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Terry Childs Denied Motion For Retrial 223

snydeq writes "The former San Francisco network administrator who refused to hand over passwords for one of the city's networks has been denied a new trial and is expected to be sentenced Aug. 6. Terry Childs had been due for sentencing Friday but the court instead heard two defense motions, one requesting a new trial and the other for arrested judgment — essentially to have his original conviction overturned. The motions were both denied but the court then ran out of time before the sentencing phase could be conducted."
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Terry Childs Denied Motion For Retrial

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  • It's The Law! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gyrogeerloose ( 849181 ) on Monday August 02, 2010 @06:10PM (#33116762) Journal

    Withhold a password, go to jail.

    Not really sure that justice was served here but the guy really was a first-rate dickhead.

  • by MarkvW ( 1037596 ) on Monday August 02, 2010 @06:26PM (#33116942)

    "He does his job AFTER he's fired?" HUH?!?!

    When you're fired, your job is OVER. Your right to exercise control over the City's stuff is DONE.

    Terry Childs is a stupid, neurotic fool. But there's no indication that he's a thief or a scumbag. He's been punished way more than enough by now. I hope the judge gives him credit for time served and ends this.

  • by afabbro ( 33948 ) on Monday August 02, 2010 @06:52PM (#33117272) Homepage

    A couple summations:

    Let's see:

    Terry Childs:

    • God complex and delusions of grandeur
    • Anger management
    • Obsessive/possessive
    • Paranoid
    • General creepy behavior

    City of San Fran

    • Poorly managed IT by definition when only one person knows the passwords to your routers
    • Budget cuts reduced IT to impossible support levels

    So I recommend that Terry Childs be put to death just for being a jerk and to make sure non of us ever have to work with him again/interact with him again. Then we fire the City of San Fran CIO and forbid him from ever working in IT again.

    (bangs gavel)

  • by Dhalka226 ( 559740 ) on Monday August 02, 2010 @06:52PM (#33117280)

    Sorry, but that's retarded. It's like saying you don't have to return a company laptop when you're fired if they forget to take it from your office before they throw you out of the building.

    Just because your job is over doesn't mean you are allowed to hold on to things that do not belong to you. These aren't his passwords and it's not his network. It never was, despite what he obviously thinks in his little mind, but it certainly isn't anymore.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 02, 2010 @06:55PM (#33117306)
    Dangerous ground indeed. And I suppose you have a MiB flashy thing to erase his knowledge of the network too? After all that is company property...?
  • by Mistlefoot ( 636417 ) on Monday August 02, 2010 @07:01PM (#33117392)
    In a black and white world maybe.

    But both you and OP are being silly.

    When your job is over that does not mean that legal obligations end.

    I suppose my boss could invite me out for lunch, fire me, and then keep my car, which is parked on company property and accessible via a locked gate with a keycard. My keycard would no longer work, and he'd be under no obligation to do anything for me, a non-employee. Heck, my iPod in my desk drawer. Gone.

    The law is rarely black and white and this case is no exception.

    Child's went to lenghts to ensure that no one else had the passwords and to ensure that only HE could access the networks. Read some of the juror comments from the trial. This was not a black and white case.
  • by droopus ( 33472 ) * on Monday August 02, 2010 @07:11PM (#33117502)

    Happens all the time. There are very fixed time allowances on appeals. For example, if you plead or are found guilty in federal court, you have ten days to file an appeal, or at least preserve your right to appeal. If you do not file within that ten days [] (even if you tell your lawyer to do so and he does not) you effectively waive your right to appeal. You may collaterally attack [] but collateral attacks are civil actions and you are no longer entitled to counsel.

    Think that's unfair? There are cases that would blow your minds. How about a death row inmate [] who filed his pro se [] appeal late, and was denied appeal of his death sentence. He finally got heard in the US Supreme Court but Scalia and Thomas dissented, saying "too late, too bad, so sad.."

    Time limit injustice is way too common, (and tolling [] is not often granted) but this injustice is not often discussed, because as I often say, citizens in the US know NOTHING about the system that can suck them in at a moment's notice.

  • Re:It's The Law! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Fulcrum of Evil ( 560260 ) on Monday August 02, 2010 @07:23PM (#33117606)
    please explain how this crosses the line into criminal conduct. From his perspective, it would be criminally negligent to turn over the passwords to a bunch of unknowns on a concall.
  • Re:It's The Law! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jjohnson ( 62583 ) on Monday August 02, 2010 @07:23PM (#33117610) Homepage

    Why not just not be a dickhead? Lots of people manage it every day.

  • by sexconker ( 1179573 ) on Monday August 02, 2010 @08:08PM (#33118014)

    When terminated, he has to rescind said property.
    Biometric systems would simply need to be reconfigured on the last day of employment.

    Refusal to do so is criminal.

    It's no different than being told to "clean our your desk by Tuesday", and then locking the keys to your desk inside the desk.

    He is criminally at fault and he is liable to pay to fix it. The fact that he was given the option to fix it himself (relinquish the passwords) has no legal bearing. He was actually given a break by his employees (as he would have been financially broken if he had been forced to cover the costs of having it "fixed" by a third party).

    Let's try a car analogy.
    You take your car into the dealer to have it serviced.
    You don't like the work they do because it's taking to long, they're increasing the estimate, etc. and you decide to take the car somewhere else.
    You go to pick up your car and the dealership thinks you're a jerk.
    They lock the keys in the car and tell you to fuck off.

  • by Cramer ( 69040 ) on Monday August 02, 2010 @08:10PM (#33118032) Homepage

    They asked him to work after they fired him...

    Nope. He was arrested for failing to return City property -- namely the password(s), but in searching his house, he still had other City property. (the facts are far more complicated than we'll ever know.) Had he simply turned over the password(s) (in person, in writing) upon termination, there'd be no story. Instead, he was an ass and refused to give the password(s) to any of his "idiot" (former) coworkers/bosses. To be fair, his boss(es) do share some of the blame for letting things get like this to begin with.

  • by RobotRunAmok ( 595286 ) on Monday August 02, 2010 @08:29PM (#33118166)

    snydeq, tell your puppetmasters at InfoWorld to just give this a rest, won't you? Childs was the kind of uber-dickhead SysAdmin that even normal, run-of-the-mill garden-variety dickhead SysAdmins are afraid to associate with lest they appear as parodies of the type.

    He didn't have a higher calling. He's not Batman. This ain't no Ayn Rand novel. He was fired and refused to release property that belonged to his former employer. Period, end of story.

    And it *would* be the end of the story if the friggin' Drama Club at InfoWorld would stop flogging it on slashdot..

  • Re:It's The Law! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ncohafmuta ( 577957 ) on Monday August 02, 2010 @08:49PM (#33118310)

    'From his perspective' is the key phrase here.
    Judging the competence of his superiors is outside the scope of his job responsibilities.
    Denying the company access to their legal property, i.e. the passwords, is considered theft.

  • Re:It's The Law! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by _KiTA_ ( 241027 ) on Monday August 02, 2010 @09:10PM (#33118444) Homepage

    Withhold a password, go to jail.

    Not really sure that justice was served here but the guy really was a first-rate dickhead.

    I like the prescedent.

    Cops: "We confiscated your external HDD, only it's encrypted. Give us your password."

    SuspecT: "No."

    Cops: "Passwords are property and thus you have to, as it's part of the HDD."

    Suspect: "I claim 5th amendment rights."

    Cops: "We have a Warrant for the seizure and search of this HDD, and you're blocking us from doing it. Therefore, you can rot in jail until you give up and give us what we want."

  • Re:It's The Law! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JWSmythe ( 446288 ) <> on Monday August 02, 2010 @09:23PM (#33118560) Homepage Journal

        Sometimes you have to do what you have to do, even if that includes getting a few good people to figure out what the design should be. I'm not saying it would be me, even though I have done more than my fair share of figuring out other people's mistakes. A half dozen CCIEs (assuming it's all Cisco equipment) could likely do it in a day, if they had enough information to work with. If there were no network maps, and they only knew the sites where the equipment resided, it could likely take longer.

  • by sirwired ( 27582 ) on Monday August 02, 2010 @09:29PM (#33118616)

    He was a front-lines IT grunt. His job was to do whatever his superiors told him to do, barring any requests to do something illegal. If his superiors order him to open the admin interface to the outside world, and change the password to "password"... other than requesting that the demand be put in e-mail to protect his name, he is supposed to do so.

    Exactly what criminal law would not allow him to turn passwords over to his management on request, no matter how unqualified they are? None.

    Holding your employer's equipment hostage pending an audience with the mayor? Yeah, that was, and is, criminal. It's called extortion.


  • Re:It's The Law! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JohnFluxx ( 413620 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @12:30AM (#33119730)

    But his /contract/ said that he was not allowed to turn over the passwords without the proper protocols. Which were not followed.

  • by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @05:06AM (#33120878) Homepage Journal

    contract definitely doesn't tell you to remove all configuration files to all pieces of equipment, keep all copies on your laptop so that you're the only one who can restart anything, then once you're already dismissed to keep the passwords and configurations away from your former boss while he is explicitly telling you to give it up on the phone, no matter how many people are listening.

  • by metacell ( 523607 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2010 @05:29AM (#33120982)

    I seriously suspect you are trolling, sexconker, but let's analyse your statement just for the fun of it.

    Knowledge is not property. There is no no law in the world which claims that the knowledge of something belongs to someone. Even the most draconian "intellectual property" laws in the world do not claim that it is illegal to, for example, tell the ending of a novel to your friend. "Copyright" is just what it sounds like: the exclusive right to manufacture copies of something. That right is the only thing you own when you own the copyright. You don't own the novel in itself. You don't own the information in it.

    There are instances in which it is illegal to spread knowledge, for example, exposing military secrets, but that is not because the military "owns" the information. It is illegal because the information is classified and disseminating it would damage the country, regardless of who could be said to "own" it.

    They lock the keys in the car and tell you to fuck off.

    In my jurisdiction, this is not theft, because the car dealer does not appropriate the car for himself. However, it could still be illegal, on the grounds that the car dealer handles your property without your consent in a way which interferes with your own use of it.

    However, information is not property, and having a secret password in your head doesn't mean you have your employer's property in your possession. Refusing to tell your employer the password is not legally equivalent to refusing to return the employer's property. It could be illegal to not tell the password, if the employer is legally obligated to be loyal to his employer or to follow its orders. It could also be breach of contract if he signed an employment agreement.

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.