[conspire] (forw) Reiser trial: DNA tests partially flubbed, defence motion for mistrial
rick at linuxmafia.com
Tue Feb 5 15:24:39 PST 2008
Forwarding from another mailing list.
----- Forwarded message from Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> -----
Quoting Patrick Devine (agntdrake at gmail.com):
> I've really enjoyed reading your summaries of Han's case on evals.
> It's strange though... When I read your commentary it seems like the
> prosecution has no case whereas when I read the coverage on SFGate I
> always get the exact opposite impression.
Well, this is one of the things that worry me: the possibility of
stealth bias on my part. (The same risk exists in upstream news
sources, but I can't do anything about that.)
I'm well aware, and try to disclose, that I have known Hans socially --
which means the notion of his being a murderer is offputting on several
grounds, including proving me a lousy judge of character. However,
personally, based on known data: I currently think it extremely likely
Nina died, very likely she was murdered, and more likely than not that
Hans murdered her. (Other people also could have murdered her, which is
part of prosecution's problem.)
The question of whether prosecutor Paul Hora has a case is, of course, a
different one. Short of our all living under (competent) 24x7
surveillance, there will always be unconvictable murderers.
Statistically speaking, police's prejudice that it's almost always the
estranged and resentful husband _is_ the right one. But that's not
enough to prove a case.
One of the things *I* don't know is how this case looks to the jury.
They see less than we do, and with different emphasis on detail -- and
probably they didn't think "Well, yes, _of course_ he bought two books
on murder investigations when he learned he was a suspect: He's a
People who've been on famous-case juries say you get barraged by
mind-numbing amounts of detail. It's probably difficult to analyse, and
the case probably looks very different.
I've tried imagining myself in the shoes of a Hans Reiser, assumed
innocent for the sake of discussion, and imagining what an innocent Hans
would and would not reasonably do. The bit about him showing up on the
first school day after Nina's disappearance to pick up the kids, when it
wasn't his day to do so, is very suspicious. (The fact that he then
left _without_ the kids, having merely said nervously that he wanted to
talk to them about school policies, is peculiar but still leaves it
The fact that he evaded surveillance is very minimally suspicious.
(Frankly, innocent people have no obligation to be happy about being
tailed, and how was he to know it was the police?)
The condition of his car was mimimally suspicious, ditto his having been
sort-of seen washing down something in his driveway at night.
His having done nada, squat, rein du tout, to help the Missing Persons
Bureau people and others find her is suspicious. Even if he hated her
deeply, he should have, for the children's sake.
The blood evidence doesn't seem to prove anything but that Nina a small
amount of Nina's DNA landed in a couple of places, not necessarily even
from blood (e.g., she could have sneezed), and who knows even what year?
In Hans's shoes (again, assumed innocent for present discussion), if my
estranged wife suddenly disappeared, and I noticed I was being followed,
I'd immediately drive to the police and file a report, insisting that
the report include my statement that I didn't know who it was, was
concerned about their intentions, and intended to evade. I'd take a
photocopy of that directly to a good criminal-defence attorney. (I
would also ask that lawyer what to do and not do, to protect my rights
and stay out of trouble. If he/she said "Don't buy any books on murder
investigations", I'd comply.)
I would not do anything strange with my car. I would not start running
at odd hours up and down the Oakland hills. In fact, I'd concentrate
for the next six months on leading an utterly boring life. I would
stop carrying my passport around (which, like Hans, I do). I'd find
alternatives to carrying around wads of cash. I'd assume everything I
did and said was being watched and was potential prosecution fodder,
and so concentrate on "nothing" them to death -- with exceptions only
as advised by counsel.
> I just hope they find Nina at some point.
Ditto. And imagine how horrible all this has been for the children.
----- End forwarded message -----
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