[conspire] (forw) Re: [Evals] Hans Reiser found guilty
rick at linuxmafia.com
Tue Apr 29 15:47:28 PDT 2008
----- Forwarded message from Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> -----
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2008 15:44:13 -0700
From: Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com>
To: evals at lists.merlins.org
Subject: Re: [Evals] Hans Reiser found guilty
Quoting Tim Perdue (tim06 at perdue.net):
> I drove a '66 Corvair Convertible junker in high school and it had holes
> in the floorboards, so this made sense to me.
But only if it's rusted out, or otherwise been busted up. As you said,
a junker: Car manufacturers do not deliberately _put_ drainholes (or
any other sort of open holes) into car floorplates, which is what Hans
attempted to explain was his assumption in hose-spraying a large amount
of water into his CRX. It would be inordinately strange, even for a
coder, to just fire away with a garden hose and then double-take: "Oh,
wait! It didn't drain out and there's now an inch of standing water
left in my car? Who could have predicted?"
So, I can easily imagine that, among other things, setting the jurors'
bullshit meters swinging.
That was hardly the only bit of testimony that triggered my bullshit
filter, though: Oakland PD's whole theory about the car was
problematic. So, Hans transported Nina's body in the front of the CRX,
maybe to the Sierra Nevada short of Reno, and then yanked the passenger
seat and rinsed out the car with a garden hose in order to erase blood
evidence, leaving only a tiny smear of indeterminate age on a sleeping
bag stuffsack? Oh, really?
Try this experiment: Make a small cut on your finger, and bleed onto an
old bit of clothing or (preferably) an old scrap of carpet. Let the
blood sit for a couple of hours. Now that the stain has set there nice
and firmly, start washing it off with a garden hose and some detergent.
Take your time.
Is the stain now invisible? Could Oakland PD's staff of criminologists
no longer hold a snapshot of your item up in court and say "Gosh, looks
like a bloodstain"? If so, you're better at removing established
bloodstains than generations of clothing-laundering specialists, and I
personally have a couple of shirt bloodspots I'd really like your help
So, Hans removed his entire passenger seat in order to move the body in
the front passenger space? But Nina was short and small, and it would
have been a whole lot easier and less attention-drawing to fit her
corpse (suitably covered up) into the _back_ of the CRX.
So, the fact that Hans drove to Reno and back, shortly after Nina
disappeared, is evidence of guilt and suggests a trip to dispose of the
body? OK, then why did prosecution _also_ suggest it was sinister when
Hans, while in Santa Rita Jail awaiting trial, showed sudden keen
interest in a TV news report about a body being discovered in the
Oakland hills? Is prosecution alleging that Hans buried Nina's body in
As juror, one would not want to dwell _too_ much on apparent bits of
nonsense from either side. Jurors would want, during deliberations, to
draw up and discuss a written summary of prosecution's theory about what
happened, how, where, why. They would examine the presented testimony
and material evidence to see if prosecution was able to build a solid
case for that theory. On the other side, they would want to see if
defence had managed to adequately defend reasonable doubt in any area
that would be fatal to prosecution's case.
When I see, second-hand, the theory of events that Paul Hora argued for,
I do see something that _could_ have happened -- but no compelling case
past any reasonable doubt that it did. A reasonable person can _still_
legitimately wonder (even) whether Nina's dead at all, let alone
murdered, let alone murdered by Hans. So, it's appalling that the jury
convicted Hans of first-degree murder largely on the basis of their
impression that he's an arrogant, coldly insensitive, shifty little
asshole who might be telling them tall-tales and was completely
unbelievable on the stand -- which could very well be 100% true but
still left Hora without a case meriting a guilty verdict of any sort.
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