Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Wed Jan 23 01:59:34 PST 2008

Wow.  That must have been a _whole_ lot of work.  Thanks for filling in 

I hope you don't mind a couple of comments and suggestions.  (Naturally,
your piece is yours to do with as you please, but I offer these in hopes
of helping polish it.)

> High School: (did not graduate, but went straight to UC Berkeley at
> age 15)       ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Good English usage assumes that one _is_ graduated (passive voice); one 
does not graduate.  (Yes, I'm well aware that various mouth-breathing
newspaper and magazine editors violate this usage standard continually.)

> American company, Novelle
You need to lose the "e".

> Although, Reiser3 is an outstanding filesystem, Reiser4 is better,
> again. The adoption of Reiser4, is actively resisted by Red Hat and
> associates. Their resistance, is taken to absurd levels.

Your piece in general spends a lot of time editorialising -- arguing
Hans's case, I notice.  (I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you.  I'm
just noting that fact.)  Editorialising mixes poorly into the body text
of an analysis piece.  (If you must insert editorial opinions, consider
marking explicitly as such.  This is not an easy matter:  I'm just
suggesting a way to be clearer about where you're trying to stick to
uncontested facts, and where you're airing your personal

> Hans' father

The possessive of "Hans" is actually "Hans's".

("Hans'" would have to be the plural possessive of the proper noun "Han".)

Note that you are inconsistent on this usage, as, later on, you have:
"We can assume, Han's DNA was not found in the van."  (That's actually
not correct posssesive form, either.)

> Sturgeon loans Namesys 

In good English usage, "loan" is a _noun_, not a verb.  The verb you're
looking for is "lend".

By the way, quite a few of your commas are superfluous, throughout the
piece, such as this one:

> Beverly Palmer, also owns a banged-up 1988 Honda CRX Si hatchback that
> Reiser had the use of.

Moving on....

> Hans pleads not guilty to civil contempt, his attorney saying the
> contempt claim "is not only inappropriate and unfair but underhanded
> and deceitful." Trial is scheduled for Wed 2006-10-11, but Reiser
> seems to have been found guilty, without the need for this trial
> (which never eventuates).

I have never seen any indication that Hans was "found guilty" in the
civil contempt action.  Also, that is simply not possible without a
trial.  I believe the trial has simply been dropped from the court
calendar, for now.  It's anyone's guess whether the County will
eventually seek to reschedule it.

> A few days later, Berkeley Bowl officials tells KTVU they had reviewed
> their security camera tapes for the day, but could not identify Nina
> Reiser and children. However, the prosecution later produces footage
> of Nina and the children. One wonders if this footage is from
> September 3, or some earlier visit, as Nina's son has testified to not
> remembering visiting the store, that day.

The rules of evidence require that the authenticity of that evidence be
demonstrated to the court, and subject to challenge by opposing counsel
(defence counsel, in this case).  Further, the video contents of such 
recordings bears a time/date stamp.  So, no, it's not really reasonable
to wonder if it's from some other day.

> Around this time, Oakland PD subject Hans and his mother to three days
> of questioning. Hans later claims that he cooperates with the police
> until the point where he figures out that this was not a
> missing-persons investigation, but rather a murder one, and that he is
> their prime suspect (I have been unable to find a reference for this).

If you check Google News and read the articles leading up to and
immediately following Hans's arrest, you'll find one or more.  (Sorry
for not furnishing one.)

> Child Protective Services takes the children from school. They are
> placed with a foster family. The foster family, just happens to be,
> that of Ellen Doren and her husband. In court, Dec. 12, 2007, Doren
> admits (in an obscured way) to being the children's foster parent.

"Obscured" means hidden, deliberately concealed.  Are you certain you
mean that?  

> He rents a U-Haul truck, later driven to Oakland. Had the Honda CRX
> broken down again? Did Reiser transport it back to Oakland in the
> U-Haul truck?

Um, I've rented U-Haul trucks in a couple of sizes, and I cannot see how
you could get even a CRX into and out of one.

> If Reiser left the vehicle the next morning after sleeping in it, what
> are we to make of the reports of him leaving the car, speaking to a
> taxi driver and then sprinting up Shepherd Canyon Road (initially
> reported as Snake Boulevard) that evening?
> First, the entrance to Shepherd Canyon Road is about half a mile from
> where Reiser was parked. It is unclear how he gets to Shepherd Canyon
> Road (or Snake Boulevard) without being spotted.
> Second, the police never got close enough to the person "sprinting up
> Shepherd Canyon Road," to catch him. Third, it was dark. So, the
> identity of this person, as Reiser, is quite suspect. Also, the taxi and
> sprinter incidents, may have been fabricated to draw unwanted police
> eyes away from seeing exactly what Reiser was about.
> Fourth, the police felt it necessary to "buttress" their position with a
> witness who might, or might not, have seen Reiser running up Shepherd
> Canyon Road, on that night, or perhaps the night before, or perhaps the
> night after, or perhaps the night after that. Why did they bother with
> this worthless witness, Goli Fahid, at all?

Good catch.  Yes, the police evidence seems to strain at straws to 
attempt to paint Hans's behaviour as suspicious, even in particulars
where it isn't.

> Rory's Testimony: "My dad told us not to come into the kitchen" and
> "Mom told me to go downstairs."
> Probable-cause affadavit: Reiser said "not to come back upstairs, not
> even to the kitchen area."
> Press fabrication: Reiser told his son to go downstairs and "not to come
> back upstairs, not even to the kitchen area."

_Really_ good catch.

Yes, the more you look at press reporting of criminal cases, the more
you find them occasionally cutting corners on facts to fit the case into
a standard case-reporting template.  For example, when I started
hearing, during the preliminary hearings, about "blood splatter" in the
Exeter Drive house and Honda CRX, I said to my wife Deirdre "I'll bet it
turns out to be a _drop_ of blood in each location."  Turns out, I was
actually right, e.g., the spot on the Exeter Drive pillar (of
indeterminate age) was 2cm and not "splatter" of any sort.

> It is often asked, "What happened to the missing car seat?" Reiser
> claims, that he through it away (into a dumpster).
"threw".  (Common error.  They're homonyms.)

> Dec 11, 2006: Judge Julie Conger comments that she found Oakland PD's
> theory utterly unconvincing on account of its placements and timings
> of people not matching what had been established in court.  But,
> disregarding her own publicly stated conclusion, she orders the trial
> to proceed anyway.

No, you're really risking crossing the line into propaganda, here:
Judge Conger didn't _disregard_ her assertion that she found the
police's suggested sequence of events "utterly unconvincing".  That
comment merely was not disposative of the question Conger needed to
decide:  She needed to decide whether there was sufficient competent
evidence to reasonably suspect -- accuse -- Hans of 2nd degree homocide
against Nina.  She found Hans's "strongly suspicious activities" and "the
totality of the circumstances" (quotations preceding are from memory)
compelling enough to support a trial, opining that Hans at least has
some form of guilty knowledge in the matter of Nina's disappearance, and
that trial would sort out what specifically happened.

Whether the police's theory about logistics on Labour Day weekend is
correct is (mostly) irrelevant to whether the pretrial evidence was
sufficient to support a trial.

> It is speculated that the delay, among other things, is due to Hans
> insisting on testifying, and is so arguing with DuBois. Statements to
> the press, like, "we don't know how he will come across because of his
> intellect," indicate DuBois is trying to prevent Reiser from
> testifying. Reiser, needs to realize, that DuBois is not on his side.

Well, let's not be so hasty.  

When you hire an attorney, it's true that you don't _own_ the loyalties
of a legal gladiator, but you do rent them.  The alignment of his/her
interests and yours is hardly perfect, but in general the lawyer's
pocket is much better served by your side doing well.  

Why would you assume that DuBois's reluctance to let Hans testify means
he's fighting against Hans's interests?  Maybe he knows what's a chance
worth taking in criminal court better than Hans does, because -- oh --
it's his area of professional expertise.  This is _all_ that DuBois does
for a living.  It's his life, from year to year.

As it happens, even though I'm certainly no attorney, I am well aware
that testifying in one's own trial is a very, very risky thing to do, 
because a skillful prosecuting counsel can have you for lunch, during
cross-examination.  If you are not, yourself, a veteran prosecuting
attorney, you probably have no idea what such a skilled professional can
do to a defendant on the witness stand, innocent or not.  

> If Reiser has a clue, then he will certainly testify.

Rash.  Very rash.  If *I* were on trial for a crime, and my attorney
strongly advised me not to testify, I'd think long and hard before
overruling his/her professional advice -- especially if, as in Hans's 
case, I were likely to come across to the jury as an empathy-lacking,
unappealing, hardnosed geek with very poor socialisation and a tendency
towards reactions that (albeit logical, like buying books on murder
investigations shortly after finding out one is a murder suspect) can
seem incredibly suspicious.

> A story that is clearly false and will have jurors doubting the boys
> credibility.


> In Russia, children do not call their parents by their first names.

Perhaps you mean "call", rather than "do not call".

> he boy also says his Russian grandmother showed him stories about his
> father's case on the internet,

"Internet".  (This error recurs.)

> Reiser is right. The judge is being disingenuous.

No, the judge is not being disingenuous.  The judge is accurately
stating that he has no jurisdiction in Family Court or international
matters.  He's a trial judge in Superior Court's criminal division.

It's natural, and even heartbreaking, for Hans to attempt to plead with
that judge to intervene in matters affecting his son's imminent
vanishment to a hostile jurisdiction halfway around the world -- because
Judge Goodman was the judge sitting in front of him.  Unfortunately for
Hans, Goodman was simply _not_ the correct party to appeal to, and was
telling him the honest truth, if somewhat iracibly, in refusing to try
to issue orders for other courts over which he has no authority.

(The appropriate course of action would have been for Hans to send an
attorney to represent his interests in Family Court, and to file
appropriate motions to attempt to prevent Rory from being spirited out
of the country again.)

And it's very, very common for judges to refuse to allow defendants to
do bizarre ploys like appoint themselves co-counsel.  Hans _could_ fire
DuBois and attempt to argue the trial pro se (for himself, i.e., without
an attorney), but that would be extremely bad legal tactics.

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