The People of the State of California vs. Hans Reiser

he People of the State of California vs. Hans Reiser


Murder One; Sentencing pending; it really is over. Hans Reiser will be sentenced to an indeterminate life prison sentence with a parole date far, away.

Bill DuBois’ most effective legal move at this point will be a modest one – a motion addressed to Judge Goodman, as the “thirteenth juror”, to reduce the conviction from first degree murder to second degree. Although granting such a motion is within the court’s discretion, I offer no opinion as to the merits or the likelihood of its success.

I would anticipate a defense motion for a new trial, and that it will be denied. We many learn from the defense motions, however, why the jury did not hear more about the mysterious Sean Sturgeon.

Paul Hora’s most effective argument was this – only the first line was borrowed or paraphrased and the rest was original:

“A man’s actions are the mirror of a man’s mind. If he eats, it’s because he’s hungry. If he sleeps, it’s because he’s tired. If he lies, it’s because the truth is damaging. If he destroys and conceals evidence, it’s because it can be used against him. If he covers up a crime, it’s because he committed the crime. If he acts guilty, it’s because he is guilty That’s what this evidence tells us.”

I have great confidence in the jury system and in a good jury’s almost uncanny ability to locate the truth in the fog of litigation and to detect a liar’s deceptions.

In the end, Hans Reiser was undone by hate. Not, as some have suggested, the jury’s hate for him (I doubt that was even the case) but his ill-concealed hate for his wife, Nina. This was a hatred so powerful that it leaked through and even warped the defense strategy in the case. In the end Hans’ hatred for his wife may have seduced Bill DuBois initially to outline the “Nina is evil” line of argument. That position was the ultimate undoing of the entire defense strategy, in my opinion; it was a “poison pill” that robbed the loveable platypus of all its droll charm, and drained the defense of its last shred of credibility.

Kudos to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Henry Lee and to Wired Magazine’s David Kravets: Their ongoing coverage of this case was indispensable to the rest of us, and to the public record of this very interesting and very aggravating trial.


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