[svlug] Reiser trial: jury selection through October

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Wed Sep 26 20:52:52 PDT 2007

Alameda County Superior Court Judge Larry Goodman continues to supervise
the Hans Reiser trial, which is now in a long process of jury selection,
starting August 29.  Three panels of 100 potential jurors each filled
out juror questionnaires on Aug. 29, Aug. 30, and Sept. 4.  Then
(starting Sept. 19), Goodman and both sides' attorneys began
individually questioning those 300 citizens, trying to pick 12 qualified
jurors plus (if memory serves) four alternates (maybe fewer; can't

On the first day of questioning (a week ago), prospective jurors
were asked a series of questions concerning whether they felt they could
be objective given that this is a homicide trial in which the body of
the alleged victim has never been found despite a series of intensive
searches.  (Estranged wife Nina Reiser vanished in early September 2006.
This was while divorce proceedings were underway but not concluded.)

Attorneys for the county (prosecution) have now confirmed that the two
children, Rory and Niorlene, flown out of the country by Nina's mother
for the holidays at the end of 2006 and kept away against Judge Julie
Conger's orders, are staying with their maternal grandmother in Russia.

7-year old Rory had testified that Hans was at home with the two
children on the day that prosecutors allege that he murdered Nina,
Sunday, Sept. 3, 2006.  Defence attorney William DuBois asserts that 
this shows that defendent Hans Reiser had zero opportunity to commit the
alleged crime as charged.  Rory also contradicted the police's claimed 
timeline in other respects, e.g., flatly denying the assertion that his
parents had loudly argued just before her disappearance.  On the other
hand, Rory had also testified that Hans had told him on the morning of
Monday, Sept. 5 2006, that he rather than Nina would be picking the
children up from school, even though Nina had been scheduled to do so.
(Per arrangement, Hans had the children for the preceding weekend.)
Prosecutor Greg Dolge alleged that this shows "consciousness of guilt"
(mens rea) on Hans Reiser's part, i.e., suggesting that he knew that
Nina was already dead.  Dolge made a similar claim about testimony by 
daycare administrator Natalie Potter at Joaquin Miller Elementary School
in Oakland, where Hans picked up the children that day, that Has was
"very nervous; his body moved from side to side and he made no eye

Judge Conger had intended to hear more testimony from Rory in
closed-court hearings on January 14, 2007, to help resolve those
and other questions, but he and his sister were never flown back from

Prosecutors claim that "physical evidence" will form the main part of
their case, including blood traces tied to Nina that were found on a
door in Hans Reiser and his mother's home, and likewise on a stuffbag in
Hans Reiser's Honda Civic CRX.

After several weeks of juror-candidate questioning, the two sides'
opening statements, and thus the beginning of the trial proper, is
scheduled for Monday, October 29, 2007 (delayed yet again from the last
planned date, which was in early October).  At that point, the first day
of his trial, Hans Reiser will have been held in jail without an option
of bail for just short of a year and two months.

The trial is in Dept. 9 of the Alameda County Superior Court, in the
Rene C. Davidson Courthouse, 1225 Fallon Street near 12th Stret, Oakland
(lower edge of Lake Merritt).

May those that love us love us; and those that don't love us, may
God turn their hearts; and if he doesn't turn their hearts, may
he turn their ankles so we'll know them by their limping.

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