back to article File system killer Reiser rejected 3-year sentence

A judge said today that prominent Linux developer and convicted murderer Hans Reiser rejected a plea deal that would have sent him to prison for only three years for killing his wife, Nina Reiser. During what was supposed to have been Reiser's sentencing today, Judge Larry Goodman of Alameda County Superior Court revealed that …

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Pirate

The judge is under no obligation to approve the deal

Furthermore, he should reject it and nail Reiser for 1st degree murder and sentence him to life without parole.

The argument usually given for judges not accepting plea deals is that if judges reject them too often, then no one will take them. But Reiser's case is a classic one where Reiser was never dealing with the court in good faith. Send him away for life, and pray he gets shanked.

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done deal

Judge has said he's signed on to the deal, as long as Reiser completes the rest of his obligations: he has to detail exactly how he did it, and agrees to forego any and all appeals.

If he tries to squirm out of either, the judge retains the option to hammer him with the heavier count.

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Nah....

He dragged everyone through a 6 month court case and waited probably until his lawyers told him they were going to lose before suddenly admitting his guilt. His sentence should not be cut one bit.

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Anonymous Coward

seems

better than the way an english court would deal with it, and thats something I never thought I would say about the US court system.

and LMFAO at the wiki table :D

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Anonymous Coward

There really isn't enough evidence to justify first-degree murder

So he could successfully appeal the first-degree aspect, and no doubt that will be taken account of in negotiations.

I hope he's allowed to continue programming in prison, just as I hope that people whose main interest is watching television will be allowed to continue watching television in prison.

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Coat

opportunity knocks

makes space for some bright new kid with new , fresh ideas

that wants to fiddle a file system " just for fun " with a bunch other

guys in computer labs.

why not even make it a competition betwen universities ?

and may the best fs win

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Am I the only one...

who is a little uneasy about someone giving up the right to appeal?

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Flame

Appeal??

How can you justify an appeal when you've LED THE POLICE TO THE BODY?!?

"No, Gov'nor, I didn't actually kill my wife. I could just feel where her restless spirit was in the woods."

The court process is to ensure that the innocent are not unjustly punished. When someone pleads guilty, there should be no WAY the punishment should be dropped on "technicalities". (Other than perhaps the guilty plea being beaten out of the defendant.) Pleading guilty after having been found guilty is just trying to wriggle out of taking full responsibility for your own actions.

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Heart

@ AC 9:19

Assuming by first degree you are referring to premeditation, then there is actually an abundance of evidence for it according to the reports I've read. The main evidence lacking in the trial was a body, but most of the circumstantial evidence pointed to premeditation.

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Unhappy

Re: Appeal??

Obviously an appeal based on "i didn't do it" probably wouldn't be successful, but given he was initially offered a deal to cop for manslaughter rather than murder, there may be scope for an appeal for a reduced sentence if they can show that it was only manslaughter. Obviously he shouldn't have lied to the court and confessed to what had happened from the start, but that doesn't mean that he should be punished for murder rather than manslaughter (if that indeed is what it was). Perhaps a bit of extra time for perjury or such would be appropriate.

Re: Am I the only one...

No Paul, you're not the only one, I too am of the opinion you should should be able to give up your rights. It leaves the system too open to exploitation. For instance if an innocent person is stiched up they may take a deal to reduce their time thinking there is no other alternative, particularly if they have a crap lawyer. Even if they then get a better lawyer or new evidence emerges, they're screwed.

It always irks me that you get a lesser sentence for admitting guilt. It means if a person is actually innocent, and pleads innocence, should they get found guilty then the miscarriage of justice is all the greater as they will serve longer than someone who actually committed the crime.

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Silver badge

Minimum goes to 15

So what ? Maximum is still life, and that is what he deserves.

It's not like it was an accident.

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Anonymous Coward

Appeal??

You can appeal against the sentence (at least in the UK) rather than the conviction.

BTW Doesn't California have the death penalty?

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Coat

Proof positive

If nothing else, it's proof positive that he HAS lost his mind... or is incredibly arrogant.

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Dead Vulture

Shanked

That means stabbed, right? Please excuse me, I'm not down with prison lingo.

Yeah, careful with your rights, too.

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@paul Right of Appeal

MAKING someone waive their rights to appeal is totally wrong.

Suppose you are innocent and do a deal to avoid the death sentence, waive rights of appeal then evidence proving your innocence comes up!

Bad examples do not make for good laws.

If appeals are not considered suitable kb them but don't remove the option.

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re : "Sickepedians"

Not to be confused with "sickipedia", which is a wiki of tasteless jokes.

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Pirate

@JonB: California has the death penalty

I believe that if you plead guilty then it cannot be applied. But even for those convicted, it is applied so infrequently that most people on death row effectively have life sentences.

"There are 673 inmates on California's death row and 79 inmates there are still waiting to be appointed attorneys to prepare their automatic appeals to the California Supreme Court.

California has executed 13 inmates since the death penalty was reintroduced in 1978 and none since 2005 when a federal judge ordered a de facto moratorium until state officials fixed flaws he found in the how California prison officials deliver the lethal three-drug cocktail during executions. " from http://tinyurl.com/6dp9u9

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Killer App

I think he's given Killer App a new meaning. Way to go.

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Anonymous Coward

@JonB: California has the death penalty

>I believe that if you plead guilty then it cannot be applied.

He tried his luck with a not guilty though, hence the trial?

Is it automatically such a lengthy process? I'm surprised they don't get people who'd rather be dead and so would waive all the appeals and go for the quick death...

A sort of suicide by proxy.

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Unhappy

Pissed beyond belief

First, as the earlier poster noted, that he was such an insufferably arrogant ass the entire time up to the Moment of Truth™; he dragged both families through months of needless hell, he caused a great deal of taxpayer money to be spent that could have been saved by a little honesty and humility, and he led a whole lot of Slashdotters and similar folk to question how/why all this was being done - and, by implication, to question the system itself.

He also trashed a nice piece of work that he and quite a few others had put man-years of work into; ReiserFS in any version is moot until and unless someone creates a derivative that is sufficiently different not to be tagged with the original name. While the self-styled hacker counterculture may decide that morbidity is "kewl", those of us who are actually trying to get mainstream businesses to see new ways of doing things can't touch it with a 10-mile pole. Which is too effing bad.

I'll be Googling for any sort of trust fund for the children or memorial for Mrs Reiser that has been set up. I think any of us could forgo a couple of weeks of lattes for a good cause, yes?

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Death Penalty

In general, death penalty in the US, while it gets a lot of attention, is very rarely used. Most people on death row are effectively serving life sentences with extra appeals. Because of the rather permanent nature of the death penalty, the system makes you go through a number of appeals automatically, above and beyond the normal number granted to a person serving a life sentence, and they are pushed through at a higher speed. This means that, because of the cost of a trial vs the cost of holding someone in jail indefinitely, a life sentence without parole is actually cheaper for the state than the death penalty.

Most states also have pretty strict limitations on how the death penalty can be applied, most of the time requiring Murder 1 and extenuating circumstances. (Ex, torture, rape, murder, all premeditated, would justify DP in most states that have it) It's something that varies a little bit state by state, and I'm not certain on California's rules regarding it, but he may not have even been eligible for it.

Oh, and as for giving up his right to appeal, in certain circumstances, such as leading them to her body as part of the plea, then yes, that is something that should be built into the plea bargain. If they were simply going for a bargain for a shorter sentence, and not really doing much more, then it turns into a gray zone. Plea bargains are often negotiation based, so you can go back and forth on some things- in a case where he's already been judged guilty, he needs to have something to offer them.

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Anonymous Coward

Not sure where losing his mind comes into it

seems like a fairly cold blooded calculated killing.

Most murderers are sane, and this is an example of a sane person killing another.

Said sane murderer, who then decides in his rationale mind, that he would rather lie than tell the truth, takes to the stand to tell the lie, upon being convicted he then decides to reveal where the body was to reduce the sentence.

All of it has been done by a rational, sane human being, his only madness is in thinking that a forensic psychiatric unit would be better for him than jail.

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CA Death Penalty

The sentence for first degree murder in CA can be death, but it's not mandatory. If the allegations and verdict include one or more "special circumstances" then the only possible sentences are death or life without parole. In the Scott Peterson case the special circumstance was that he was also convicted of the murder of the fetus. I don't believe any special circumstances were alleged for Reiser.

I disgusted that he's going to get a deal.

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Pirate

Stupid defendants

The law firm I do IT for had a client who was hands-down guilty (child porn), as I demonstrated to him and his family during a cursory forensics analysis of an image of his hard drive. He knew it. We knew it. I positively told him exactly what he did and how he did it while looking in his eyes with the evidence on screen in front of us.

But he would not admit it to us, and insisted on going to trial, even though the prosecutors had offered a plea of 5 years in Federal prison instead of the mandatory 20 year term he would get if he lost at trial. Went to trial, lost (duh!) ... he's in prison for 20 years, now, no chance of parole (Federal system). He is 22 years old.

The lesson is: Don't be a putz. The prosecution can screw you in many ways during a trial. If you're guilty, give plea agreements serious thought. They just might save your life.

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Sad

As twisted and off-color as I can be at times, like many of us here I'm sure, I can't help but feel ashamed by association at the few "joke" comments here and by that chart. A person is dead, and all some sick fucks can do is make a joke of it. If you want to make a joke about some redneck shooting himself in the testicles because he decided to use a bullet to replace a fuse in his truck, go right ahead and I'll join you. But when someone is murdered, it's nothing to joke about.

If the information in this article is accurate, I hope he gets life in prison and is quickly killed by a fellow inmate. No sense forcing the taxpayers to fork over their hard-earned money to keep a murderer alive. His victim didn't get that privilege, so neither should he.

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extra time

He should be sentenced to extra time for pleading "not guilty" when he was, in fact, very guilty of the deed. As evidence we provide the fact he knew exactly where the body was.

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@ Anonymous Coward who thinks sane people kill other people...

You really believe that?

I can't. The only possible circumstance in which a normal 'sane' person might kill another would surely be in self defence, or defending another persons life if that were threatened.

But a guy gets pissed off with his Wife? Well, walk away and divorce her. Isn't THAT a slightly saner response than killing her?

If it's not a response to an immediate threat to life, killing someone is NOT the action of a sane individual.

I suppose all this shows is that, either the Law is an ass, something most people accept anyway, or there are an awful lot of people out there who react disproportionately to situations, I.E. are not by definition 'sane'...

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JC

Err, do you folks know what proof is?

Apparently some here like making leaps. I know where my dog is buried but I didn't kill it. IF I had something to hide I might not tell you where that burial site was, but that doesn't prove guilt.

Confession on the other hand is the key element but you seem stuck on the trivial things instead.

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Information incorrect

The article states:

During what was supposed to have been Reiser's sentencing today, Judge Larry Goodman of Alameda County Superior Court revealed that Reiser was offered a plea bargain last September for a reduced charge of voluntary manslaughter.

Voluntary Manslaughter could have seen him out within 3 years, but he was charged with first degree murder on April 28th. The plea bargain was to reduce the sentence to second degree (which still carries a maximum sentence of life), in exchange for revealing the location of the remains. This appeal was subject to approval by a judge, which was rejected.

Now where's my copy of the Daily Mail?

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Pirate

Sick Jokes!!!

All these sick jokes at the expense of a dead woman. It's disgraceful.

I suggest all those posters who find these remarks offensive should reis above responding.

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Anonymous Coward

@Sick Jokes etc.

To be rather blunt the dead lady is still dead. It appears she will be remaining that way for the foreseeable future. I have it on good authority (what's that God, you want me to do what to whom?) that the making of jokes has as much affect on her deadness as does offering sympathy.

Now, the jokes I have seen are, to me at least, much more jokes at the expense of the killer rather than the victim and do not appear, to me at least, to be in any way celebrating or rejoicing at a person's murder.

I admit some people do use tragedy as a vehicle to shock and offend but others seem to use tragedy as a vehicle to justify their general sense of shock and offendedness.

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Re: extra time

well, only if we can get extra time for lawyers that change their tale all the time (SCO Lawyers), extra time for executives that lie to avoid justice (Enron et al), extra time for police officers/judges/politicans caught breaking the law (loads: Prescott, PC Blair, Shrub).

Since these are the people who make the law and enforce the law, this isn't going to happen.

Still, it was a bit lucky for them, wasn't it, getting the right one when they never even looked at the other guy, whose admitted to killing women and was going to elope with Mrs Reiser ('cos she likes being hurt).

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Unhappy

I find it sick

Kill someone get 3 years in jail

Pirate a song or movie get like 10X that sentence.

I'm shocked the prosecution also didn't try and get it added someone somewhere might use his file system to pirate a copyrighted work that would have probably got him executed.

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Pirate

3 years for murder

So if you fess up early and save the judge the arse ache of going through a trial you too can murder your wife for only 3 years in jail. Strange system, oh I see they want to bring it to the UK now. Oh dear. Whatever next, locking people up without a trial?

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Joke

ReiserFS

hope the body is in one piece, Reiser's not to good at defraging......

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Dz
Linux

he has to detail exactly how he did it.....

... which shouldn't be too difficult! He could just replay the journalised metadata of the events! ;-)

Dz

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Gold badge

Emotional blackmail

Just shows what kind of world we live in when the criminal can bargain and blackmail those passing sentence to get a lesser sentence.

In some countries he would have been tortured until he revealed the location of the body. I'm not condoning that, but he will walk out of prison in a few years but his victim couldn't negotiate for her life.

It will be a tricky situation when he does come out, if he contributes to open source then you could be running software written by a convicted murderer? Kinda takes the edge of the whole "open source is freedom" thing.

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Unhappy

bastard

not only did he kill her, he dragged her memory in the dirt with allogations which most probably is a pack of lies to save his own sorry arse. Feck off!

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