Linux programmer Hans Reiser, who in 2008 was found guilty of murdering his estranged wife in Oakland, California, is going to federal court to demand a new trial, claiming his attorney forced him to take the stand against his will.
The murder case, in which Reiser ultimately received a 15-to-life sentence, began with no body, no crime scene, no reliable eyewitness and virtually no physical evidence. It ended with Reiser convicted of killing Nina, his 31-year-old wife, after he took the stand and proceeded to slowly hang himself over the course of 11 days of testimony.
In a rambling, 117-page handwritten civil rights lawsuit penned from Mule Creek State Prison, Reiser — legendary in Silicon Valley as the creator of the ReiserFS file system — attacked his lawyer, the credibility of witnesses and even the trial judge. In seeking unspecified financial damages that “are large compared to the troubled state budget,” Reiser said he could not get a fair trial because the “hive mind” of the state’s judicial system suffers from a collective mental illness.