)
      And zealot mentality isn't necessary logical. To them, a major OSS figure being convicted of murder is a blow to OSS. Thus it is a bad thing and they don't want to believe it's real.

      I mean look at the crap with the OLPC. When it was all OSS, all the time, the zealots had nothing but praise. They talked about how great it was not because of the software, but because of how it would help children and bridge the technology gap and such. Now they are hating on it, even though it still promises the same fundamental world-changing things, it isn't within their dogma anymore so they hate it.

      It's the same sort of thing as religious zealotry. You can be a zealot about ideals other than a religion, but it leads to the same kind of attitude and though process. When something doesn't fit in your beliefs, you deny it and explain it away.
  • by uncreativeslashnick ( 1130315 ) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @11:38AM (#23238888)
    I am an attorney. I try jury cases, civil litigation these days, but I worked for a short stint as a prosecutor. I have selected many jurors.

    I can tell you first off that most attorneys do NOT want engineers on their juries. The reason is not at all that we don't want critical thinkers. Rather, it's because most engineers are a lot more like Hans Reiser than they would like to admit. Engineers have a tendency to glorify logic to the point that they ignore common sense. The law, and particularly criminal law, is not a science. No one can conclusively proove that a person committed a crime in the same way that a mathematician can prove his theorums. Engineers also tend to be arrogant, and tend to believe that they know more than everyone else about everything. I ought to know, my brother is one. And so the fear is that engineers will have a marked tendency to consider the evidence in an unfair way, to ignore what the lawyers say about the evidence, and to bully everyone else in the jury room into a point of view that does not give due credit to all of the circumstances and the evidence.

    Take Reiser's case. The man is so obviously guilty it reeks. An Engineer might say, well they haven't even proved that she's dead. But somehow we are supposed to believe that she left a car full of groveries on the side of the road, failed to show up to her best friend's house, and left her kids in the hands of a man that she hates so that she could fly away to Russia? That's ridiculous. A lawyer would say that you don't have to prove something as absolutely true, but only beyond a *reasonable* doubt. It isn't reasonable to believe that this woman left her car, her groceries, her friends, and her kids to fly off to Russia, where nobody has heard from her since.

    Think about it, if the prosecution had to have a body every time they tried someone for murder, than any murderer who found a good enough hiding spot for the body would get off. That may be scientifically sound, but it's not justice.

    Now take the fact that they found Nina's blood in Reiser's house, and on his sleeping bag. He removed his car seat from his car, and flooded the compartment to try to wash it, and left an inch of water in there. Then he claims he was sleeping in his car. Is there any other reasonable explanation than that this car was used to transport a body? Sure, you can come up with other explanations, but none of them are *reasonable* The books on murder, the suspicious behavior, etc., are just icing on the cake.

    But the reality is that a good attorney might have had a chance to get Reiser off, despite his glaring guilt. "Beyond a reasonable doubt" is a damn high burden to meet, and often times a good lawyer can inject enough uncertainty into a case to keep the jury from reaching that threshhold. But when Reiser took the stand, he basically removed all chance of that happening. He apparently gave some completely ridiculous explanations to some very important questions, like why in gods name would anyone use a hose to wash out their car and then leave an inch of standing water in there, when that is where they sleep. So basically, Reiser made what could have been reasonable doubts sound completely unreasonable. And that is why he was convicted, and not because of his arrogance or disdain towards humanity (although I'm sure that didn't help him either).

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