02 March 2007

Julie Amero: Bizarro-world Justice

Nathaniel Hawthorne, of Scarlet Letter fame, could have used this case.


I am not sure what my lawyer buddies would think about what I am saying here but there is definitely a travesty in the conviction of Julie Amero. Talk about circumstantial evidence crucifying a person. Ms. Amero could be sentenced to 40 years for something she didn't do and could happen to anyone. As someone who has been involved in the internet since it went public in the '90s I have to side with the defendant. Malware and Spyware sites are bad news. You have to watch what your browser is doing even while you're using it. I don't think there is a way to legislate it out of existence. Users or in this case owners, i.e. the school have to manage this.


The school needs to grow some humility and take responsibility for some of this. Yes it happened on her watch, but they provide the internet access and should have provided the proper security software to protect both teacher and student. Who handles their IT? Those folks need to be on trial with her if not in her place. Maybe the answer they wanted to hear is that she shut the computer off. Ah but she was told she's not allowed to do that. That's an idiotic rule, especially if you are not going to protect a machine from malicious software. Maybe she should have shut it off. But given the rules and the way this case has gone, what guarantee does she have that some bureaucrat wouldn't fire her for breaking his rule? Maybe if she had gotten some support from them instead of the principal distancing himself from her we might not be reading about this. The whole thing is just wrong.


From reading the AP story, you can see the witch hunt manner in which the prosecuting attorney went after Ms. Amero. They went after the verdict that suited them. It is a case where the defendant was guilty and had to try to prove her innocence. They didn't prove she did anything they made her try and prove she didn't. Even the juror they quoted went into the thing with a preconceived notion. What he said was arrogant and self-righteous...saying he "wouldn't let his kids be in her class." Well he got his wish. They won't be. He also said she should have thrown a coat over the monitor or turned it off. The problem with that argument is that those popups come up so fast that the damage was done before she could take two steps in the direction of the computer.


A woman's career is over, at least in that town. If I were a principal I'd hire her. But I wouldn't have classes using computers that were ass-flap open to the internet.


Links:

The Feb. 7 article from PC World.

The Feb. 28 article from PC World.

The report of computer forensic specialist and expert witness at the "trial" Herbert W. Horner.

The Julie Amero blog at blogspot.com


Bizarro World comes from DC Comics. It is a square planet created by the character Bizarro, the Anti-Superman. It is a place where doing right is a crime.

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