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Hans Reiser and the "Geek Defense" Strategy

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the thinks-too-much dept.

The Courts 738

lseltzer alerts us to a story in the Washington Post on the defense strategy in the Hans Reiser murder trial. "In the courtroom where Hans Reiser is on trial for murder, [the evidence] might appear to indicate guilty knowledge. But his attorneys cast it as evidence of an innocence peculiar to Hans, a computer programmer so immersed in the folds of his own intellect that he had no idea how complicit he was making himself appear. 'Being too intelligent can be a sort of curse,' defense counsel William Du Bois said. 'All this weird conduct can be explained by him, but he's the only one who can do it. People who are commonly known as computer geeks are so into the field.'"

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738 comments

All geeks are the same (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22530268)

Most of us have soaked our floorboards after we removed the passenger seat.

Re:All geeks are the same (4, Interesting)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530336)

Believe it or not, I have been in a situation where I had a removed front passenger seat and a soaked footwell. I was having a problem with water getting into the car and couldn't find it. It was coming from under the dashboard, so I removed the seat so I could get my head in there to look closely. But then I ran out of time, so I just left it like that till next weekend.

Sure enough, during the week I got pulled over for speeding. The cop certainly looked at me funny, but I didn't have a warrant out for my arrest, so all was OK.

I'd email this story to Reiser's lawyers, but for 2 things:
1) I had a VW, and the leak was idiosyncratic to that model. He drove a Civic.
2) I think he's guilty.

Re:All geeks are the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22530388)

Why do you think he is guilty? Just wondering.

Re:All geeks are the same (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22530512)

I think the best piece of evidence is Hans arrived to pick up his children from school when Nina was supposed to, the monday after she disappeared. Nobody but the killer would know she wasn't going to arrive to pick them up.

Re:All geeks are the same (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22530730)

Unless:

1) She didn't come home the night before
2) She wasn't feeling well (and I don't mean because she was dead)
3) She asked him to pick up the kids

I see what you're saying, it's just too easy to come up with alternate possibilities that provide a reasonable doubt, just on that one item, I can't speak for the others.

Granted, I have not been following the trial, so I'm just making shit up.

Re:All geeks are the same (3, Interesting)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530676)

Mostly it is the seat.

Like I said, I had a perfectly good reason to have the seat removed, and I could explain why, when, and how the seat was removed. I could even recreate the leak. But my understanding is that Reiser hasn't offered a plausible explanation for the seat removal. Someone offered that street racers often remove their seats for weight savings, and they also favor Civics. But there's no evidence he was a street racer, and why wasn't the back seat removed?

There's a sizable amount of circumstantial evidence that he did it, with little plausible explanations in his defense. And no, "the other guy did it" doesn't convince me.

Re:All geeks are the same (4, Interesting)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530788)

Despite the fact that Sean Sturgeon is a known killer, Nina Reiser was a physician, and the fact that apparently they found "Books on Crime" along with the sleeping bag and blood samples on the pillar in his garage? With no body, no witnesses, and no direct evidence?

Who the hell commits a crime with pair of books on crime in their vehicle, and then leave it all there for someone to find. Programmers know too much about allocation and management of objects to not destroy them when its detrimental they no longer exist.

I'm not saying I think he is innocent NOR that i think hes guilty. I simply think it all warrants much further investigation.

Re:All geeks are the same (5, Funny)

Asztal_ (914605) | more than 6 years ago | (#22531030)

Who the hell commits a crime with pair of books on crime in their vehicle, and then leave it all there for someone to find. Programmers know too much about allocation and management of objects to not destroy them when its detrimental they no longer exist.
Maybe he was foiled by non-deterministic Garbage Collection.

We are all the same. (1)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530814)

I read somewhere that he said he removed the seat and threw it in a dumpster because he was sleeping in the car. It's the books about killing someone in the car that bothers me... who would leave something so incredibly incriminating in their car? I almost thought he was being framed when I read that; although there is just too much that he hasn't said anything about. As geeks we only do 'weird' things for a special reason that makes perfect sense to us, and we're the first ones to explain why we would be doing something so 'strange', as we've spent a good amount of time thinking about it in order to make the most 'logical' decision. Just my $0.02.

Re:All geeks are the same (1)

oyenstikker (536040) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530420)

I also had a case where you would have found my seat out and my floorboards soaked. I left my passenger window open one day and it rained. Hard. Soaked seat and floorboards. A short time later, I took the seat out to replace the broken seatbelt, and it was out for some time.

Re:All geeks are the same (2, Insightful)

Skapare (16644) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530806)

2) I think he's guilty.

Is this just speculation on your part? Or did he admit this to you? Or were you there when it happened?

I personally do not know if he is guilty or not ... because I was not there to be a witness. And I probably will not ever know because I actually do have some specific experience to know that courtroom procedures frequently do prohibit a fair and truthful trial from taking place along the lines of one ruling the judge in this case has already made.

Re:All geeks are the same (1)

chill (34294) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530392)

Actually, if you own a Jeep, it isn't that uncommon. I've done it a few dozen times. Doors, passenger seat, top and off the road we go.

Re:All geeks are the same (4, Insightful)

HeavensBlade23 (946140) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530936)

I wouldn't vote to convict based on that, however damning it may look, anymore than I would vote to convict of a computer crime because they were using encryption. Maybe he did kill her, I don't know, but there's some serious doubt about whether she could be hiding out in Russia or dead at the hands of the ex-boyfriend who admitted to killing nearly a dozen people.

Over thinking (1)

Romancer (19668) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530270)

Is this supposed to be over thinking or thinking without knowledge of how others socially percieve you?

It could be done either way, making yourself look stupidly guilty to throw off the scent (aka movie plot #6) or a real personality issue that is so stereotyped that we now have at least one major box office movie and major tv sitcom dedicated to it.

peers? (3, Interesting)

vDave420 (649776) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530282)

The effort will be watched and appreciated down the breadth of Silicon Valley, perhaps the only place a computer genius might find a jury of peers. There, Hans Reiser's actions appear fairly reasonable, at least to people who spend much more time with computer code than with other humans.

Come on - the only place a half-crazed defense strategy can work is when pitched to computer geeks?
What what what?

-dave-

Re:peers? (3, Interesting)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530718)

If they were so smart, they would have thought of an excuse to get out of jury duty.

Re:peers? (3, Insightful)

Skapare (16644) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530854)

If they were so smart, they would have thought of an excuse to get out of jury duty.

That presumes they want to get out of jury duty.

Re:peers? (3, Funny)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530916)

Let's see: go back to my code and my cubicle, or deal with a problem that is purely judgement and requires a lot of thinking about and dealing with other people?

alternate explanation: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22530284)

he killed the bitch.

Re:alternate explanation: (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22530602)

Why is she a bitch? I would have phrased it as such: The fucker killed her. PS - This "slow down cowboy bullshit" can kiss my ass.

A curse I've had to live with . . . (4, Funny)

reboot246 (623534) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530290)

Being too intelligent is a curse I've had to live with my whole life!

But I guess it sorta goes with my outstanding good looks. :)

Desperate Twinkies (2, Interesting)

milsoRgen (1016505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530300)

The old Twinkie Defense [wikipedia.org] upgraded for the year 2000.

Re:Desperate Twinkies (3, Interesting)

milsoRgen (1016505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530326)

Also why is he constantly referred to as a genius?

i.e. "an exceptional natural capacity of intellect, especially as shown in creative and original work in science, art, music, etc."

Granted I couldn't design and implement my own file system, but I hardly think that deserves the label 'genius'.

Re:Desperate Twinkies (4, Insightful)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530476)

I agree with this. I *could* design an implement my own filesystem if I thought it was really profitable, and I'm no genious. But I also wouldn't have gone to Russia for a mail-order type bride and let her get her citizenship after having some kids, or run my business into the ground while my Russian wife stole money because I was stupid enough to let her handle the finances and not double check things myself. Sure they guy is smart, but he's also very, very stupid from the stories I here.

Re:Desperate Twinkies (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22530596)

I'm no genious

Yeah, no shit.

Re:Desperate Twinkies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22530610)

and I'm no genious.
but he's also very, very stupid from the stories I here.

Speaking as a reformed spelling/irony nazi, I just suffered a massive case of the shakes.

Thanks for pushing me off the wagon.

Re:Desperate Twinkies (1)

LiENUS (207736) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530712)

I *could* design an implement my own filesystem
Put your money where your mouth is then. Designing a file system is harder than it looks. Particularly if you want to make it something actually worthwhile to use.

Re:Desperate Twinkies (3, Interesting)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530836)

Yea... except I would view that as a huge waste of time since I don't see it as important.

I put my time and energy into things I find important, which does not include file systems. However, any CS department should have a fielsystem course like mine did, and I've read practical file system design [letterp.com] by the guy who wrote the Be Filesystem (great book btw). It's hard, but nothing particularly special if you put the time and energy into it. In short, I see it as like someone building their own electric car. If you've got the time and energy, it's cool shit. But it won't put food on the table.

Re:Desperate Twinkies (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22530500)

He designed and implemented on his own what normally takes many groups of people years to create. And his filesystem is (or at least was) competitive with the best in the field. There is little doubt he is (or was) a genius. Whether he committed murder is another question.

Re:Desperate Twinkies (5, Insightful)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530386)

It's not the Twinkie Defense. Hans is claiming he didn't murder her, not that some bizarre psychological condition associated with being a geek should mitigate his action in some way. The psychological aspect is used only to explain why he acted so strangely and why those strange actions are not indicative of guilt. Basically, it didn't even occur to him that those actions might be seen as acting guilty.

From what I can tell, the prosecution has absolutely not proven Hans' guilt beyond the shadow of a doubt. They have not met the standard of proof required for a criminal conviction. All they have is some fairly flimsy circumstantial evidence.

But that's a separate question from whether or not I think he's guilty. And given the available evidence I can't decide either way. This case just is too bizarre. I can actually believe that Nina has managed to escape back to Russia and finagled the courts through the rest of her family into letting her children go back too. But I can also believe that Hans murdered her. Both scenarios fit the available evidence.

Re:Desperate Twinkies (1)

milsoRgen (1016505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530456)

Of course it's not THE twinkie defense but it's just another spin on it, he has these bizarre psychological conditions preventing him from realizing his behavior is highly questionable. And the only reason I bring it up, is because this seems like a defense of desperation, much like claiming twinkies and coca cola turned Dan White [wikipedia.org] into a murderer.

Re:Desperate Twinkies (2, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530518)

Try reading the article you linked to.

White's lawyers didn't claim that the Twinkies made him do it. They claimed that the Twinkies were proof that White (ordinarily a healthy eater) had gone off the tracks.

Re:Desperate Twinkies (1)

hardburn (141468) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530674)

But that's a separate question from whether or not I think he's guilty. And given the available evidence I can't decide either way. This case just is too bizarre.

No kidding. No matter if he's declared guilty or not, Reiser has a severe case of weird to work out of his life.

I have no idea if he's guilty or not, but I'm pretty sure that the prosecution can't give enough evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Note that there's a difference between being declared not guilty in a court of law and actually being not guilty.

Re:Desperate Twinkies (1)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530826)

It's not the Twinkie Defense. Hans is claiming he didn't murder her, not that some bizarre psychological condition associated with being a geek should mitigate his action in some way. The psychological aspect is used only to explain why he acted so strangely and why those strange actions are not indicative of guilt. Basically, it didn't even occur to him that those actions might be seen as acting guilty.

From what I can tell, the prosecution has absolutely not proven Hans' guilt beyond the shadow of a doubt. They have not met the standard of proof required for a criminal conviction.


IANAL, and I don't know too much about this case, but from what I know:

1) In a murder case like this one, odds are someone close to the victim is suspected and odds are someone close to the victim did it.

2) There is no real hard evidence in this case. There is no body or witnesses. There is no physical evidence pointing to the fact that Hans murdered anybody.

3) There is no clear motive for Hans to of killed his wife.

4) There is strange stuff like his car seat missing, extra clean stuff, a book on murdering someone, and other crap like this.

The defense is silently ignoring #1. Because most interstate illicit drug traffickers are white males looking "normal" with possibly out of states tags, does not make much for the prosecutors in court. The police to get the arrest/search or whatever, but this is not evidence.

#2 is purely the prosecution's burden. If there isn't any, well the defense can just rest its case and wait for the not guilty verdict.

#3 same as #2

#4 With the lack of #2 and #3, we can all agree that Hans is a strange geek where having books about murder, removing seats of cars, and any other strange thing can be witnessed by any weird geek caught at any given moment (similar to #1).

To me, my intuition says that he killed her. But I have yet to of heard anything sufficient as evidence of guilt in a trial, and honestly, I think it was either premature or wrong for the trial to of even gone this far.

I hope I didn't have any facts incorrect here. If so, mod me as -10 wrong.

Re:Desperate Twinkies (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530858)

From what I can tell, the prosecution has absolutely not proven Hans' guilt beyond the shadow of a doubt.


So what? They don't have to. The standard is not "beyond the shadow of a doubt," it's "beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty." Unless he confesses or there's an eyewitness that can testify to seeing him do it there will always be "a shadow of a doubt." However, unless that doubt is reasonable, they must convict. And, as far as the circumstantial evidence being flimsy, I've been on a jury (in a civil case as it happens) where much of the evidence was circumstantial. Part of the judges instructions were that we must give that evidence exactly as much credence as we would direct evidence. No more, no less.

Re:Desperate Twinkies (2, Informative)

Captain Nitpick (16515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530902)

From what I can tell, the prosecution has absolutely not proven Hans' guilt beyond the shadow of a doubt. They have not met the standard of proof required for a criminal conviction.

The standard of proof in a criminal case is 'beyond a reasonable doubt'. This is far less than 'beyond a shadow of a doubt'.

Gem of a quote (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22530302)

His signal adult achievement was ReiserFS, a file system he named for himself, unusual in the programming world. The system organizes data on Linux, the "open source" operating system.
In the same breath, they say naming something after ones own name is unusual, and refer to the OS written by a guy named Linus. Hows that for irony.

Re:Gem of a quote (5, Insightful)

mccalli (323026) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530346)

In the same breath, they say naming something after ones own name is unusual, and refer to the OS written by a guy named Linus. Hows that for irony.

Linus named it FreakOS I believe. It was someone else who convinced him to rename it to Linux.

Cheers,
Ian

Re:Gem of a quote (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530360)

"Linux" happened to be the name of the folder he was storing the source code in.

Re:Gem of a quote (2, Informative)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530516)

when in doubt, Wikipedia! [wikipedia.org]

Linus Torvalds originally developed the Linux kernel as a hobby OS for the Intel 80386 CPU, incorporating elements from MINIX, although with entirely new code.[12] Initially Torvalds wanted to call the kernel he developed Freax (a combination of "free", "freak", and the letter X to indicate that it is a Unix-like system), but his friend Ari Lemmke, who administered the FTP server where the kernel was first hosted for downloading, named Torvalds' directory linux.

Of course, nothing on Wikipedia should be taken as fact unless it can be backed up with supporting references, but that's how it goes.

Re:Gem of a quote (1)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530568)

As far as supporting references, how about his autobiography (Just for Fun: The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary)?

(no link because I couldn't figure out how to hardlink books)

Re:Gem of a quote (1)

ben(zen) (1162093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530682)

(no link because I couldn't figure out how to hardlink books)
All we need is to digitise one, TRON-like! Then there'd be a copy sitting on the internet, in its entirety. And yes, Torvalds did state that in his book.

Re:Gem of a quote (1)

erayd (1131355) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530650)

It's in his autobiography too ('Just for fun, the story of an accidental revolutionary', co-written with David Diamond).

Re:Gem of a quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22530784)

I recently read a book co-written by Torvalds- "Just for Fun" I believe is what it is called.

That story is the one that appears in it. So, there you go. Go check out the book and read it if you're a huge enough nerd to care.

Re:Gem of a quote (1)

Zaitor (946692) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530586)

No, he wanted to called it Freax.

Quote from Linus himself in a documentary called The Code.

FREAX from free, freak and the 'X' for unix. Ari Lemmke, the guy who put it up for ftp (at the University of Helsinki) didn't like that name at all. So when he put it up he just called it Linux, since he knew that was the "working" name. That name stuck :)

Re:Gem of a quote (1)

chris_sawtell (10326) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530920)

Linus named it FreakOS I believe. It was someone else who convinced him to rename it to Linux.
True. It was the operator of the ftp server who named Linus' source tree "Linux"

Linus is actually the most modest person, who has actually done something really worth while, I have ever had the privilege to meet.

Re:Gem of a quote (1, Insightful)

orasio (188021) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530612)

His signal adult achievement was ReiserFS, a file system he named for himself, unusual in the programming world. The system organizes data on Linux, the "open source" operating system.
In the same breath, they say naming something after ones own name is unusual, and refer to the OS written by a guy named Linus. Hows that for irony.
It's wrong to say "Linux" is an OS. It's understandable, though, it has been going on for more than 15 years.

But then, you say that a guy names Linus wrote some OS.
I'll explain again, kids. Linus Torvalds wrote a kernel, a crucial tool for making an OS.
The resulting OS is GNU/Linux, and your confusion is the reason why calling the OS "Linux" is wrong, it gives credit to Linus, and the Linux project, for the work of GNU people. People say it doesn't matter, but it does matter, in free software, attribution is all.

Re:Gem of a quote (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22530832)

Who the fuck are GNU people?

You snooze you loose, GNU-tards!

/. defense (5, Funny)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530310)

I'm too anti-social to be a threat to society.

Re:/. defense (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22530780)

Anti-social means something different than isolated or reclusive; it means actively doing things in disregard for the rights of others. Its symptoms are more likely to include a history of arrests rather than living a parent's basement plotting a prank on a boss. General use vs. proper use is generally okay, but in cases like these (including schizophrenic vs. DID), the general usage simply reinforces stereotypes of particular mental illnesses which stigmatizes patients and does little to educate the public about such illnesses.

he should get some... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22530340)

Open Source advocates.

My Suspicion (4, Interesting)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530354)

Assuming he killed Nina (a pretty safe assumption, on the face of it), I suspect he's making an error of reasoning that hyper intelligent people and small children are prone to: Because there's no direct evidence, he can't logically conclude his own guilt from his actions, therefore no one else can.

It's like a child hiding cookies behind his back and assuming that, since Mom can't see what's in his hands, she can't know that he's got cookies.

There's a quote about how circumstantial evidence *is* evidence to smart people, because smart people of capable of making inferences and deductions.

Re:My Suspicion (2, Interesting)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530416)

Guilty? quite possibly.
Guilty beyond a reasonable doubt? Maybe not.
Nina *may* have gone to Russia. Didn't her family supposedly have some "connections"?

Re:My Suspicion (5, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530460)

Nina *may* have gone to Russia. Didn't her family supposedly have some "connections"?


Well, at least some symbolic links.

Re:My Suspicion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22530486)

I think it's just sad that just because the guy was a geek, you think it's ok for him to commit murder and get away with it. Sad.

Re:My Suspicion (0, Offtopic)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530660)

Oh come fucking on. Modded 'troll' into oblivion? What's trollish about my post?

risky defense (4, Interesting)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530362)

it's very risky this type of defense. it might be seen that he's so smart, that maybe he KNEW he could use this kind of defense and planned on hiding out in the open so to speak.

personally i find it strange they aren't looking closer at the cross dressing lover who has admitted to killing people in the past.

also there is no body yet, so i don't understand how exactly they are mounting a murder case against him? for all they know this is all staged by his bitter russian bride in an attempt to get back at him, stranger things have happened.

Re:risky defense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22530448)

I agree wrt the weakness of the case. Or I did, anyway. The bit about Münchhausen's syndrome was new to me, and is actually a pretty solid motive for offing your spouse.

But stressing the guys intelligence will only evoke images of mad scientists, and James Bond style (soon my shiny device will kill everyone ha ha ha) terrorists.

Re:risky defense (2, Interesting)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530594)

You don't need a body for a murder trial and conviction. Think about it: that would mean that successfully getting rid of the body would be a Get Out Of Jail Free card. All they need is 1) enough evidence of a crime to persuade a grand jury that it's worth trying, and 2) enough evidence that he did it to persuade the regular jury that he's guilty. It doesn't have to be a logically sound proof, just a convincing one.

Re:risky defense (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530624)

personally i find it strange they aren't looking closer at the cross dressing lover who has admitted to killing people in the past.

Did you include that detail because cross-dressers are known to be violent or something?

Re:risky defense (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530824)

Yeah, of archetypes I expect to decide to murder me, i'd have to place cross-dressers waaaayyyy the hell down on the list.

Re:risky defense (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22531022)

How many geeks here have bit their tongue when you had something to say - something that to you is infallible, cold hard logic - that you knew others would misinterpret?

If I were accused of murdering someone in a dumb way, I would immediately be thinking "Wow, that's dumb, I would never kill someone like that. This way would be so much simpler". I have no desire or intention of killing another, but that's just how I think - why would I go through all that trouble if there was an easier way? So it couldn't have been me. And it would make perfect sense to me, but I'm betting others would interpret it as the complete opposite.

So yes, it makes _some_ sense to me that someone could be intelligent but socially dumb, and trip up doing something others would think make you guilty. Most of us, I suspect, are just smart enough to not let that happen. Of course this Reiser case is just whacked out from all angles, so who knows what the truth is anymore.

The Geek Defense Argument (4, Funny)

mincognito (839071) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530374)

1. killing ones wife requires having a wife to kill
2. the accused is a geek
3. geeks cannot have wives
4. the defense rests

Re:The Geek Defense Argument (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530426)

OK, so you've established that Reiser is not a geek...
So what is he?

Re:The Geek Defense Argument (5, Funny)

Renderer of Evil (604742) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530510)

OK, so you've established that Reiser is not a geek... So what is he?
Hans Reiser is a general-purpose, journaled collection of cells that relies on DNA metadata to reduce internal fragmentation.

Re:The Geek Defense Argument (0)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530868)

OK, so you've established that Reiser is not a geek... So what is he?
Hans Reiser is a general-purpose, journaled collection of cells that relies on DNA metadata to reduce internal fragmentation.
*applause* You, sir, almost owed me a new laptop keyboard. I feel so generalized now.

Re:The Geek Defense Argument (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530706)

1. killing ones wife requires having a wife to kill
2. the accused is a geek
3. geeks cannot have wives
4. the defense rests
5. Why would a wookie live on endor with a bunch of ewoks?
6. someone's head explodes
7. Acquittal

Three words for you: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22530922)

Mail order bride.

From Russia no less.
Hans *is* a geek without a doubt.

What serious evidence is there against him? (5, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530400)

Sean Sturgeon confessed to killing eight people [wired.com] . If I were the homicide detective, you damn well better believe I'd be urging the prosecutor to dismiss the charges without prejudice so that the scope of the investigation could be brought to bear on HIM, now. The guy is into "death yoga," serious BDSM and confessed to killing eight people. The guy is a total loon based on what has come out, and he'd probably score very dangerously high on a sociopath scale. Hans might be the killer, but if I were a cop, I'd have spat my coffee out all over the report in shock when I read that Nina had gotten herself involved with a guy who sounds like a real nutjob who probably killed her.

Unless they found Nina's blood all over Reiser's car, they don't have much to go on. Even then, it's not unrealistic to think that Sturgeon might have tried to frame Reiser.

The details of this case are very sordid. I wouldn't put it past the prosecutors to be ignoring sturgeon's high probability of guilt out of pride because they "have their man." This is one of the reasons why I unabashedly support making it impossible to give a life sentence or execution without a minimum of two credible witnesses, and serious penalties (that can include execution in murder cases) for those who commit perjury.

Re:What serious evidence is there against him? (1, Informative)

jmauro (32523) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530442)

Unless they found Nina's blood all over Reiser's car

I think they did [cbs5.com] , which is why he was charged over other possible suspects.

Re:What serious evidence is there against him? (4, Interesting)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530696)

No, they found items containing her blood (sleeping bag), and there was blood samples in Reisers garage.

Strangely enough though, this is one case where i would expect it to warrant further investigation as A) Nina Reiser was a physician and B) as the GP stated, Sean Sturgeon is one frightening fucking individual. That gives the knowledge necessary for such things to be possible, combined with a nature that has done such things before.

I'm not saying for sure one way or the other, but don't you think the friggan BOOKS ON CRIME they found along with it all as rather like someone padding the bill? (Plus what kind of programmer wouldn't think to properly destroy those objects so no one finds them wasting in memory heh). Not certainty by any means, but worthy of investigation.

Re:What serious evidence is there against him? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22530466)

OK, from now on I'll only kill someone if there is only one witness around.

Re:What serious evidence is there against him? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22530618)

The guy is into "death yoga," serious BDSM and confessed to killing eight people. The guy is a total loon based on what has come out, and he'd probably score very dangerously high on a sociopath scale.


'Serious BDSM' is what I do sometimes, but it has nothing to do with being a sociopath!

If BDSM is not your piece of cake, fine, but do not put it at the same level as killing people because you simply do not understand it.

Re:What serious evidence is there against him? (1)

orasio (188021) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530644)

Keep thinking, and you should come to the conclussion that death penalty is wrong. Put all the arbitrary restrictions and safeguards you want, and you will keep sending innocents to death.

Re:What serious evidence is there against him? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22530680)

Since when was being into "serious BDSM" grounds for making an individual out to be anything other than safe, sane and consensual? You don't convince somebody to keep letting you tie them up by hurting them so badly they never want to do it again. Not to mention the fact that most men and women aren't interested in hardcore BDSM on the first date either.

I am actually a bit appalled by societies continual desire to debase somebody and make them out to be sick and twisted simply because they choose to engage in slightly less mainstream sexual activities. Despite the fact that the majority of the population engages in BDSM of one form or another at some point in time, enjoying BDSM does NOT in anyway have any link to being deranged or twisted or mentally unstable. If anything, I would argue that the mo intelligent an individual, the more likely they are to engage in BDSM in the first place. That doesn't mean there aren't twisted, sick people who happen to like and engage in BDSM but then again, there are good Christians who also kill and maim and you don't see people making the link between that and antisocial acts.

Surely the "technogeek" Slashdot crowd is by and far more likely to engage in BDSM than sheeple at large. At least, slowly, attitudes are changing towards BDSM but we still have a long way to go. At least you can buy a sex toy in Texas. Only took what, 30 years to get that law off the books? And we had to go through judicial interpretation in order to do so. Thanks for nothing, Texas Legislature.

Re:What serious evidence is there against him? (2, Interesting)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530738)

The guy is a total loon based on what has come out

I suspect that's why they dismissed him as a suspect--after investigating him, they decided he was a total whackjob. The fact that he hasn't been charged with the eight murders to which he confessed (AFAIK) suggests that they don't find him credible.

Sure he claims to have killed 8, but not her ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22530870)

So Reiser is separated from his wife, she then dates the sex freak.
She then breaks up with sex freak and a few months later she disappears.
Sex freaks admits to being a serial murderer later.

Maybe its just me, but who seems more likely to have killed her?
The husband who has been separated from her for 2-3 years or the obvious loon who she broke off with a few months before?

Re:What serious evidence is there against him? (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530914)

The prosecutor cannot ask the court to dismiss without prejudice, now. How would that look? You see, unlike Hans, the prosecutor is one of those kinds of people that cares more about how he looks than what he does. If that were not so, he would have a decent job (one with more fulfilling rewards in life). So, of course, he will proceed with the case.

Re:What serious evidence is there against him? (1)

AlexBirch (1137019) | more than 6 years ago | (#22531004)

This is one of the reasons why I unabashedly support making it impossible to give a life sentence or execution without a minimum of two credible witnesses

I agree. After your proposed changes are made, do you want to take a drive with me to a secluded area?

beyond the shadow of a doubt (5, Funny)

hxnwix (652290) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530524)

I and many of my geek friends would have a hard time proving our innocence if such accusations were leveled against us.

Imagine if they looked in our basements... I can hear the cross examiner already: "sir, can you explain to us what made you so angry that you shot this Compaq server 382 times with a .22 rifle? Do you usually shoot things that annoy you? You said that computers are important to you - so important that you like to shoot them repeatedly. Was your wife important to you? Did she sometimes annoy you? No further questions."

Fortunately, we are innocent until proven guilty...

Re:beyond the shadow of a doubt (1)

STrinity (723872) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530590)

What sort of geek can't produce absolute proof that they were in fact having dinner with Lindsay Lohan at the moment of the murder, with photos of the night posted on Perez Hilton, TMZ, and Defamer?

Re:beyond the shadow of a doubt (1)

4d4m (584216) | more than 6 years ago | (#22531034)

"Ladies and Gentlement of the Jury, let the record show that the accused shot off-screen no fewer than 35 times in order to reload gun. Surely this goes beyond simple defense or insanity, and into the realm of premeditated downtime"

"Geek defense", really? (1)

rockhome (97505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530556)

So he doesn't strike some tech people as particularly odd as far as technical people go.

Yes, but he is odd as a normal, functional human being goes.
Why does the meme persist in which brilliance can only go hand in hand with eccentricity?

Surely, many people have been both brilliant and eccentric, but a fair many others have been
brilliant and perfectly functional. I would describe myself as a tremendous nerd, yet I am perfectly
capable of functioning in normal society.

So, this defense relies on the fact that Hans Reiser is so brilliant, it gets in the way of being able
function as a normal person. Or he so brilliant as to dupe his lawyers and jury into believing that
he couldn't possibly have committed the crime because of his extreme eccentricity.

Re:"Geek defense", really? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22530732)

"yet I am perfectly capable of functioning in normal society."

Slave society was once "normal", being normal is not always what it's cracked up to be.

Re:"Geek defense", really? (2, Interesting)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530778)

The story was written by journalists, as all news stories are - and we know for a fact that they aren't the sharpest knives in the drawer. They believe all sorts of weird things, especially about smart people...they move in a very restricted social stratum, and they are typically very out-of-touch. There must be something wrong with computer programmers, because if they were really that smart, they would have become journalism professors.

Maybe the LinuxMafia (1)

Ice Station Zebra (18124) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530628)

did it. After all, that is what the Mafia was good at, why would the LinuxMafia be any different.
Arrest that Rick guy, he sounds guilty.

Sense and Circumstance (4, Interesting)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530746)

The issue seems to come from the apparent weakness of the prosecution's case. The most damning part of the case seems to be that Reiser acted strangely; did odd things, said odd things, behaved in unexpected ways. That kind of thing works well to tie together strong evidence to show motives and behaviors that link the evidence to the suspect. But lacking that, the case becomes little more than "he sure SEEMS guilty." And that is, as the article mentioned one judge noting, a very thin case indeed.

So this is what the defense has to rally against. They have a client who is his own worse enemy. They have to remove the focus on irrational, unexpected behavior and shift it back to the strength of the real evidence presented by the prosecution's case. In short, they have to defeat a strategy that may give circumstantial evidence more weight than it would otherwise be given by people who don't share the same sensibilities as the defendant.

I've known plenty of technical folks (engineers, coders, sysadmins, screwdriver slingers, etc.) who are just odd birds. I've got a whole host of weird stories based on experiences working with and around these folks. Many of these stories could (and sometimes are) taken out of context to imply a lot more about the individual than they really should. I'm not at all surprised that such an issue might rear its ugly head in the aggressive atmosphere of a court of law.

From the hood.... (3, Interesting)

FlyingGuy (989135) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530816)

Well, I tell ya. I live in Han's hood, and let me tell ya a thing or three..

  • Silicon Valley is on the other side of the bay.
  • The jury of his peers came from Alameda County, not San Mateo or Santa Clara County, which comprise 95% of what is considered Silicon Valley and most of them probably came from the city of Oakland, a Blue Collar city for the most part.
  • The guy who owns the local hardware store went to High School with Hans ( Skyline High School ) and is also a Deputy Sheriff. He personally thinks that Han's did the deed and well, for the most part so do most folks that live in Montclair.

I personally am not convinced since I know a few Russian women, and for the most part they are pretty normal, well until you piss them off, then all bets are off because they are some pretty vindictive women. Prior to his wife going missing and him getting arrested I had seen Han's around the village a few times, picking up his mail, the grocery store, the usual stuff and he never really impressed me one way or the other, so I don't know him as a person.

One thing I will say is that from the live blog coverage of the trial, he is certainly not doing himself any favors with his courtroom antics. I might stop by the trial this coming Wednesday. If I do I will srop you all a line back to let you know my thoughts.

In the meantime, I am not sure I would start any long term projects that rely on his file system brilliance...

Hmm, sounds to me that as geek .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22531032)

... is a abnormal thing in comparison to non-geek users.

It must have been some stupid user who killed her and pinned it on Hans.
I mean all geeks are gods and gods don't kill, right?
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