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Hans Reiser Guilty of First Degree Murder

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the so-much-for-the-geek-defense dept.

The Courts 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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US jury system does it again (4, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231238)

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.

[/rimshot]

Oblig ReiserFS Joke (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23231332)

It's written in his journal!

Re:US jury system does it again (4, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 6 years ago | (#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?)

Re:US jury system does it again (2)

Kristoph (242780) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231342)

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

]{

Re:US jury system does it again (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231396)

Does an attourney have the power to prevent that?

Re:US jury system does it again (4, Informative)

bckrispi (725257) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231418)

No. They will advise - sometimes in *very* strong terms. But in the end, it's their client's call.

Re:US jury system does it again (0)

BlueCollarCamel (884092) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231466)

Are you familiar with the 5th Amendment [wikipedia.org] ? Defendents aren't required to testify, and cannot be forced to do so.

Re:US jury system does it again (1)

rthille (8526) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231528)


Right, the question was whether someone could be _prevented_ from testifying in their own defense. The answer is No to that, since it would be too open to abuse.

Re:US jury system does it again (4, Insightful)

OMNIpotusCOM (1230884) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231344)

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?

Re:US jury system does it again (5, Insightful)

the.Ceph (863988) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:US jury system does it again (5, Interesting)

softwaredoug (1075439) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:US jury system does it again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23231496)

psychology is a complete pseudoscience - analysis of someone's behaviour never passes the reasonable doubt threashold.

Re:US jury system does it again (4, Insightful)

OMNIpotusCOM (1230884) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231512)

In my truck you'll find a copy of the Satanic Bible, 1984, and Catcher in the Rye (Harry Potter too, but that's because I'm reading it to my son). Not only that but there's a fairly large spot of my friend's blood that I can't get out from when he stepped on a nail and it went through his shoe, and the passenger lock has fallen off (almost as if someone was trying to hastily escape from my truck). I keep a sleeping bag and blanket in my truck - it's Iowa, what're you gonna do in a blizzard? I'm a loner with a quirky sense of humor.

I think we've just proved that I can be convicted of first degree murder if my friend turns up missing.

Re:US jury system does it again (5, Insightful)

Ethan Allison (904983) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231586)

Not if you know when to shut up.

Re:US jury system does it again (1)

fyrie (604735) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231592)

Very true. The standard is beyond a "reasonable" doubt, not beyond any doubt.

Re:US jury system does it again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23231534)

As he left the courtroom, he was heard to mutter "fsck".

A man... (0, Offtopic)

Miros (734652) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231240)

A man who chooses to represent himself has a fool for a client.

that's nothing (3, Funny)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231300)

you should see the moron he has for counsel!

Re:A man... (4, Informative)

Kristoph (242780) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231304)

He didn't represent himself. He took the stand in his own defense.

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.

]{

Re:A man... (4, Informative)

SashaMan (263632) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231356)

RTFA, Reiser's defense attorney didn't want to put him on the stand, but Reiser insisted.

Re:A man... (2, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231406)

RTFA, Reiser's defense attorney didn't want to put him on the stand, but Reiser insisted.

Heh.

From the SFGate blog [sfgate.com] article: "After the verdict was read, the judge told deputies to remove Reiser from the courtroom. As he was led out, he asked, 'Can I talk to my attorney?'"

How about next time, Hans tries listening to his attorney?

Re:A man... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23231424)

Well, he does the option to appeal, which I imagine he'll do. Maybe this time he'll act a bit more intelligently.

Re:A man... (5, Interesting)

The Empiricist (854346) | more than 6 years ago | (#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 [abanet.org] ." 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 [resource.org] . 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.

So... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23231246)

No body, no reliable witnesses, all circumstantial evidence, and a conviction based on the personality of a guy who writes file systems...

Yet, no reasonable doubt?

Re:So... (4, Informative)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231290)

The prosecutor was also able to exclude the testimony of a guy called Sturgeon, who admitted to killing at least eight people and was having an affair with Hans Reiser's wife. If his testimony were allowed, it'd be the battle of the two weirdos and Hans, being the guy in a murder case who hasn't admitted to murdering, probably would have came out on top.

Re:So... (1)

The Ancients (626689) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231294)

and a conviction based on the personality of a guy who writes file systems...

There's reason for appeal right there. Personality of a guy who writes file systems???

Re:So... (3, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231340)

A typical jury is a group of 12 people hand-picked by the lawyers to be the most easily emotionally manipulated people possible. You were expecting them to come to a conclusion based on logic?

Doubt disappeared when Hans testified (3, Insightful)

slashqwerty (1099091) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231432)

Yet, no reasonable doubt?

There was some doubt. Then Hans' insisted on taking the stand. The jury may have considered perhaps Hans took the seat out to go racing or make room for a large purchase. But if that were the case he would have said so on the stand. The same goes for any other evidence. Because Reiser took the stand the jury couldn't conjour up possible explanations. If Reiser didn't present the doubt himself the jury couldn't consider it. Since it was obvious Reiser was lying (he even admitted to it) the jury couldn't believe what he had to say.

Reasonable doubt? (1, Redundant)

gruvmeister (1259380) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231250)

No body, no weapon, no witnesses, no testimony, and nothing but a lot of circumstantial evidence. Sure, no problem!

Sure, he probably did and and fed her through a wood chipper, but the prosecution should still have to build a better case than "he's nuts, look at him!"

Re:Reasonable doubt? (1)

Darundal (891860) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231298)

Well, as the summary and article said, it was probably when he took the stand that did him in. His explanations for things were so out there that the jury was convinced that he was lying about most if not all of it. At which point they probably began to think along the lines of "if he didn't do it, then why is he lying?"

Re:Reasonable doubt? (3, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231320)

No kidding. I would really like to see a poll of the jury members, and if they would change their votes if they had been told that Hans's ex-friend (the wife's new dude) had confessed to killing 8 people.

Some facts are prejudicial.

Some facts are prejudicial for a very good reason.

I'd like to see numbers on how that would have changed things.

Too bad ReiserFS will probably die. I'm going to guess that they won't be giving him his own computer in prison to continue development with. I wonder if someone else will effectively try to step up and take control of the project, or it will just lose all it's momentum (not that it didn't in the last few years anyway).

Re:Reasonable doubt? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23231386)

>Too bad ReiserFS will probably die
I'm guessing it will disappear in the middle of the night, never to be heard from again. Police will arrest the xfs maintainer on chargest, the evidence being that neighbors saw him carry out what could have been a backup tape wrapped in a roll of carpet in the middle of the night.

Re:Reasonable doubt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23231354)

Did you see how he acted when the verdict was read? Didn't look like an innocent man to me. Seemed to just take it in his stride. I guess this'll be replied to with a string of "but he's not a normal guy!" posts, but even so... Surely, being faced with god knows how many years in prison, he'd look a little bit distressed? Mad.

Re:Reasonable doubt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23231472)

What if he had seen it coming from miles away, and for him it was a foregone conclusion. and the gravity of it would hit him harder later.

Reasonable Doubt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23231262)


With the available evidence (as it was relayed by the various blogs, anyway), I personally could not have convicted him. If I'm going to take away somebody's freedom, I have to be absolutely certain that there can't be any other reasonable explanation of what happened. There's no way I could infer that from the evidence that has been presented. I don't say he's not guilty - I say I don't know. And to me, that would mean the trial either has to continue, with more evidence brought forward, or I would have to acquit him.



What happend to the good old "we'd rather have ten guilty men run free than put one innocent man in jail"?

Re:Reasonable Doubt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23231316)

What happend to the good old "we'd rather have ten guilty men run free than put one innocent man in jail"?

Bad people are scary, and now all of the soccer moms of the country would rather have 10 innocent men in jail than one bad person run free. Of course, the death yoga business partner who had an affair with the wife and admitted to being a serial killer is scary too, but the soccer moms can only handle one issue at a time.

Re:Reasonable Doubt (1)

ettlz (639203) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231360)

What happend to the good old "we'd rather have ten guilty men run free than put one innocent man in jail"?

Just ask any reactionary conservative loudmouth.

Or the average Joe Two-Short-Ones who believes abovementioned wankstains.

Re:Reasonable Doubt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23231392)

Beyond reasonable doubt is not the same as being absolutely certain. If that is really your standard then you never have to worry about sitting on a jury, because you're considered unfit for said duty.

Re:Reasonable Doubt (5, Insightful)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231520)

I have to be absolutely certain that there can't be any other reasonable explanation of what happened. [SNIP] What happened to the good old "we'd rather have ten guilty men run free than put one innocent man in jail"?
Sorry, those two statements do not compute. The preference for acquitting N guilty men rather than convicting one innocent implies (for finite values of N) that absolute certainty cannot be required. Absolute certainty implies infinite N. There is no possible way to convict anyone (confessions with corroboration aside) certainly without introducing error. The best we can do is attempt to construct a system that is as fair as possible while still rendering decisions in a finite amount of time (justice delayed and so forth) for a finite amount of resource. Clearly we aren't there yet (not by a long shot) but the only way to make progress is to acknowledge that human decision making processes are flawed and work around it. A system that categorically does not convict the innocent is one that does not convict anyone at all.

For an interesting review of historical views on 'N' (and Blackstone's criteria in general), see http://www.law.ucla.edu/volokh/guilty.htm [ucla.edu] .

Re:Reasonable Doubt (1)

The Ancients (626689) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231580)

What happend to the good old "we'd rather have ten guilty men run free than put one innocent man in jail"?

*conspiracy filter on*

Lawyers. There's so much more money to be made from appeals. For both sides. They know this. It's all a have.

Enjoy!

America: Land of the imprisoned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23231272)

Let's close the slavery loophole in the 13th amendment.

I hope they execute him (1)

Pres. Ronald Reagan (659566) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231282)

Hopefully they execute this murderous nerd. Good riddance, and EXT3 for life.

Free Software (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#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).

Re:Free Software (4, Funny)

ettlz (639203) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231416)

Cue the chroot jokes.

Re:Free Software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23231550)

He'll be too busy getting rooted.

Quick! Someone tag this "HAHA." (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23231296)

no text

Now, we have proof... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23231306)

Now, we have proof that kernel coders are criminals ... and communists.

Bad geek pun time (1)

coolhaus (186994) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231308)

I've been telling people for years that reiserfs is a killer filesystem.

The jury did the right thing (3, Insightful)

detritus. (46421) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:The jury did the right thing (1)

tgatliff (311583) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231364)

I agree... I also think we probably need to fork and rename the filesystem. Now that he is convicted, I think doing that probably would be best...

The whole thing is just sad....

Re:The jury did the right thing (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231378)

This guy is a real piece of work. Saying he's narcissistic is an understatement.

Yeah. Sounds like a programmer. Kinda' why I got out of the industry.

Re:The jury did the right thing (2, Informative)

rossz (67331) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231410)

Except the kids were sent to stay with their grandmother. In Russia. Funny how that worked out.

Re:The jury did the right thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23231554)

Yeah, their Grandmother, who hasn't heard or seen her daughter since the murder.

Re:The jury did the right thing (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231456)

Getting caught with books on murder, evading police surveillance, having a front seat removed from your car, soaked in 3 inches of water?
None of which is evidence of anything other than being a piece of work, which is not, in itself, illegal. And let's not forget the serial killer Nina was having an affair with.

I cannot believe you're actually arguing for "guilty until proven innocent."

Re:The jury did the right thing (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23231532)

Not to mention they found blood stains in his car that matched his wife's DNA.

If you get arrested and/or get put on trial... (5, Insightful)

jeblucas (560748) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231314)

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.

Re:If you get arrested and/or get put on trial... (3, Funny)

snarkh (118018) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:If you get arrested and/or get put on trial... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23231510)

No, it will come across as "I was very shocked by being arrested and didn't want to say anything stupid in the heat of the moment." Your silence CANNOT be used against you in court. You have the RIGHT to remain silent. Unless you are a retard, you should execute it when dealing with the police.

Re:If you get arrested and/or get put on trial... (1)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231436)

^^ Exactly!

Out of everything I learned in my law classes, that was the best advice. If an officer is asking you questions, you can ask I'm under arrest and if they no, you are free to leave without any further discussion. A officer doesn't have to tell you your rights right off the bat and they WILL try to get information before making the arrest.

If someone close to you (close friend, gf/bf, spouse, etc.) is a victim of a serious or is killed, DO NOT answer questions without a lawyer. You will not be in your right mind and any little slip-ups (and you will make them, even when completely innocent) you might make will be used against you.

Re:If you get arrested and/or get put on trial... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:If you get arrested and/or get put on trial... (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231500)

plead the Fifth

Re:If you get arrested and/or get put on trial... (2, Insightful)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231564)

Completely agree.... But you ignore one thing: human psyche. They WILL break you. It might officially not be torture, but it's close enough to break anyone who is untrained.

Just goes to show... (0, Flamebait)

FroMan (111520) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231318)

Just goes to show, even if you can write your own file system doesn't mean you can get away with murder.

I have no idea if Hans did it... (0, Troll)

GalacticLordXenu (1195057) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231326)

but, as some people are going to say, there is certainly a large part of reasonable doubt.

Truthfully, though, that's not the standard people are sent to jail for. The standard is whether the jury merely thinks the person(s) did it. Who is the jury? Random elements of the hoi polloi, the bigoted the better.

Summary of the evidence (5, Informative)

slashqwerty (1099091) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Summary of the evidence (1)

SashaMan (263632) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231442)

You forgot the 6-inch patch of Nina's dried blood that was found on a sleeping bag cover in his car.

Despite all the protestations of "hey no body," I believe the evidence clearly does show beyond a reasonable doubt that Reiser killed his wife (in particular, Reiser's explanations for his behavior are completely UNreasonable, even for an "eccentric geek"). However, I agree that 1st degree murder is a real stretch - 2nd degree seems like a much more appropriate crime.

Re:Summary of the evidence (2, Insightful)

TrentC (11023) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231452)

I'm not a lawyer but here's what I found in a couple of minutes of Googling:

From FindLaw: http://criminal.findlaw.com/crimes/a-z/murder_first_degree.html [findlaw.com]

Most states also adhere to a legal concept known as the "felony murder rule," under which a person commits first-degree murder if any death (even an accidental one) results from the commission of certain violent felonies -- usually arson, burglary, kidnapping, rape, and robbery.

According to Everything2: http://everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1316784 [everything2.com]
A person who commits, or attempts to commit, a felony can be convicted of murder if someone dies during the commission (or attempt) if:

        * the person has intentionally engaged in the felony
        * the felony is inherently dangerous
        * the death occurs during the commission of the felony
        * the death is independent and collateral to the felony, and
        * the felon (or an accomplice) caused the death.

The inherently dangerous element is automatically satisfied if the felony is listed in the first-degree murder statute; [emphasis mine] in California, those felonies are arson, rape, carjacking, robbery, burglary, mayhem, kidnapping, train wrecking, sodomy, lewd or lascivious acts involving children, oral copulation, [sexual] penetration by foreign object, and drive-by shootings.


If Hans Reiser abducted Nina and then killed her, even if it was accidental, then he could be convicted of first-degree murder in California.

Re:Summary of the evidence (1)

Dogun (7502) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231522)

Physical evidence:
blood in Reiser's car (tiny amount, undated, source 'maybe' Nina. Easily explained: humans bleed sometimes, Nina had ridden in the car.).
blood in Reiser's house (tiny amount wiped over a larger area, undated, source Nina? I can't remember if this sample was mixed Nina, mixed Hans.)
blood in a sleeping bag (mixed sample. Possibly result of 'intimate contact'.)

Aside from that, *shrug*.

As far as the Hans's own cell phone? Clearly Reiser realized he was being followed. Given he's into tech, he knows how they found Kevin Mitnick, so of course he's not going to carry around a big sign that says, "Hi guys, here's Hans Reiser." Removing the battery is a good way to do that, and given his other paranoid behavior, is not that strange.

Why he is innocent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23231330)

I've been following this trial frequently, via
the SF Chronicle's blog [sfgate.com] .


To be honest, I thought he was guilty until the closing arguments of the case,
when the Prosecutor pointed out what he considered to be the single most damning
piece of evidence; namely, Nina Reiser's cell phone.


It had been found abandoned, with the battery removed, in her abandoned car.


Now, either Hans Reiser deliberately took the time to remove the battery
and leave it behind in her car. Or someone else who knew him did this to
frame him. Honestly, why in the world would he remember to disconnect the
battery, but leave the phone behind? It would've made much more sense to
simply take the phone and then dispose of it, unless you wanted to
frame him.


IMO, this verdict is bogus, and there's a guilty person still walking around.
Or Nina Reiser is indeed in Russia.

Turns out he wrote it all down (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23231336)

In his journal. Get it! Ha ha, "journal", because it's a journaling file system. Just a little pun that was. Little bit of geeky humor for you right there.

Not knowing when to shut up might mean you killed a joke, but it sure as hell don't mean you killed a person.

Sad news... (0, Flamebait)

Paul_Hindt (1129979) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231338)

I really feel sorry for the guy. Regardless of whether or not he committed the murder, he was a good programmer and an important member of the open-source community. It is too bad that brilliant people are often plagued by mental instability. I hope that Reiser is really innocent and simply did a lot of weird things that were indicative to murder. I can imagine that if he was innocent, he probably felt that people were out to get him, but simply had to way to articulate a reasonable response to the charges. I certainly hope that the truth about his wife's whereabouts becomes known, regardless of the innocence of Reiser.

Re:Sad news... (1, Insightful)

Digi-John (692918) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231502)

How many people ever used ReiserFS? By all reports (from the few people I've ever known who actually used it) it was a pretty risky move. When ReiserFS screwed your filesystem (as happened to these guys at some point), there weren't really any good tools to try and fix it... and if you emailed Reiser or a mailing list, he'd be a total ass because you DARE mention that his filesystem screwed your data. So yeah, I guess if writing a filesystem that nobody uses and being a dick count as being a good programmer and an important member of the community, you're right.

Beats marrying using common sense (1)

heroine (1220) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231350)

Amazing how all these women pick guys like Hans Reiser over and over again. Money & success through men is still king even if it means a shortened life span.

At the risk of sounding sexist (0)

gelfling (6534) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231358)

A man in California runs the risk of a death sentence whenever his high profile wife dies mysteriously. I bet Scott Peterson is chuckling now. After all he was convicted essentially on the dazzling smile of his heavily pregnant wife. No other facts were really needed, except for the taped conversation of a lying adulteress who sold her story for millions of dollars.

Re:At the risk of sounding sexist (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23231450)

You do realize they found her body wrapped in the same tarp and same duct tape Scott owned?

Re:At the risk of sounding sexist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23231598)

There were plenty of other facts in the Peterson case, including the homemade anchors and the December fishing trip. All circumstancial, of course, but at least there was a body.

Re:At the risk of sounding sexist (3, Informative)

notamisfit (995619) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231608)

Reiser's case isn't a capital one. In California IIRC, first-degree murder is only a capital offense when specific aggravated circumstances are present, none of which really apply to this case (ie, killing a cop, felony murder, torture, etc).

WTF (3, Interesting)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 6 years ago | (#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?

Re:WTF (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23231454)

It was a complete lie. Sturgeon didn't kill 8 people, the police checked up on the story. The jury didn't get to hear that part because the police found Sturgeon to be an attention whoring liar.

Re:WTF (1)

Knara (9377) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231474)

Seems like it would be somewhat relevant. If his attorney is any good it'll get brought up on appeal, I'd imagine, since one would think that the decision by the judge to exclude that sort of thing is a procedural error.

appeals court here we come (3, Informative)

fred fleenblat (463628) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231370)

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.)"

Re:appeals court here we come (1)

magnwa (18700) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231526)

The jury was not allowed to hear it because neither side attempted to call Sturgeon to the stand. He was on neither list.

And either way, the police checked out Sturgeon's "claims" and found there was no evidence. Sturgeon's not even in jail right now.

No surprise (1)

SquierStrat (42516) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231374)

With the explanations he apparently gave for some of the circumstantial evidence, I can see why he was found guilty. Seriously, sex leaving a 6 splotch of blood?! What kind of sex were they into? Jesus H. Christ man!

Seriously. WTF?

Re:No surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23231504)

Seriously, sex leaving a 6 splotch of blood?!

My ex-gf and I made messes like that, doing straight vanilla intercourse. Well, vanilla except for the menstrual topping. (Ew.) But seriously, menstrual fucking can get messy.

Re:No surprise (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231552)

But seriously, menstrual fucking can get messy.

Was the blood menstrual? You'd think they would mention that since it a) makes the explanation a lot more convincing and b) is easy enough to prove.

i'm confused... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23231388)

...yes he may be a bit weird, but how can he be convicted of murder if no body has been recovered, and there is no hard evidence linking him to his 'deceased victim'? Mind you, he wouldn't be the first innocent person to end up in jail, although having no evidence to go with his 'crime' makes it all the more suspicious.

Volunteer to be the murderer. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23231412)

Hand Reiser volunteered. Where is the injurred party with a direct complaint for Mrs. Reiser not keeping her appearances? WHO IS THE COMPLAINANT? Does the prosecutor have an interest in the matter, because the prosecutor may not have a complaint but facilitate one on behalf of the true party in interest.

This is like a complainant being an off-duty police officer, who makes the complaint when he is in his company clothes/uniform, but jumps out of person as an officer while still retaining the color of authority to bully whomever he's complaining against while he wears his utility belt and company uniform.

Hans Reiser was equally as improper as that supposed Prosecutor. Now, who to hang...

Yes, I knew Hans and Nina (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#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? (2, Interesting)

bob whoops (808543) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231470)

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.

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23231492)

If "shutting up" would prove a potential murderer not guilty, something is seriously wrong with how things are handled.
I mean, while the legal system is there for a reason, even allowing someone to help a potential (or perhaps even proven) criminal from justice, shows how corrupt it truly is.
In some cases it is more evident than in others. Cases where the have been extremely well documented evidence, but in which that evidence (mostly because of a faulty way of obtaining them) is used to free a criminal... it's just disgusting.

America truly is the land of opportunities.

Re:What? (2, Insightful)

ettlz (639203) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231536)

America truly is the land of opportunities.
And opportunists.

BREAKING NEWS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23231524)

REISER DID THE L.A. FIRE

Re:BREAKING NEWS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23231546)

Come on that is ridiculous. He isnt Arab or Muslim...only then would he do such a thing!

"Judge should be like - GUILTY ! Peace..." (1)

shihonage (731699) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231540)

This video accurately transcribes what happened in court: http://youtube.com/watch?v=EISdUkG8Bbw [youtube.com]

Tags: storage (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231556)

Were they talking of reiserfs, or where he hid the body?

Tacky.

Evil Linux Programmer Found Guilty (Illustrated) (1)

srobert (4099) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231558)

Is it just me, or does anyone else find the courtroom sketches accompanying the article a bit more cartoonish than is usual for courtroom sketches? They border on caricatures, especially the children playing in the video.

this just isn't right (1)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231560)

The guy is a socially maladjusted geek. He thinks and acts differently from people around him. People consider him rude and arrogant and don't understand him.

None of that should be reason for conviction "beyond a reasonable doubt". There is reasonable doubt in this case whether the woman is even dead, let alone whether he killed her. This is a miscarriage of justice.

The reason why Hans lost (1)

FoolsGold (1139759) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231574)

After the jury left, judge Goodman summed up his opinion of Reiser.

"You are rude," he said. "You are arrogant. There are not enough words in the English language to describe the way you are."

So there you go. His behavior in the court room resulted in a guilty verdict. Why I'm surprised this took precedence over the facts of the case I don't know. Perhaps there's more to it than this, but the Judge's comments are clear.

Former Best Friend a serial killer (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23231576)

"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. Thats a fucked-up social circle.

Sociopath. (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 6 years ago | (#23231596)

I surprised to see so many here defending a man who quite clearly killed or was involved in killing his wife. Just because he invented a file system few people use, the Slashdot Crowd worships him to the point of blindness to the obvious. Is it amazing that he was able to pull it off while leaving such little actual evidence? Sure. But that "getting away with murder" doesn't justify it. It's pretty sad to see so many supporting this sociopath.
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