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The Almighty Buck The Courts News

Hans Reiser Sued By Own Kids For $15 Million 265

New submitter haruchai writes "The Reiser kids, now aged 12 and 11, have had a lawsuit filed against the former Linux developer, inventor of ReiserFS and convicted murderer of the mother of his children, to the tune of $15 million. It's believed he may have hidden assets and a judgment is sought so a search for these can be conducted." A judge denied requests that the kids testify or return to the U.S. for their own well-being.
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Hans Reiser Sued By Own Kids For $15 Million

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  • by WhiteHover ( 2679613 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @03:16AM (#40599903)
    This just shows that FOSS fanatics are maniacs in real life too, and can't be trusted. I mean come on, you put your business into hands of these maniacs? Maniacs!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I see the validity of your lucid argument and agree with you.

    • by hcs_$reboot ( 1536101 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @04:17AM (#40600113)
      What? His wife committed adultery. She preferred ext4.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      And your point is?

      "Mania" is no joke. A symptom of my own Bipolar-Type Schizoaffective Disorder, Mania is a euphoric state of m

      • by hazah ( 807503 )
        I hope you see it for the illusion that it is. Albait one that feels quite real, I know.
      • Actually, "maniac" is a word in common usage to refer to extreme (often violent) behaviour with no reference to manic-depression at all.

        You can have violent criminal maniacs such as gangsters who are psychologically "normal", albeit sociopathic.

        Few, if any, manic depressives are murderers. .
    • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

      yeah proprietary vendors are so much more stable..

      developers developers developers developers! developers developers developers developers! DEVELOP.....

      *chairs are thrown*

    • Open source doesn't mean you need to be insane to be a contributer. The majority are actually good people. However a lot of people get into open source because they can't get a job elsewhere and needs to prove their skills.

      Now many may be college kids or people who's job is just so humdrum that they want a little fun. However some may be people who are bit off in the head and give employers the creeps. You may be the best person for the job, however if you give your employer bad feelings, they won't hire y

    • by ragefan ( 267937 )

      This just shows that FOSS fanatics are maniacs in real life too, and can't be trusted. I mean come on, you put your business into hands of these maniacs? Maniacs!

      Just like every corporation is run by the likes of Kenneth Lay and Bernie Madoff.

  • "sued by own kids" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mfwitten ( 1906728 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @03:26AM (#40599939)


    His kids don't know what the heck is going on. As always, the kids are just tools in the machinations of the adults.

  • by GodfatherofSoul ( 174979 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @03:26AM (#40599941)

    Hmmm, I guess the guardians can't wait that long. Besides, what are they going to do if he doesn't cooperate, throw him in jail?

    • by wvmarle ( 1070040 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @03:45AM (#40600013)

      They're after hidden assets - which are going to be hard to claim after his death when no-one knows it exists (in a related note, I do sometimes wonder indeed what happens to such hidden Swiss bank accounts, where only the account holder knows of, when this person dies). They don't know whether he has any money, they think he does, and are trying to find that out.

      • Bank accounts: typically, the account gets closed after several (potentially many) years of non-activity, and the bank then retains a liability if the owner or estate ever shows up. Depending on the laws of the particular state, this liability can usually be written off after a period of time, similar to abandoned property. Usually the profit accrues to the bank, but some states have laws regarding how such funds are used.
        • by wvmarle ( 1070040 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @04:19AM (#40600129)

          I see. I know many countries have laws that stipulate that such unclaimed heritage goes to the government, which then can use it for the general good. Sounds very reasonable to me; better than having it go to the profit of some private business.

          • better than having it go to the profit of some private business.

            - why? It would be better if this money was used by the bank to loan it to start a new business, maybe some form of VC, giving money to government is always the wrong way to go.

            • why? It would be better if this money was used by the bank to loan it to start a new business, maybe some form of VC, giving money to government is always the wrong way to go.

              No, it would be foolish to give banks a powerful motivation to never reconnect with the account holders. They need to be free to serve their customers' best interests without a bunch of distracting $100K carrots dangling in front of their noses.

              "See, Mr. Auditor, I sent a letter to the account holder. How was I to know that it was sent to the wrong address?" (Gets large bonus later.)

              • Right now the banks on their own volition hold the account open for a long time (actually in one of my banks the account will stay open for 99 years) until it's considered 'lost'. The bank doesn't care what's in the account individually, because the bank uses fractional lending to create counterfeit money anyway because of government insurance, it basically doesn't matter to the bank whether the money in it is your or 'banks', it treats the money in the same rotten manner with all these gov't moral hazards

        • In Canada, moneys in dormant accounts revert to the Federal government.
      • by r1348 ( 2567295 )

        After a few decades, the inactive account/deposit becomes state's property. That's how Switzerland became THAT rich: offer capital safeguarding during Wolrd Wars, aware that there's always someone who won't come back to claim it.

  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @03:41AM (#40600001)

    It's believed he may have hidden assets and a judgment is sought so a search for these can be conducted.

    Probably in an vnode. Try "reiserfsck".

  • Children that sue? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wvmarle ( 1070040 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @03:48AM (#40600023)

    I wonder who really initiated the suit. Not likely the kids: what do they know about money, at that age, let alone law suits? Why would those children suspect the existence of hidden assets? They probably don't even know what the word means.

    So other than these two children, who's going to benefit? Is this initiated by some lawyers that do the suing on behalf of the children? Is it initiated by their legal guardian who hopes to get access to (part of) that money?

    • by TheInternetGuy ( 2006682 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @03:59AM (#40600059)

      I wonder who really initiated the suit. Not likely the kids: what do they know about money, at that age

      The lawsuit was initiated by the children's grand mother (Nina Reisers mother) who is their legal guardian and with whom the children now live in Russia.
      I don't pretend to know anything about her motives, but I don't see anything wrong with a grand mother trying to secure her grandchildren's future. Especially after all they have been through.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If you think a 12 year old doesn't know what money is and want it, you've never had a 12 year old...

      Posting anonymously because I'm moderating.

    • by jamesh ( 87723 )

      I wonder who really initiated the suit.

      His wife? Google tells me she may still be alive... although strangely nothing dated since he confessed and lead the authorities to where he buried her and the body was positively identified as Nina... I've never known facts to stop the conspiracy nuts so abruptly.

      • It's hardly a conspiracy theory to speculate that a missing person may actually be alive until they have found the body or got a confession.
  • by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @03:54AM (#40600039)

    It's stuffed in the back seat of his car!

    If Hans offers to drive his children to where the money is hidden, I hope they will have the sense to take a cab instead.

  • IIRC Reiser was trying to sell his company after he was arrested, but I doubt he got 15*10^6 USD for it, and a lot would have gone to lawyers.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @04:33AM (#40600201)

    Before Hans Reiser when debating one man projects they would always say "what if the lead developer gets hit by a bus?" now it's said "what if the lead developer gets arrested for murder?"

  • by westlake ( 615356 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @05:58AM (#40600473)

    It's five in the morning here and I am in no mood to be charitable.

    The lawsuit was initiated by the children's grandmother. Their legal guardian. Her lawyers are working pro bono.

    No fees. No slice of the pie. Got that?

    Moving on.

    Reiser is defending himself.

    In a way, he is always defending himself. Reiser, it seems, can do no wrong.

    He is the one who asked the judge to drag the kids into court.

    "Why?" you ask.

    What he wanted to do was to draw them into a grandiose scheme to promote his new and improved conspiracy theories and defense for the murder. The judge isn't playing along.

    He claims his wife was abusing the kids, that she had Factitious disorder by proxy --- often referred to as Munchausen syndrome by proxy --- where a caregiver harms or even kills someone they are in charge of in order to gain sympathy and attention. During the 2008 trial, Reiser alluded to that as well, accusing his wife of having the disease when she wanted to get their son surgery for severe hearing loss.

    In the unlawful death case, he now says why: ''I defended my children from harm.'' He added that, by murdering his wife, ''I stopped multiple felonies by doing so.''

    In his papers, he accuses the courts, the prison system, county children's services, his trial attorneys and others of conspiring against him, during his murder trial and now in the civil case.

    ''There are extensive legal grounds under multiple arguments for defending an innocent child when the state will not, at the cost of a non-innocent party's life,'' Hans Reiser wrote.

    Convicted of Murder, Linux Guru Hans Reiser Returns to Court to Fight Civil Suit []

    "Wired" has it all, in Reiser's own handwriting.


    The beginning of Monday's trial was marked by impatience from the judge and the children's legal team. The complaint against Reiser was originally filed in August 2008 by the children's maternal grandmother and legal guardian, Irina Sharanova. The case has been stalled as Reiser filed various motions to delay proceedings and claimed that he has not had adequate access to his legal documents while at Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga.

    ''This trial has been pending for a really long time,'' said Judge Dennis Hayashi about the pretrial claims. ''I also made it clear that I'm not delaying this any further. ... We need to move on.''

    Reiser, dressed in his orange prison uniform and appearing antsy at Hayashi's denials, has subpoenaed his children to appear in court.

    They are living in Russia with Sharanova and are not expected at the trial, [Sharanova's attorney] said.

    "I personally don't think it would do the children any good to come here and testify in this trial,"

    "They'd have to relive what they went through as very young children."

    Both of the children were at their father's house in the Montclair district when the killing is believed to have taken place.

    Jury selection begins in Hans Reiser civil trial []

    • Thanks for this. :-/ It's an unhappy set of facts, but I think it's an accurate reading.

      I had hoped that Hans would give up on the self-justifications. It seemed like his over-inflated ego collapsed when he admitted to the murder, but it seems back in full-force now. :-(

    • On the question of "hidden assets."

      On October 10, 2006, following the second search of his home, Oakland police and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) investigators removed a number of items. HSI had been investigating Reiser for money laundering. Police announced that they were now treating the disappearance as a homicide case, and Reiser was arrested for the murder of Nina Reiser.

      Hans Reiser []

    • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Tuesday July 10, 2012 @09:33AM (#40601361)

      His mouth was what got him convicted in the first place. The prosecution's case against him was circumstantial. It was fairly good, but as I said circumstantial, no physical evidence, not even any evidence his wife was dead. While they can and do get convictions on that (they wouldn't bring it to trial if it never worked) it is harder.

      There is a reasonable chance he may have gotten off had he kept his trap shut and let his legal team work. They did have an at least somewhat plausible theory: That his wife had run off to Russia. While that isn't without issues to poke holes in, it might just have been plausible enough, combined with the lack of physical evidence, to generate reasonable doubt.

      However he insisted on taking the stand and that was the end of him. Between his completely arrogant attitude and his logical inconsistencies, the prosecution was able to just skewer him on cross examination, sealing the outcome.

      The problem is he has a sever case of something many geeks seem to have: Smartest Motherfucker in the Universe Syndrome. He really believes he is WAY smarter than everyone else and he's not afraid to let everyone know it. While he may consider that he's doing people a favour by "enlightening" them to his superior intellect, most people see that as being an arrogant prick and don't like him for it. Also, it leads him to believe he can get away with shit like, say, murder. He can do as he pleases because he's so much smarter than everyone, there's no way those poor dummies can ever catch up with him.

      Hence, this bullshit. He still thinks he's smarter than the courts, the police, the lawyers.

  • I am not a lawyer, but it seems plausible that this can be used as an evidence of fraud in Hans' marriage/divorce/custody, what substantially changes the circumstances of killing Nina Reiser, invalidating the whole previous trial.

    • Firstly, lots of people have bad divorces. That's never going to fly as circumstances for reducing a murder charge.

      2nd, he already tried the "Munchhausen by Proxy" defense in the original trial. It was sad, pathetic, bullshit by a raving lunatic then, and it still is. (Just read the first-hand trial accounts...)

      Last, Hans has already admitted to the crime and voluntarily waived all appeals. (He revealed the location of the body in return for a sentencing reduction.) This act of fighting the wrongful de

    • by sgent ( 874402 )

      In most cases, all the suing party will have to do is submit a copy of his guilty plea. The arguments will be about damages.

      A civil trial doesn't require much in the burden of proof ("50% plus a feather"), so his guilty plea in open court will meat the is he liable portion. Then its about damages.

    • No it doesn't: They had demonstrated that he had means, incriminating physical evidence, opportunity, and a coverup attempt. The motive isn't all that important under those circumstances.

    • Wow there are still idiots who think he's innocent even after leading the police to the body?

    • First off it is complete bullshit. Reiser is just making up shit. None of his accusations have a basis in reality.

      However even if they did it doesn't matter. Killing someone is justifiable in only a very limited set of circumstances. The specifics vary state to state and you can look them up if you wish but it is serious things like preventing yourself or another from being murdered. Also one thing that is always consistent is it is only justifiable to prevent something immediate. So if someone is threateni

Things are not as simple as they seems at first. - Edward Thorp