Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 8th Jun 2008 15:53 UTC, submitted by sonic2000gr
Legal The story of Hans Reiser, the eccentric file system programmer, is a tragic one. The author of the ReiserFS was arrested under suspicion of the murder of his wife Nina Reiser in 2006, and was declared guilty in April 2008. Some still placed doubts about the conviction, stating that he might be innocent. It now seems that all doubt has been quelled, since Alameda County District Attorney Thomas Orloff has revealed that Hans Reiser will disclose the location of Nina's body for a reduced sentence.
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RE: Guilty
by Quag7 on Mon 9th Jun 2008 15:29 UTC in reply to "Guilty"
Member since:

All this viewpoint does is ensure that anyone who can figure out how to hide, destroy, or otherwise mutilate a body beyond recognition will get away with murder.

I am as appalled by the justice system as anyone else, but this case was hardly any kind of travesty, nor was it emblematic of the real and actual problems of the justice system.

This is a pretty straight forward case.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Guilty
by sorpigal on Mon 9th Jun 2008 20:52 in reply to "RE: Guilty"
sorpigal Member since:

All this viewpoint does is ensure that anyone who can figure out how to hide, destroy, or otherwise mutilate a body beyond recognition will get away with murder.

He could easily have gotten away with it, if he had acted a little differently. Ask any cop: a truly intelligent criminal who plans well can get away with just about anything once, or multiple times depending on the crime.

The justice system did fail in this case. It provided a conviction when there was no certainty, even though there was a lot of suspicion. I'd much rather have a murder walking the streets then know that I could be convicted without evidence, merely based on the suspicions of some prosecutors and their skill at tugging the heart-strings of a crowd.

The very structure of the justice system is designed to prevent false *positives*, false negatives are not nearly as bad for liberty.

You cannot--should not, must not--view these events in terms of right and wrong. Your moral convictions are irrelevant to the discussion, as indeed is Reiser's guilt. What's important are two things: evidence and the law. First, what does the evidence prove? Not what do we suspect, not what do we think, what do we *know*, beyond a doubt, what can we demonstrate conclusively? Second, what does the law say about that? Not what do we feel, not what do we want to do to the offender, but what is written in to the contract by which we all co-exist.

In this case the law is clear and murder is against it. What is not clear is that murder took place; indeed, even if Reiser knows where his wife's body is murder is not proven. All we know now is that he knows where her body is. Suppose she committed suicide? I don't see any proof of that, but we are all without proof today. In the case of evidence there is very, very little. It is all individually inconclusive and collectively suspicious, but does not prove that Reiser killed his wife any more than it proves aliens attacked.

Any time when there is no *proof*, merely evidence of suspicious circumstances, the defendant should prevail. I know this is often not the case, but that would be just. Convicting someone without proof is always against the law.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Guilty
by Worloch on Tue 10th Jun 2008 00:23 in reply to "RE: Guilty"
Worloch Member since:

This system ensures that people who are innocent are not imprisoned.

Reply Parent Score: 0