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Is this really worth a shorter sentence?
July 7, 2008 9:19 PM   Subscribe

Hans Reiser leads police to the body of his wife. Software engineer Hans Reiser, who was convicted in the murder of his wife, Nina, long denied he killed her. His defense was based on the theory that she was hiding out in her native Russia and her body could not be found. Today, in a possible exchange for a shorter sentence he led police to the shallow grave of Nina Reiser, just a moment's drive from the house he lived in with his mother and two children. Previously, previously.
posted by parmanparman (131 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Slow off the mark here. Already reported by SFGate.com
posted by davebarnes at 9:23 PM on July 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


And on Slashdot.
posted by brassafrax at 9:25 PM on July 7, 2008


Guess it's not speculation anymore.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:27 PM on July 7, 2008


Let's not jump to any conclusions here.
posted by horsemuth at 9:27 PM on July 7, 2008 [16 favorites]


A sad end to an ugly tale. Is it wrong of me to hope the judge ignores the request for a lighter sentence?
posted by waraw at 9:29 PM on July 7, 2008


Is this really worth a shorter sentence?

Only his wife's family can know for sure. The closure that the discovery of her body will bring (and the undoubtedly lengthy sentence that Reiser will get) may be enough for them. It's difficult to say how any of us would react in that situation.

I'd like to know WTF was going through Reiser's mind when he decided to murder her. He's obviously a smart man and you would assume that smart people aren't quite so ... stupid.
posted by Avenger at 9:32 PM on July 7, 2008


But did he lead them to his missing passenger seat?
posted by rr at 9:35 PM on July 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


you would assume that smart people aren't quite so ... stupid.

You'd be surprised.
posted by trondant at 9:36 PM on July 7, 2008


Closest thing to genius is insanity...
posted by miss lynnster at 9:38 PM on July 7, 2008


This comparison of Linux filesytems might help people to understand the issues.
posted by sien at 9:39 PM on July 7, 2008 [44 favorites]


posted by Avenger you would assume that smart people aren't quite so ... stupid.

Not after you get done reading the "But Hans Reiser is innocent!" posts in that earlier thread.
posted by optovox at 9:40 PM on July 7, 2008 [5 favorites]


In case it gets reverted: At the time of his comment, sien's link was to a feature-by-feature comparison of Linux filesystems in which the last column was "Murders your wife."

Surprisingly, there wasn't a check in that column for the NTFS row.
posted by sdodd at 9:45 PM on July 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


Is this really worth a shorter sentence?

Since it effectively destroys his appeals chances, I'd think so. Reading The Charlie project should give a good idea of how hard it is to get a conviction to stick without a body, pattern of violence, or confession.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:46 PM on July 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


So he journaled her body in case his case crashed? (Yes, that was in terrible taste.)
posted by orthogonality at 9:56 PM on July 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'd like to know WTF was going through Reiser's mind when he decided to murder her. He's obviously a smart man and you would assume that smart people aren't quite so ... stupid.

He thought he was smarter then everyone else, that was the problem. And I mean, it sounds like he might have gotten away with it if he wasn't so full of hubris as to testify at his trial.
posted by delmoi at 10:05 PM on July 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


An inmate at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin testified during the murder trial that Reiser raced to a television set when a news report came on in February 2007 about a body being found in the Oakland hills. Reiser was visibly relieved when the reporter said the body was that of a black man, the inmate testified.

Wow.
posted by delmoi at 10:07 PM on July 7, 2008


He's obviously a smart man and you would assume that smart people aren't quite so ... stupid.

You're still in college, amirite? You probably know a few brainiacs who have limited social skills or don't really understand why the dishes need to be done occasionally.

Apply that same level of DURRR to killing someone. Brains don't really enter into it.
posted by Cyrano at 10:08 PM on July 7, 2008


Closest thing to genius is insanity...

Yeah, but, normally we'd like to believe that the insanity part of genius involves nothing more than wearing flip flops in the snow and occasionally talking to baked bean tins.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:11 PM on July 7, 2008 [5 favorites]


But Hans Reiser is innocent!
posted by mazola at 10:12 PM on July 7, 2008


Sien's link won't get reverted because it was to a specific revision. The page has been updated now (permanent link to the version current when I saw it).
posted by jacalata at 10:12 PM on July 7, 2008


In case it gets reverted: At the time of his comment, sien's link was to a feature-by-feature comparison...

Actually, sien's link was (cleverly) to a specific version to avoid that problem.

Explaining jokes = not so clever.
posted by rokusan at 10:14 PM on July 7, 2008


Damn those fast little fingers, Jacalata.
posted by rokusan at 10:15 PM on July 7, 2008


being too slow = least clever of all ahaha
posted by jacalata at 10:20 PM on July 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


davebarnes writes "Slow off the mark here. Already reported by SFGate.com"

Really? Maybe that's why the lead link is to the SFGate.
posted by Mitheral at 10:20 PM on July 7, 2008 [8 favorites]


So, in addition to apparently committing the crime, he waived his right to a speedy trial, delayed like crazy, lied under oath despite his attorney's advice against testifying, and then offered to reveal the body only after the unfavorable verdict. Not the best way to start off a bid for a plea deal.
posted by spiderwire at 10:28 PM on July 7, 2008


This is me being incredibly surprised.

(Is it okay if we jump to conclusions now?)
posted by rtha at 10:33 PM on July 7, 2008


If I were a prosecutor, I wouldn't want me on a jury, because I have a finely honed bullshit meter and know when people are making shit up to try and sell a bill of goods, as prosecutors often do. I think that's largely a result of an inadequate amount of practice in a court of law, brought upon by most crimes being disposed of by plea bargain.
posted by wierdo at 10:53 PM on April 28
posted by Joybooth at 10:40 PM on July 7, 2008


Yeah but he had Asbergers so its okay, right?
posted by rokusan at 10:43 PM on July 7, 2008


I'd rather not have yet another post on this grim subject.
posted by serazin at 10:57 PM on July 7, 2008


If I were a prosecutor, I wouldn't want me on a jury, because I have a finely honed bullshit meter and know when people are making shit up to try and sell a bill of goods, as prosecutors often do. I think that's largely a result of an inadequate amount of practice in a court of law, brought upon by most crimes being disposed of by plea bargain.

I don't understand. Is this an objection, or sarcasm, or what?

1. The fact that many cases are disposed of by plea bargain, some inappropriately, doesn't legitimate perjury or faithless delay tactics. On the contrary -- plea bargains are largely a result of constraints on judicial resources, so gaming the courts inevitably means a tradeoff with other cases where more attention could mean a better result.

2. The prosecutors and public defenders are getting the same "amount of practice" regardless.

3. As much as anyone might disagree with prosecutors' discretion in bringing cases, it seems questionable to contend that defendants' judgments would be preferable in a general sense.

4. It's irrelevant anyway as far as this case is concerned, because by all appearances the prosecutor wasn't selling a bill of goods, the defendant was, and the the jury's bullshit meter picked up on it. So, score one for the system.
posted by spiderwire at 10:59 PM on July 7, 2008


He's obviously a smart man and you would assume that smart people aren't quite so ... stupid.

He's a very intelligent man, but intelligent ≠ smart. Somebody on /. posted a theory that his belief in his ability to out-think or out-plot the police and prosecutors yielded a worse outcome than if he were to have lawyered up and plead guilty, which I hadn't considered.

In cases like this, the benefit of hindsight gives casual observers the ability to recognize what tactical mistakes had been made and reinforces our 'dumb criminal' perception. In the end you can lay out your perfect bathtub, acid, and hacksaws, but there are so many possible mistakes that, practically speaking, we're all dumb. Better to try to avoid the 'criminal' part of 'dumb criminal', rather than the 'dumb.'
posted by theclaw at 10:59 PM on July 7, 2008 [8 favorites]


Not the best way to start off a bid for a plea deal.

I wonder if this isn't further indicative of Reiser's arrogance? He's trading a mandatory 25 to life for a mandatory 15 to life, and in doing so, seems to be assuming that he'll be serving the short end of the sentence.

Is there some principle of Californian prison tariffs in which people automatically get to serve the minimum component of the sentence, losing time for bad behaviour? Or does it work the other way around, and people automatically expect to serve life, but can get time knocked off for good behaviour?

While I'm not a supporter of either the death penalty or mandatory minimums, I would have thought Reiser was a perfect candidate for the maximum tariff. He showed no sense of shame about killing his wife, depriving his children of a mother. He was determined to do whatever he could to get away with the act. And it was only after he'd been completely nailed that he decides to try and make some concessions in order to get a shorter sentence.

What a fucking scumbag.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:03 PM on July 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


I don't understand. Is this an objection, or sarcasm, or what?

It's a quote from one of the many defenders of Reiser's innocence on the previous thread.

I'd rather not have yet another post on this grim subject.

Then not reading it might be a good idea?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:05 PM on July 7, 2008


spiderwire, I think Joybooth is taking the piss out of wierdo after the prevous Reiser thread.
posted by theclaw at 11:05 PM on July 7, 2008


I would have tazered his ass.
posted by puke & cry at 11:16 PM on July 7, 2008


As I said when the news first broke, I believed him capable of murder, because other people just weren't real enough to him; they were tools or obstacles, not people. I don't think it's Aspergers, I think he's an outright sociopath.

His kids, god. Poor things. :( I read somewhere that they're with grandparents now. I hope, so much, that things will be better for them there.
posted by Malor at 11:25 PM on July 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think I'll wait for the inevitable "ripped from the headlines" Law and Order episode about this before I pass judgment.
posted by Pyry at 11:28 PM on July 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh, and one more thing: I see plenty of 'genius' talk up there. Reiser was no genius. He's plenty smart, sure, but his self-opinion was much higher than his ability to actually deliver. His Reiser3 code was a mess, and took months if not years to get working really properly, and Reiser4 looked no better.
posted by Malor at 11:30 PM on July 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


"Nerds with no common sense" cliches aside, someone who commits a murder of this type is, by definition, not thinking rationally. His decision to kill her was irrational and he carried it out in an irrational way. "Smart" doesn't have much to do with it.

As for him being a "genius," do we have any evidence of this whatsoever, or does it just make good copy? I know plenty of people who program computers who do it basically by rote. They may appear "brilliant" to people for whom code is a foreign language, but they're not exceptionally intelligent at all. They're just good at programming computers.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:34 PM on July 7, 2008 [4 favorites]


So who's got the book/movie rights sewn up?
posted by Clave at 11:38 PM on July 7, 2008


That man is sick, but mostly I feel for the two children.
posted by tarheelcoxn at 11:40 PM on July 7, 2008



I live less that 2 miles from this crime scene and I've followed it from the beginning. I knew instinctively that he was guilty (who didn't?)... and it gives me the ultimate willies that I've driven by this locations dozens and dozens of times since the murder.

Nina, RIP.
posted by trixare4kids at 11:44 PM on July 7, 2008


spiderwire, I think Joybooth is taking the piss out of wierdo after the prevous Reiser thread.

I'd considered that. I wanted to say something anyway, because I think it's actually a legitimate concern -- judicial resources are stretched too thin as it is. That being the case, though, I think Reiser's behavior in the trial is just all the more infuriating. Many people out there could have benefited from the attention and energy that's been (apparently needlessly) expended on this.

This wasn't a necessary outcome. Reiser turned down the prosecution's offer of a plea deal in exchange for leading police to the body. That means he was perfectly willing to deny the concession that he's now trading on, simply in order to save his own neck.

Had the prosecution slipped up, or one juror dug in their heels, Nina's body probably would have never been located, and there'd be no closure for her family nor any sort of justice. The entire thing would have been blamed on her supposed "serial-killer" ex-boyfriend, and at any rate Reiser would have been insulated by the double-jeopardy rule in perpetuity.

He shouldn't be rewarded for throwing the dice like that and losing -- not when he apparently knew better.
posted by spiderwire at 11:44 PM on July 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


> As for him being a "genius," do we have any evidence of this whatsoever, or does it just make good copy?

Yeah, they're probably giving him more credit than he's due. But modern filesystems are pretty sophisticated. The lead developer ain't your run-of-the-mill code monkey.

(Sorry about the wiki thing -- I shoulda paid more attention. The tackiness distracted me.)
posted by sdodd at 11:58 PM on July 7, 2008


The lead developer ain't your run-of-the-mill code monkey.

Well, I certainly hope not.
posted by spiderwire at 12:16 AM on July 8, 2008


lied under oath

I'd like to see his murder sentence reduced, and then see him convicted of perjury, with the maximum sentence to be served consecutively.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 12:25 AM on July 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


Does this mean ReiserFS is a bad file system?
posted by ryoshu at 12:27 AM on July 8, 2008


ABC News coverage with aerial photos, commenter complaining about noise and pollution from said helicopters, etc.
posted by spiderwire at 12:34 AM on July 8, 2008


Countdown to some "edgy" twats making a shitty game of this...
posted by puke & cry at 12:36 AM on July 8, 2008


I'm curious to hear what people like this guy who thought he was railroaded just for being geeky have to say now.
posted by Potsy at 12:50 AM on July 8, 2008


He's obviously a smart man

Well, yes and no. He's an ideas man. A lot of the implementation of ReiserFS and Reiser4 were pretty crappy - data loss bugs and so on. He certainly doesn't have the eye for detail and getting it right that you'd want in a filesystem developer, and delivered interesting ideas in a often terrible implementation (mind you, ZFS is doing pretty well, despite the fact that it's a steaming mound of bugs, so I guess hype can overcome reality).

He also alienated people in the Linux kernel dev world by being an arrogant cock; that is to say, an arrogant cock by the standards of kernel developers, which is setting the bar pretty high.

So I don't find it surprising that someone who thinks he's a genius, but isn't really as clever as he believes, and doesn't play well with others, would get caught with a poorly-planned murder.

And, to echo some other posters, his kids, his poor, poor kids. Hell, the grandparents - how do you explain that daddy killed mummy?
posted by rodgerd at 1:12 AM on July 8, 2008 [4 favorites]


He shouldn't be rewarded for throwing the dice like that and losing -- not when he apparently knew better.

Spiderwire, on one hand I agree, but on the other hand... Police lie about deals to suspects to get confessions all the time, but they can get away with it. Once the high paid defense attorneys are in the room though, if the DA or judge don't deliver any advantage for deals like this, there is no incentive for future criminals to take a deal.

Potsy, why don't you ask Crabby Appleton, or one of the seven users who favorited his comment in the previous thread?
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:26 AM on July 8, 2008


I didn't know at the time whether he was guilty, but was suspicious later that he appeared to be convicted because he looked and sounded like a nutjob, and also because he gave all appearances of lying on the witness stand. I was suspicious that a man with obvious mental difficulties in dealing with normal people was being railroaded in a case that had all sorts of odd filips. Several people who watched the trial felt that the prosecution did not show much or any evidence to prove premeditation.

Something that appears rational to an Asperger's sufferer, such as buying a book on police investigations when you're under police investigation makes you look guilty. Yes, he's guilty and did try to cover up the murder, and deserves to go to prison for a very long time. Even now though, I can't help but feel the jury came to the right answer for the wrong reasons.
posted by ArkhanJG at 1:28 AM on July 8, 2008


Also, he had the appeals process ahead if he hadn't made this deal, so there was still a lot of incentive for the prosecutor to make a deal.

would get caught with a poorly-planned murder

If he'd actually planned it rather than it being impulse, wouldn't he have bought the forensics books ahead of time? Not to mention a tarp or wrap to contain the forensic evidence of the body?
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:30 AM on July 8, 2008


I'm curious to hear what people like this guy who thought he was railroaded just for being geeky have to say now.

Probably something along the lines of "innocent until proven guilty". Now he is definitively proven guilty.
posted by srboisvert at 1:38 AM on July 8, 2008


Probably something along the lines of "innocent until proven guilty". Now he is definitively proven guilty.

You would think that his jury of peers would have decided that the prosecution proved he was guilty beyond all reasonable doubt in the trial itself. But the court of public opinion has little faith in the jury system to truly settle the question of guilt. Is it that we think that the system is inherently flawed, or simply that we desperately want the sense of closure that can only come when a criminal confesses?
posted by breath at 2:08 AM on July 8, 2008


BrotherCaine:

Police lie about deals to suspects to get confessions all the time, but they can get away with it.

Well, even if that's true, I'd say --
1. I tend to agree, but the ends don't justify the means
2. They're not under oath; prosecutors don't get to lie about plea deals, so it's not really analogous -- police intimidation, though a serious issue, is pretty distinct from perjury, etc.
3. That's a calculated risk -- the officer can be cross-examined, and if they misled the defendant that doesn't look good
4. Sadly, I don't see a compromise option beyond reading the suspect their Miranda rights; and the solution to that problem is police oversight -- it has little or nothing to do with witnesses lying on the stand

Once the high paid defense attorneys are in the room though, if the DA or judge don't deliver any advantage for deals like this, there is no incentive for future criminals to take a deal.

I'm not sure which way that argument goes. Are you saying that there should be an advantage to being able to hire, a high paid defense attorney or there shouldn't? If you can waive your right against self-incrimination, perjure yourself, and still get a deal, why would any criminal ever take a deal?

Also, he had the appeals process ahead if he hadn't made this deal, so there was still a lot of incentive for the prosecutor to make a deal.

There was no way this decision was getting overturned on appeal. He made the deal now because his sentencing hearing is (was) coming up in just a few days. The timing should tell you everything you need to know.

If he'd actually planned it rather than it being impulse, wouldn't he have bought the forensics books ahead of time?

Not if he was using them to plan his defense. It's certainly not exculpatory evidence no matter how you look at it. Even cast in the best possible light, it's just dumb. From there you can move down to damning or incriminatory depending on what inferences you draw.

I'm not sure if you're criticizing the verdict (which is apparently being reduced to a charge that doesn't include premeditation/deliberation anyway), but if so, keep in mind that a finding of premeditation/deliberation doesn't turn on the amount of time preceding the murder. The formulation of intent can occur any time prior to the murder, or so the jury instructions usually say. The question is clarity of purpose, not duration.

Regardless, he did buy the books ahead of time (we don't know specifically when the murder occurred, so the chronology is inevitably speculative), he just didn't get rid of them very well (as with many things, apparently), which is consistent with many of his other moves; and now that I think about it, I can't recall if they found the books specifically, but I seem to remember that there was a receipt. So maybe he did get rid of them.

Not to mention a tarp or wrap to contain the forensic evidence of the body?

According to the ABC News report I just linked, he did: "The body was found in a bag, buried deep in a ravine. The bag was well concealed and could have been easily overlooked. Authorities had a forensic anthropologist on scene to help recover the body."
posted by spiderwire at 2:15 AM on July 8, 2008


I didn't know at the time whether he was guilty, but was suspicious later that he appeared to be convicted because he looked and sounded like a nutjob, and also because he gave all appearances of lying on the witness stand. I was suspicious that a man with obvious mental difficulties in dealing with normal people was being railroaded in a case that had all sorts of odd filips....Even now though, I can't help but feel the jury came to the right answer for the wrong reasons.

I'm sick of this aspie excuse. It was prevalent in the last thread and now it is coming up in this one. Has there been some rash of innocent aspies being wrongfully convicted? Where is this all coming from?

It's true, the jury didn't like the way he came across on the stand. That's because he came across like he was lying. He came across that way because he was. His excuses were idiotic, and the circumstantial evidence was very strong. The book was just one piece. His being an obvious liar was another. Flooding his car out was another. The fact that he threw away the passenger seat in said car with no plausible explanation, more evidence. His wife, mother of two children, going missing after getting a restraining order against him, another piece. Trying to evade the police, more evidence he had something to hide (and lo and behold, he did!).

I thought he was very guilty after the last thread and the overwhelming pile of evidence for which he had no reasonable explanation. I didn't see his demeanor on the stand so it's not due to some prejudice against people with Asperger's. Just looking at all of it in print was very strong. He thought he was smarter than everyone else, that's why he didn't take many precautions. His cover-up attempts were really lazy. He didn't even go that far to bury the body, and he had a car at his disposal! Just arrogance and deception all the way, not Asperger's.
posted by Danila at 2:18 AM on July 8, 2008 [8 favorites]


Is it that we think that the system is inherently flawed, or simply that we desperately want the sense of closure that can only come when a criminal confesses?

Both, probably.

Also, according the SFGate article at least one of the jurors felt relieved about this turn of events, which is something. One of Justice Stevens' main objections to the death penalty -- and it's a rationale I agree with strongly -- is that citizens serving as jurors shouldn't have the burden of choosing between life or death placed on their shoulders. (On the other hand, it was Reiser's intransigence that put that burden there in the first place -- but in the end I'm glad they won't have to doubt themselves for their decision.)

Second, keep in mind that he hasn't been sentenced yet.

Third, I very much doubt that the prosecution was pleased with this outcome, since they offered him this exact deal before the conviction that he's now getting despite the guilty verdict.

The SFGate article suggests that the determinative factor might well be Nina's family's desire for closure -- as someone with a stake in the judicial system, I might not be thrilled about the outcome, but on a personal level I do have respect for that.
posted by spiderwire at 2:23 AM on July 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


He didn't even go that far to bury the body, and he had a car at his disposal!

Yeah, no kidding. I admit that I was surprised to read that the body was hidden less than a minute's drive from his house -- and after all that talk about him driving out to the desert. And at his attorney lauding his genius for not putting the body too far from the road? What? (Then again, maybe the attorney said that while he was still handcuffed to Reiser -- not the sort of situation where you want to be demeaning the guy's body-concealing skills.)

Regardless, apparently it was a realllly exhaustive search if they didn't check, you know, the ravine less than 60 seconds from his house.

That's some nice police work there, Lou.
posted by spiderwire at 2:29 AM on July 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


Really morbid shit to wake up to, I'll tell you what.

I left that scene because there was this je ne sais quoi ... it seemed like it was coming for all of us. Die in a bad accident, go all Shining on your family, develop a rare disease. I think being locked in your house for years on end is a great way to screw up your chi, fo sho.

I'm waiting for some Andrew Luster-esqe scandal to come down on the Ruby on Rails scene.
posted by electronslave at 2:38 AM on July 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm waiting for some Andrew Luster-esqe scandal to come down on the Ruby on Rails scene.

Oh, it's coming...

Do you know who built those Rails? That's right, mostly Chinese daylaborers working for pittance a day if they could live through it, dying in the Midwestern desert so you could move your precious, beautiful, opulent rubies, those rubies that could each feed any one of those immigrants' families for generations. Do you know how many countless thousands died for your grees

But, hey, enough of that negative talk. A rising tide lifts all ships, right? Oh, right! And speaking of which, we're moving our operation to Ruby on Yacht -- because Rails are gonna be underwater shortle. Don't worry! You'll love St. Marcos!

...Or so you think. Their souls will haunt you in perpetuity, no matter where or how you hide.... but they are not all bad since they will help you look up obscure OS hooks and such... oh, anc don't listen to the file system wonks
posted by spiderwire at 2:59 AM on July 8, 2008


Spiderwire, let me rephrase myself and say that I have no idea whether or not the murder was premeditated or not, but it clearly was not pre-planned in the sense of putting effort into preparing for the disposal of the body. I was responding to the earlier comment about poor planning as evidence that his intellect may be lacking, rather than addressing the issue of first degree murder or lesser charges. Not that I'm defending his intelligence, his behaviour in court clearly indicates poor judgement, and his arrogance in placing his own opinions above that of his counsel is just amazing.

Whether or not the body was found in a bag, it's clear from his removal of the seat and hosing the car out that he failed to contain the body in such a way as to prevent the leaking of fluids. The only chronology I've read involving the books stated that he bought them four or five days after the murder (according to Wired threat level). I'll stipulate that the chronology may be erroneous, but I'd contend that if he even had a half day to prepare between deciding to kill her and acting on it he'd have done at least slightly better at it (or at least chosen a better location for the murder).

There was no way this decision was getting overturned on appeal.

I'll take your word for it, but could he tie up enough court time to still make it worth making a deal?

As for the cops vs. DA deals, I'm not sure I care if the cops lie to get a confession. I'm not aware of any legal requirement for them to tell the truth to suspects outside of a court of law or deposition. For DA deals, as far as I know they can't actually control the length of sentencing, just make decisions about which charges to bring, and make recommendations that the judge can decide whether or not to follow regarding leniency. I'm not talking so much about the DA backing out on a deal as implying they have more influence over the judge than they actually do. No perjury required.

As for the high priced defense attorneys, I'm not saying that they can automatically negotiate better deals for their clients, but they represent the reason why not following through on a deal has repercussions for future cases. Criminals telling other criminals not to trust deals may or may not have an impact on whether plea bargains are made, but if attorneys start telling clients not to make deals, the plea system would break down in short order (almost a prisoner's dilemma problem).
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:09 AM on July 8, 2008


As for him being a "genius," do we have any evidence of this whatsoever, or does it just make good copy?

Most people, when confronted with someone with total recall and using big words, just assume they're more intelligent than average. If the person's also a tech geek/scientist/mathematician? Just proves the point. Aspies, though, lack the kind of higher level abstract reasoning ability that is a hallmark of "true" giftedness or genius, despite their exceptional ability for rote memorization and large vocabularies. (This [pdf] includes a table that does a good job of comparing and contrasting gifted vs. aspie students and their cognitive abilities.)
posted by elfgirl at 5:13 AM on July 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Er, the point of my comment being that, whether Reiser is a genius in a testable or quantifiable way probably doesn't signify to the press but, from the outside and to most people, Reiser would probably appear to be at a genius or near-genius level of intelligence.
posted by elfgirl at 5:22 AM on July 8, 2008


you would assume that smart people aren't quite so ... stupid.

you must be new here.

posted by gregor-e at 5:23 AM on July 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think this goes to show everyone: murder is hard.

No, really. If you were currently associated with the victim to any great degree, you're in the potential suspect box, and it's pretty hard to get out of. You can get rid of bodies (with a hell of a lot of work), but a good alibi is hard to create. An ill-planned murder is doomed from the start.

The guy should have been visiting Army surplus stores and buying body bags on the QT for some time before this, with some cheap, absorbent beach towels from Walgreens. He should have had a deep grave prepped, with bags of lime at the ready, or a woodchipper, bought for cash, situated near a pond. Those forensics books, used bookstores for cash. All preperatory materials kept in a storage unit out in a rural area, where they'll still take cash. The alibi is harder to come by - the most you can do is create a great deal of confusion about the time of death (if you can make it a range of days, well, nobody has an alibi that long unless they're being watched by video cameras).

This just seems like a spur of the moment deal, and he thinks he's smart enough to outwit everyone. His stories smack more of egotistical killer and desperate liar than autistic spectrum disorders.

Now I just have to find more out about "death yoga."
posted by adipocere at 5:51 AM on July 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Standard issue psychopath, not Aspie. Psychos are often high IQ. Not always, but there are plenty of examples of gifted scientists, doctors, lawyers even, engaging in basic murder.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 6:22 AM on July 8, 2008


Is it that we think that the system is inherently flawed, or simply that we desperately want the sense of closure that can only come when a criminal confesses?

From the few criminal trials I've seen, the system pretty much did the best it could, and the jury was great, but "beyond a reasonable doubt" was nothing like "beyond any doubt." Life is messy enough that a criminal justice system shouldn't be handled with a clear conscience -- you can't only convict where there are strong confessions like this, and you can't ever be 100% sure that the people who didn't confess did it.

(For example, I saw a trial where a 17-year-old claimed that her father raped her from the time she was 6 to 12, and he claimed he didn't. In the end the jury believed her. Wouldn't it be a huge relief if there was some physical evidence that proved the jury right? But wouldn't it also be a tragedy, after all she's been through and the bravery she's shown, to tell her "pics or it didn't happen"?)

Incidentally, I don't know whether it makes this story more baffling or less, but this isn't exactly an isolated case -- there have been at least 19 domestic violence homicides this year in Boston alone.
posted by jhc at 6:38 AM on July 8, 2008


adipocere The guy should have been visiting Army surplus stores and buying body bags on the QT for some time before this, with some cheap, absorbent beach towels from Walgreens. He should have had a deep grave prepped, with bags of lime at the ready, or a woodchipper, bought for cash, situated near a pond. Those forensics books, used bookstores for cash. All preperatory materials kept in a storage unit out in a rural area, where they'll still take cash. The alibi is harder to come by - the most you can do is create a great deal of confusion about the time of death (if you can make it a range of days, well, nobody has an alibi that long unless they're being watched by video cameras).

Reminder to self: Never ever cross adipocere.
posted by Skeptic at 6:42 AM on July 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


Well at least we know he didn't read ask.metafilter.
posted by borkencode at 7:14 AM on July 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


....bags of lime at the ready, or a woodchipper, bought for cash, situated near a pond.

Good luck getting bloodstains out of a woodchipper. Are

Those forensics books, used bookstores for cash.

And have them sitting in your house before or even after the crime? Use a library or bookstore but read them there, don't check them out.
posted by DU at 7:50 AM on July 8, 2008


Good luck getting bloodstains out of a woodchipper. Are

To finish that thought: ...you going to stick your arm in there with a sponge? Leave it suspiciously bleach-smelling?

You just need the body to be unidentifiable if it is ever found. Use a sledgehammer to smash the skull, teeth and identifiable bones (i.e. those with medical records). Use aforementioned lime to destroy finger (and foot!) prints.
posted by DU at 7:52 AM on July 8, 2008


No no - the books are kept at the storage unit beforehand. They get burned after the deed.

Don't even get me started on the wood chipper directions. My basic plan is first water and soap, a good scrubbing, then bleach, then another round of water, then getting a lot of the enzyme-laden pipe cleaners in the mix. Only after that is the wood chipper disposed of, either in a wholly separate body of water, or by leaving it on a dirt road 200 miles away. Nobody turns down a free wood chipper.

Also, the whole checklist? Written on flash paper. Burn when done.
posted by adipocere at 8:33 AM on July 8, 2008


He's obviously a smart man and you would assume that smart people aren't quite so ... stupid.

psychopath or no, seems likely to me that he did not plan this. he probably strangled her in a rage and only tried to "get away with it" after the fact, scrambling to get rid of the body, hosing out the car, disposing of the seat, etc etc. most murders are crimes of passion. smart or dumb, the perp ends up scrambling to cover his tracks, usually making a mess of it.
posted by quonsar at 8:54 AM on July 8, 2008


Adipocere, you are overplanning. Your best bet is to walk up to them in a private place, shoot them in the head and then get rid of the gun. Every element you plan is a thread that can be traced back to you.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:57 AM on July 8, 2008


Sorry, the woodchipper is a non-starter. It's like the problem of weapon disposal, only larger: You can't put a woodchipper in your pocket and quietly toss it off a bridge.

If you clean and return it, you have a suspiciously clean machine and a trace to you (if only a vague description). If you don't return it, you've left a big clue sitting somewhere, cleaned or not1, that may be traceable to you (witnesses, tire tracks, etc).

Plus, how do you rent a chipper without some form of ID? The only thing I can think of is a huge deposit, which is going to leave a hole in your account that needs an explanation (and maybe leave a trace in the brain of the employee who handled your account).

1Of course, sometimes you might want to leave a big clue, if it's a misdirection. Abandon a chipper with some small bloodstains so they think the crime must have been committed after the rental period began, but when you have created an alibi for yourself. But then actually perform the murder well before you rent the chipper and hide the body in some other way.

This particular misdirection is seeming less and less workable as I type it, but you get the idea.

posted by DU at 8:58 AM on July 8, 2008


This is more of a potential Law and Order: Criminal Intent then L&O:Original Recipe Extra Tasty Crispy. Gorem will get the Reiser-esque character to confess right in front of his attorney by explaining how his computer program proves that he committed the crime.
posted by drezdn at 9:10 AM on July 8, 2008


I wonder if someone will try using Asperger's as a defense in the future.
posted by drezdn at 9:12 AM on July 8, 2008


Regardless, apparently it was a realllly exhaustive search if they didn't check, you know, the ravine less than 60 seconds from his house.


I've been on the trails in Redwood and Huckleberry. They can be steep, dark, and heavily wooded, thick with blackberries and poison oak. It doesn't surprise me that they missed her the first time.
" Less than half a mile" from his house as the crow flies is also not necessarily 60 seconds on a winding two lane road.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:16 AM on July 8, 2008


Is this really worth a shorter sentence?

Sure. Instead of 25 to life, give him 24 and 3/4ths to life.

Sorry, the woodchipper is a non-starter

Find yourself a pig farm.
posted by quin at 9:32 AM on July 8, 2008



Countdown to some "edgy" twats making a shitty game of this...


You could make a mean "Phoenix Wright" clone out of the trial. Although I'm not edgy enough of a twat to code one.
posted by Dr-Baa at 9:41 AM on July 8, 2008


"Plus, how do you rent a chipper without some form of ID?"

This is why I have been watching the local forest service brush-cutting team so closely. I know that they leave their wood chipper parked off to the side of the road when they leave for the weekend, and they're in an area where it might be possible to borrow it for a day without its absence being noticed.

What I mean to say is that were I planning a murder, I would be watching them. But clearly I'm not, so that's just idle speculation.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:51 AM on July 8, 2008


adipocere appearing in a thread about finding a corpse is inherently eponysterical.

If you don't understand why, go read about forensics (or like me watch all three seasons of Bones in a three-week period of commuting).
posted by mephron at 10:01 AM on July 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


Bookhouse writes "Your best bet is to walk up to them in a private place, shoot them in the head and then get rid of the gun."

And an advantage to a gun is you can reduce it to a pile of filings with a bench grinder in less than an hour. I defy anyone to get meaningful forensic evidence from the metal filings I flush down my toilet.
posted by Mitheral at 10:25 AM on July 8, 2008


I think this goes to show everyone: murder is hard.
No, really.


More like Not really, amirite?

At the risk of sounding morbid, it's who you kill, not how. If you murder a random stranger in a secluded area and keep your trap shut, odds are you'll get away with it. This lump of shit would probably have been better off turning himself in right rather than trying to play criminal gee-ni-us.
Nerds are bad at murder, they think too much and put too much focus on getting over, rather than getting away.

On preview, what Bookhouse said.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:31 AM on July 8, 2008


Find yourself a pig farm.

See that chink cocksucker called Wu, has a place just opposite The Gem. He'll take care of that for you.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:38 AM on July 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


posted by drezdn I wonder if someone will try using Asperger's as a defense in the future.

I wonder if this is the first and last time someone's been compared to a platypus as part of a defense.
posted by optovox at 11:10 AM on July 8, 2008


So he did it.

I wish he could keep working on ReiserFS in prison.

I write this post from a subnote, running Linux and ReiserFS. I use ReiserFS since 4 years and never had any problem. ReiserFS has been "deathproof" for me ;-)

But seriously, I wish he could do something productive in prision. How are the chances that they will let him work on this? Is this impossible?
posted by yoyo_nyc at 11:37 AM on July 8, 2008


It didn't say he did it, it said he led the police to her body to get a reduced sentence. Big difference.

How would he know where the body was if he didn't do it?

He's a genius.
posted by mazola at 11:43 AM on July 8, 2008


Oh wait, it did say he admitted to strangling her.
posted by mazola at 11:46 AM on July 8, 2008


Oh wait, it did say he admitted to strangling her.

I didn't see that before. Did that get added to the story? Kind of strange since that was part of the prosecution's narrative, and as far as I could tell there was never any direct evidence of it except that, um, he knew Judo -- or something?

This from the Wired article also struck me as a little weird:
"He passed it, and as he passed it, Bill said, 'Does any of this look familiar? Look at this flat spot right here. Does that look familiar at all?,'" Tamor said. "He said, 'Yeah, we passed it. It's up there.' He pointed it out, they started digging. They found a bag and they started exhuming."
Makes it sound like his defense attorney knew the spot better than Reiser did.

Also, onei says, "'Less than half a mile' from his house as the crow flies is also not necessarily 60 seconds on a winding two lane road."

The article(s) say both: less than half a mile and less than one minute's drive from Reiser's home. The Wired article I just linked has a map.
posted by spiderwire at 12:31 PM on July 8, 2008


But seriously, I wish he could do something productive in prision. How are the chances that they will let him work on this? Is this impossible?
posted by yoyo_nyc at 2:37 PM on July 8 [+] [!]

Any domestic violence non-profits need a code monkey who can, um, telecommute?
posted by availablelight at 12:44 PM on July 8, 2008


"Answering" this question from Peter McDermott:

In California, an indeterminate life sentence is for all intents and purposes a full life sentence. California has an administrative agency, the Board of Parole Hearings, which reviews whether to parole inmates who have an indeterminate life sentence and have served the minimum. They very rarely release an inmate. During the Davis administration, they released no one. Perhaps things will change in the years that Reiser will serve in prison. I have my doubts.

I don't know why Mr. Reiser gave up the body now for a "lighter" sentence. Defendants don't have much bargaining power AFTER the jury says guilty. For all the talk of how smart he is, he's not the most rational dude on the cell block.

For those fascinated by this case, the former public defender for Alameda County (where the murder occurred) blogged this trial.
posted by ferdydurke at 12:47 PM on July 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


ferdydurke: Are sentencing judges in California constrained by mandatory guidelines in which deviations from a recommended sentence need to be documented and justified? In many jurisdictions a judge can't just give life for Second Degree Murder without multiple aggravating circumstances (three-strikes laws, drug-related crime, murder of a minor, murder of an on-duty police officer, evidence of extreme violence, use of a firearm or "deadly weapon.") It is highly possible that Reiser did just bargain from life to a limited term.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:44 PM on July 8, 2008


He should have had a deep grave prepped, with bags of lime at the ready, or a woodchipper, bought for cash, situated near a pond.

Brings to mind Connecticut's Wood-Chipper Murder
"Thawing the snow and sifting the soil, detectives found 2,660 hairs, one fingernail, one toe nail, two teeth, one tooth cap and five droplets of blood. From this microscopic evidence, doctors were able to prove that Richard Crafts had disposed of his wife's body with a wood chipper near the river. The most important evidence was that the tooth cap matched Helle's dental records."
posted by ericb at 1:58 PM on July 8, 2008 [1 favorite]




BrotherCaine wants to know what I have to say now. He links to one of my comments in the older thread, but he neglected to link to the one that actually answers his question. (If you read entire the comment you'll understand why.) I'll quote the relevant paragraph for convenience:
To answer your question, it seems clear to me that the state did not adequately prove their case, and so the jury should have voted to acquit. I don't know whether he actually killed her. If he did kill her, I hope he is punished for it. Based on what I've read about the case (e.g., the Sturgeon angle), I think there's a lot of room for doubt.
Needless to say, I stand by this comment (and all my others on this topic). It now appears that he did, in fact, kill her, and that he will be punished for it, which is good. (If anything, he should be punished even more severely because he's given all the dumbfucks who "knew" he was guilty an excuse to feel vindicated.)

And BrotherCaine—thinking it's "good news" that someone was convicted of murder when you don't know for sure whether they actually did it? Still evil, in my book.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 2:34 PM on July 8, 2008


Your best bet is to walk up to them in a private place, shoot them in the head and then get rid of the gun.

Be sure that you're a member of a shooting range, though, or can show that you're a hunter. You shoot a guy, there will be gunpowder traces on your skin and clothing that will transfer to everything you wear for the next few days, and stick there even through washing. The Griess test finds residue on the right cuff of your jacket, and you don't have a personal history of firearms use? If you had motive and opportunity, that could be enough to convict you.

(Unfortunately. I'm not a big fan of convictions from circumstantial evidence, even in this case, where he has later admitted to the crime.)

And Wu and Bricktop notwithstanding, having a pig farm is no guarantee of evidence disposal.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 2:38 PM on July 8, 2008


You shoot a guy, there will be gunpowder traces on your skin and clothing that will transfer to everything you wear for the next few days, and stick there even through washing.

Last night. I watched Mr. Brooks (IMHO a mediocre film). Kevin Costner's serial-killer character placed his gun in a sealed plastic bag before shooting his victims, apparently to avoid gunpowder traces. Would such a practice actually work?
posted by ericb at 2:47 PM on July 8, 2008


F. Lee Bailey's new book When the Husband is the Suspect is a good read for those wishing to explore the ins and outs of spouse murder. Bailey sums it all up by assuring the reader that no matter how good the murder plan, a divorce is always a better strategy. Along the way he makes a very good case for OJ being innocent.
posted by telstar at 3:21 PM on July 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm sure it's worth a reducing his sentence for the prosecution, but I can't see how it's worth it to him, doesn't he have enough money to eventually win on appeal?
posted by jeffburdges at 3:26 PM on July 8, 2008


"Here's some good general advice: 1) Never have sex. 2) Never say anything to anyone, anytime. Like the warning says, it can and will be used in a court of law. And don't put it in writing. And if you did, shred it."
posted by spiderwire at 3:34 PM on July 8, 2008


"Cable networks are the greatest invention ever. They have a channel for everything. I like watching the women's networks, actually -- there's one called Oxygen [laughter] -- ah, you've heard of it. Anyway, they have this show called 'Snapped,' which is all about women who go crazy and kill their husbands. I find that kind of scary. I mean, think about who watches that: there's a whole market out there for stories about people killing their spouses."
posted by spiderwire at 3:35 PM on July 8, 2008


I admit that I was surprised to read that the body was hidden less than a minute's drive from his house -- and after all that talk about him driving out to the desert. And at his attorney lauding his genius for not putting the body too far from the road?

Actually it's probably quite a good move to hide the body close to home, but not in the home. He'd know the area very well - especially if he drives past it all the time - so he'd know how busy it's likely to be, and when it's most likely to be deserted. Close to the road means that he doesn't have far to drag/carry the body from the car, and also that it's less likely to be stumbled across; people out for a stroll in the hills or walking dogs don't tend to walk close to the road if there's somewhere more pleasant to walk. And if he can drive there in a couple of minutes, there won't be a suspicious absence of several hours which he can't explain. He could dump the body on his way to the shops or the bank.
posted by andraste at 4:18 PM on July 8, 2008


Crabby, we don't live in a world of mathematical proofs. Reality is messy, and 'justice' more so. I apologize for not linking all of your follow-up comments. Did you read mine?
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:18 PM on July 8, 2008


As I said before, if the evidence the news media reported in this case was all the evidence proffered at trial, Reiser should have gone free. Yes, that would leave a guilty man walking around. No, that doesn't really bother me when compared to the risk of an innocent man spending time in prison. That bothers me a lot more.

But anybody who feels like piling on, feel free. I'm used to it.

As far as the criminal justice system is concerned, I still consider it horribly broken. I am glad it worked this time, though. I just wish I could have more faith in it being repeatably correct.

I stand by my previous comment that some were poking fun at upthread. Reiser's guilt or innocence has nothing to do with whether certain things commonly put forth as evidence really are. Were I accused of murdering someone I claimed I had never in my life had contact with, blood in my car or on my sleeping bag would at least indicate that I am either lying or mistaken about knowing that person.

A drop of my SO's blood on something I own? That's not proof of anything, except that she once bled and that we have lived together for many years now.

That's what I meant when I wrote about being sold a bill of goods. CSI has trained people to believe that circumstantial evidence always means what we might think it does. Law & Order has trained people to think the police always get the right guy, and that if it gets so far as a trial, they've certainly got the right person.
posted by wierdo at 4:21 PM on July 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Jeffburdges, I am clearly not a lawyer, but given that all the trial evidence was circumstantial I think the only basis for appeal would be a jury verdict made against the weight of the evidence, or that there was tampering of evidence by the forensic authorities. The latter seems unlikely, and the first could have been addressed by the judge setting aside the conviction. Since the judge didn't, and spiderwire's assessment: "There was no way this decision was getting overturned on appeal." I'd guess he was out of luck. Presumably his lawyer knew what he was doing, and Reiser's conviction probably deflated his arrogance enough that he'd actually listen to him.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:33 PM on July 8, 2008


Strangulation was probably in the prosecution narrative because of the scarcity of blood at the murder scene (which I'm assuming was the house up against the pillar).
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:35 PM on July 8, 2008


given that all the trial evidence was circumstantial I think the only basis for appeal would be a jury verdict made against the weight of the evidence, or that there was tampering of evidence by the forensic authorities.

There are lots of potential grounds for appeal -- the judge admonishing Reiser repeatedly (and arguably losing his cool about it more than once), sparring with his attorneys, maybe the jury instructions, some of the evidence exclusions, the potential conflict of interest presented by DuBois holding Reiser's hard drives for 17 months without telling the prosecution, etc., etc. The more precise question is whether those would be effective grounds for an appeal, which I doubt.

Again, the more telling circumstance seems to be the timing. Even if Reiser had a chance of appeal, he had to make a plea deal before sentencing on the 9th, and the DA probably drew the line there anyway. Given his conflicts with DuBois (he'd get a different attorney on appeal), and that he'd seemingly copped to his guilt at some point, the choice was probably between the plea deal or the appeal, and he chose the lesser evil. Based on his behavior thus far, I doubt he'd have thrown in the towel unless he had no other option.

As I said before, if the evidence the news media reported in this case was all the evidence proffered at trial, Reiser should have gone free.

Technically, there was more evidence reported in the media than was available at trial -- in particular, there were some threatening emails from Reiser and some exchanges with the judge that the jury didn't see.

But even by the criteria that I assume you're positing in your head, that argument makes no sense -- Reiser alone was on the stand for 11 days. It simply wouldn't be possible to communicate the totality of his testimony in news articles or commentary. Claiming an absolute deficiency of evidence on that basis is just absurd.
posted by spiderwire at 4:48 PM on July 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


All pile on wierdo!

Come on!

*looks around*

Just me then is it?

Well, actually I agree with wierdo on this matter, other than the fact that Reiser seemed as guilty as it is humanly possible to be IMHO. As they say on Metafilter,

This:

CSI has trained people to believe that circumstantial evidence always means what we might think it does. Law & Order has trained people to think the police always get the right guy, and that if it gets so far as a trial, they've certainly got the right person.

Chance or design? Or a bit of both?

Certainly not series that challenge us to consider the Law machine may not be infallible. And by extension promote respect for (ma) authority.
posted by asok at 5:18 PM on July 8, 2008


CSI has trained people to believe that circumstantial evidence always means what we might think it does.

This is actually almost the opposite of the CSI effect, which makes people more likely to expect the type of damning, in-the-bag, no-questions-left evidence which is always found in that show.
posted by Bookhouse at 5:28 PM on July 8, 2008


BrotherCaine, yes, I read yours, then and now. You raise some good points, and if you start from the premise of never second-guessing a jury's competence, then your "good news" remark is not so outrageous. On the other hand, we know that juries are fallible. I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 5:50 PM on July 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Bookhouse wrote: damning, in-the-bag, no-questions-left evidence which is always found in that show.

Except that the show rarely produces that. It produces "a-ha, your wife's blood on your sock!" That show is built around using (usually) shaky circumstantial evidence to elicit a confession from a killer, which is almost always their original target, despite their having had little or no reason to suspect their original target in the first place.

Basically Law & Order, but with stuff instead of people.
posted by wierdo at 6:25 PM on July 8, 2008


BTW, I do not think that link says what you think it says.
posted by wierdo at 6:27 PM on July 8, 2008


How so? From the first paragraph:

The "CSI Effect" (sometimes referred to as the "CSI syndrome") is a reference to the phenomenon of popular television shows such as the CSI franchise raising crime victims' and jury members' real-world expectations of forensic science, especially crime scene investigation and DNA testing.[1]

Where you suggested that the program lowered the expectations. Now, I'll grant you that the CSI effect hasn't been 100% proven to exist.
posted by Bookhouse at 6:44 PM on July 8, 2008


Hey, here's an idea. When you reach a level of familiarity with a TV show that accommodates sweeping generalizations about its plot arcs, general MO, and purported cultural capital-E Effects, maybe it's warping your perceptions a little bit.
posted by spiderwire at 6:49 PM on July 8, 2008


Bookhouse, try reading the entire article.

First off, it says that studies have shown a lack of an actual effect. Note the word "

In the alternative, it states that jurors expect to be shown forensic evidence, not that they give it less credence.
posted by wierdo at 7:16 PM on July 8, 2008


I wouldn't say never second guess a jury's competence, but certainly they are processing a lot more information than one can get without actually sitting in the courtroom through the trial. I'm not sure how often juries have been proved to be fallible. It seems like far more often convictions are obtained against the innocent due to the fallibility of the defense attorneys, or false direct evidence. I guess you could say that it is the jury's responsibility to see through witness perjury and error, but I'd contend it is the responsibility of the defense to discredit direct evidence.
posted by BrotherCaine at 8:54 PM on July 8, 2008


I guess you could say that it is the jury's responsibility to see through witness perjury and error, but I'd contend it is the responsibility of the defense to discredit direct evidence.

You could also say that it's the responsibility of the witness to not, you know, commit perjury.
posted by spiderwire at 9:11 PM on July 8, 2008


How are the chances that they will let him work on this? Is this impossible?

"Yeah, let's stick the coder in a small enclosed space without natural light and only a computer to keep him company for the foreseeable future, that'll learn him."
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:11 PM on July 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Along the way he makes a very good case for OJ being innocent.

"Didn't do it" innocent, or "shouldn't have been convicted" innocent? Because I don't have much doubt he did it (even before his being found responsible for the deaths in the civil trial), but I think the verdict was correct. (Racist cop + shady evidence = reasonable doubt.)
posted by kirkaracha at 10:51 PM on July 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


So your all saying Reiser goes to jail while O.J. walks free because Reiser is a bigger asshole?
posted by jeffburdges at 4:52 AM on July 9, 2008


jeffburdges writes "So your all saying Reiser goes to jail while O.J. walks free because Reiser is a bigger asshole?"

The two aren't related. In OJ's case it appeared, to me anyways, that the cops tried to frame a guilt man by helping the evidence along and it backfired. In Reiser's case the evidence was mostly circumstantial and he didn't help his case by shutting the hell up, a common failing.
posted by Mitheral at 6:01 AM on July 9, 2008


Not that there's anything wrong with the case being based on circumstantial evidence. According to the Supreme Court, circumstantial evidence "is intrinsically no different from testimonial [direct] evidence."
posted by kirkaracha at 6:37 AM on July 9, 2008


I know, but they are both pretty big assholes, hence the jokes.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:02 AM on July 9, 2008


Apparently Reiser had been offered a plea deal before the trial, in which he was given the opportunity to plead guilty to manslaughter and go to jail for three years. So perhaps this deal isn't so bad.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:01 PM on July 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


>Along the way he makes a very good case for OJ being innocent.

"Didn't do it" innocent, or "shouldn't have been convicted" innocent?


"Didn't do it" innocent. Yeah, surprised me too, but F. Lee Bailey demonstrates why he is a famous defense attorney in his treatment of the OJ case in his book. Recall also that he was on the defense "dream team" and possesses in-depth knowledge of the case.
posted by telstar at 7:23 PM on July 9, 2008


Yeah, surprised me too, but F. Lee Bailey demonstrates why he is a famous defense attorney in his treatment of the OJ case in his book.

Ooh, a book! And here I was just thinking that I haven't heard enough about OJ to last me for the rest of my life.
posted by spiderwire at 8:31 PM on July 9, 2008


I also recall the trail of the victims' blood that OJ left from his car into his house.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:38 PM on July 9, 2008


Ooh, a book! And here I was just thinking that I haven't heard enough about OJ to last me for the rest of my life.

This is new. And only one chapter in the book. Worth a look.
posted by telstar at 12:27 AM on July 14, 2008


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