Hans Reiser leads police to Wife’s body

I dunno how many of you followed this case.

Hans Reiser invented and developed a filesystem (the part of an operating system that handles how files are stored on disks) called ReiserFS that was efficient and robust (so it was quick, and it didn’t lose data very easily if your machine crashed).In 2006 his wife disappeared, and eventually he was charged with her murder although they never found a body. In 2008 he was convicted by jury of first degree murder.

While sad, the case was interesting because Reiser is a notorious ‘geek’. Many other ‘geeks’ initially thought he couldn’t have done it and his social skills (being a geek) would let him down in the case. The case against him was pretty circumstantial, but that evidence was also very compelling. His mother’s car had a front seat missing and the floor was soaked as though it had been washed, and he was never able to clearly explain why, for example.

Anyway, today he led the police to where he buried his wife’s body.

What really makes this case stick out in my mind is that it highlights one of the most confusing elements of law for me. A legal case is supposed to be fought so that the accused (who is presumed to be innocent of any actual crime) can fairly explain the truth, and the victim can fairly explain the truth (or someone on their behalf) and then a jury can decide how much is true and if any actual crime was committed and what punishment should be provided.

But our legal system appears to be guilty people (let’s be honest, how many of us think when someone is up in court that they’re actually innocent really, unless we know them) lying about their actions in order to hide the truth while the prosecution tries to build up enough insinuation, evidence and accusations that the jury feels compelled to find them guilty.

I dunno, just feels a bit wrong. Clearly this is a naive view of law, but sometimes I can’t get my head around it.