Chad Perrin: SOB

10 June 2008

Is Hans Reiser guilty, or isn’t he?

Filed under: Geek,Liberty,Miscellaneous — apotheon @ 02:07

An article published on the Wired Blog Network this week is titled Hans Reiser Offers To Lead Cops to Nina’s Body. In previous articles on Wired, the proceedings of Hans Reiser’s murder trial were presented in excruciating detail.

Based on my reading of the Hans Reiser trial articles, I came to the conclusion that Reiser was an idiot for taking the stand in his own defense. Apparently, defense counsel cautioned against it, but he insisted. The problem is that the prosecution didn’t really have any hard evidence, and was just trying to use smoke, mirrors, and suggestive interpretations of what circumstantial evidence it did have to trick the jury into thinking Reiser’s guilt was proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Reiser’s testimony is really what convicted him, though, because he essentially guaranteed that everyone on the jury hated him by the time the trial was over.

Basically, he got convicted because he comes off as an arrogant prick — not because he did it. Regardless of whether he’s guilty, that’s a terrible, terrible basis for a murder conviction that may lead to spending life in prison (the sentence first degree murder carries is “25 to life”, which means life in prison unless he gets paroled — which can’t happen for 25 years at least).

I’m not saying he didn’t do it, mind you. I have no way of knowing at this point.

The article with the title that suggests Reiser is going to lead police to the body may have a damning, sensational title that makes him seem guilty, but the text of it is much more vague. It utterly fails to make it clear who approached whom with any requests or offers for lighter sentences, reduction in charges, or revelations of dead bodies. However bad the title might look, there’s nothing damning in the article’s text itself. As one commenter at Wired put it:

Conclusion: Either he is guilty and gets 15 years or he is innocent and gets 25 years.

Fascinating.

I decided to contact the author of the article directly and ask him for clarification. Here’s how the email conversation went:

ME

The headline of your article, “Hans Reiser Offers To Lead Cops to Nina’s Body”, indicates that Hans Reiser approached the police (probably through his lawyer, one would assume) to offer information on the location of Nina’s body. The text of the article, on the other hand, is vague in terms of the specific manner in which the subject came up, and leaves me wondering whether the DA’s office may have approached Reiser’s lawyer with the deal.

Do you have specific information on how this played out? Has Hans Reiser admitted to knowing where the body can be found, or was he just asked with a lighter sentence offered as an enticement? Did you get this information solely from the DA’s office, or was there some other source corroborating the specifics? I’m afraid that, after reading the article, I’m still not entirely sure what’s going on.

DAVID KRAVETZ

Sir, how’s it going? Basically, the defense approached the DA about an offer. Whether any deal is done is another question.

ME

Can you elaborate on your source for this information? I don’t want names, necessarily — just a general sense of the sources (defense counsel, DA’s office, et cetera).

DAVID KRAVETZ

Sorry chief. I cannot. But players on both sides don’t trust Reiser.

In short, he claims that “players on both sides don’t trust Reiser”, and that he knows for a fact that Reiser made the offer to the DA’s office and/or police, but cannot be clear about how he knows that in any way. Keep in mind that, while it looks all professional, the article is in Wired’s “blog network” — and we really don’t know what standards of journalism, if any, are enforced there.

Basically, the same way I’m inclined to be skeptical of what Omali Yeshiteli said about police officers using pepper spray on teenagers trying to help another teen police shot in the back for no reason (as I described in my previous SOB entry, a story worth watching: teen shot by police in Florida), I’m inclined to be skeptical of David Kravetz’ claims as well.

(edit: Also, David Kravetz fails at email. He uses TOFU replies. At least they come in plain text, though.)

In other words, the verdict in my mind still hasn’t been settled. On the other hand, Wikipedia seems to have evidence of the real culprit in this crime. Check out the rightmost column in the Comparison of filesystems Features table.

3 Comments

  1. In other words, the verdict in my mind still hasn’t been settled. On the other hand, Wikipedia seems to have evidence of the real culprit in this crime. Check out the rightmost column in the Comparison of filesystems Features table.

    So ReiserFS and Reiser4 are wife murderers? Scary. :p

    The rest of the post is definitely thought provoking, and in the context of the previous two posts, a scary thing indeed.

    Comment by Joseph A Nagy Jr — 10 June 2008 @ 05:41

  2. Wired‘s coverage has usually been sympathetic towards Reiser (or at least has given him the benefit of the doubt), but Kravets is being pretty circumspect here, which just leads me to believe he doesn’t know any more than the rest of us. (And he’s protecting his sources in case they lead to juicier info, which most journalists do of course.)

    Basically, he got convicted because he comes off as an arrogant prick — not because he did it. Regardless of whether he’s guilty, that’s a terrible, terrible basis for a murder conviction

    Agreed–by that standard, Ted Bundy should have been acquitted, because even the judge at his trial found Bundy charming and well-spoken.

    As for the top-posting thing, such is the curse (among others) of using Outlook. (I fail at it too, at least at work, if only because trying to reply inline just confuses the hell out of everyone else, breaks spell-checking and likely threatens the survival of Western civilization. Or something.)

    Comment by Brian Martinez — 11 June 2008 @ 01:13

  3. As for the top-posting thing, such is the curse (among others) of using Outlook. (I fail at it too, at least at work, if only because trying to reply inline just confuses the hell out of everyone else, breaks spell-checking and likely threatens the survival of Western civilization. Or something.)

    When I trimmed and replied beneath the quote of David’s words, after his first response, he really should have clued in. Instead, he gave me TOFU again — which means the order of statements (1. being his words, 2. being my response to them, and 3. being his reply to that) looked something like this:

      3.
    
      > > 1.
    
      > 2.
    

    . . . which is just a whole basket of fail.

    Comment by apotheon — 11 June 2008 @ 02:12

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