Connecticut Still Wants To Try Julie Amero

from the sickening dept

You may recall the case of Julie Amero, a substitute teacher in Connecticut who was found guilty of charges that she had showed pornography to children in her classroom, and who faced 40 years in jail. The problem was that the police and the prosecutors seemed unable to understand what had actually happened. The computer in the classroom had been infected by malware, which tossed up porn pop-up ads. It wasn't that she was surfing porn, but that the computer had malware. As news of this wrongful conviction got out, more and more security experts tried to explain to everyone involved why Amero was not the guilty party. Eventually, the judge agreed, and struck down the guilty verdict.

However, the state still has not dropped the case.

In fact, as reader Phil K lets us know, the state has no intention of dropping the case, and appears to want a new trial. No one involved in the case will explain why they won't drop it. In fact, they won't even apologize for what was clearly a wrongful prosecution in the first place. The prosecutors, the police and the school Amero worked for haven't said a word. The fact that they're planning to go through another trial over this matter suggests they still don't even realize what they did.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Stephen Adams, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 1:31pm

    Not surprising

    To do otherwise, the prosecutor, the police and the school would appear to be failing to protect the children.

    Even if it makes them look like a bunch of wankers.

     

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  2.  
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    Matt, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 1:40pm

    Just like that Massachusetts state worker

    Atleast he just got fired as opposed to this woman who actually faced 40 years jail time.

    The law sucks when they have no idea how computer crime works, huh.

     

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  3.  
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    hegemon13, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 1:45pm

    Double Jeopardy?

    Can anyone explain why this is not double jeopardy? This is a criminal charge that has already been overturned. How can she now be charged again for the same crime?

     

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  4.  
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    Jerry Lees, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 1:50pm

    Re: Double Jeopardy?

    Because she wasn't found not guilty by a judge or jury. The judge simply overturned the verdict, which isn't a not guilty finding in court.

     

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  5.  
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    Matt, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 1:52pm

    Re: Double Jeopardy?

    I heard on TV that they are planning on charging her with some other charge so they can bring it back to trial again.

    Thats what sucks about our legal system. They can charge her for one thing and when the wrongful conviction is overturned they can charge her with something else related to the first charge, just so they can try to put her in jail and save face.

    But as long as one child is protected, this is all worth it....right?

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 2:07pm

    More here...

     

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  7.  
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    wow, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 2:54pm

    wtf?

    This is wrong on so many levels. I hope even more of the internet will take up the cause if needed a second time around.

     

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  8.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jul 10th, 2008 @ 2:55pm

    Next year's headlines:

    Connecticut is facing a shortage of substitute teachers because nobody wants to work for an employer willing to destroy their lives to save face. Meanwhile school budgets are cut due to high legal costs in a recently overturned lawsuit...

    Scapegoats are apparently more important than education in certain districts, it seems.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    Haywood, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 3:21pm

    Duke lacrosse players

    Maybe this prosecutor should review how it worked out for district attorney Mike Nifong.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Poster, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 4:19pm

    You know what would be poetic justice?

    One of the prosecutors' computers gets locked down/infected due to malware.

     

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  11.  
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    Michael Vilain, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 5:01pm

    I'd like to see...

    the judge throw out the retrail and as an added bonus, cite the entire prosecuting team for contempt, with a large fine and some jail time for wasting the taxpayers money and the court's time.

    I can dream, can't I?

     

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  12.  
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    Mee2, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 5:06pm

    Re:

    I was thinking the same thing. Since privacy is a quaint antiquated notion, they should do a surprise inspection on ALL of the prosecution team's computers (work and home, all family members etc.) just to see how much porn is on those boxes. Lets see just how well they "protect" their own family members from seeing porn. Then as they say , let he who is without sin cast the first legal stone.

     

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  13.  
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    Jack, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 5:22pm

    Where are the other teachers?

    How can they not go on strike until this is resolved?

     

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  14.  
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    PR NY, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 5:23pm

    OMG!

    What is so bizarre is how they actually convinced 12 people to convict her in the first place ...and how long it took the judge to understand the facts.


    This is a well educated, middle class woman with no prior arrests - can anyone understand what happens to the uneducated poor in the justice system.

    Also compare the unethical prosecution of her to the Duke College students

     

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  15.  
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    jonnyq, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 5:39pm

    Re: Re: Double Jeopardy?

    (I'm an armchair lawyer, so correct me if I'm wrong)

    When a case is dismissed, it can be with or without prejudice. Assuming this case was dismissed without prejudice, she can be tried again.

    As far as charging her with something else, I don't think that's correct. You can't be tried twice for the same /crime/ regardless of the charge, where "crime" means "criminal act". For example, you can't be found innocent of rape and then retried on sexual assault for the same crime - that would be double jeopardy regardless of the charge.

     

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  16.  
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    Haywood, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 5:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Double Jeopardy?

    Rodney king cops? Tried, released, tried again on federal civil rights charges.

     

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  17.  
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    Brooks, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 6:07pm

    It's likely a CYA move on the part of the authorities. If they acknowledge the obvious facts, they could have a weaker position in a civil suit. By charging forward and insisting that they believe she is guilty, they're in a stronger negotiating position for any kind of settlement or other arrangement with Amaro.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Cowherd, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 6:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Double Jeopardy?

    From a real armchair lawyer: The case went to trial, and the trial continued all the way to a verdict. That means jeopardy definitely attached.

    As for being seen to do something to "protect the children", the state prosecutors ought to go after the malware producer and whichever sleazy "affiliate" used surreptitious installs to get it onto a school's computers.

     

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  19.  
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    Dan, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 7:37pm

    These prosecutors must must be derivatives of the same gene pool that wrote Louisiana's 'Science Education Act,'. No forks in that line.

     

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  20.  
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    James P. Moore, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 8:00pm

    Prosecutors

    Gosh, folks, didn't you know?

    Prosecutors are infallible. They never make mistakes.
    So many of them remind me of Mark Twain's musing, "Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it."

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 10th, 2008 @ 9:17pm

    Re: OMG!

    What is so bizarre is how they actually convinced 12 people to convict her in the first place ...and how long it took the judge to understand the facts.
    If you can control what information a person has then you can control what they think. In a courtroom trial, the judge can control what information the jury is allowed to have and so can lead them to think as he likes. In this case the judge simply disallowed information that would have led the jury to decide otherwise.

     

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  22.  
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    Dave Kahn, Jul 11th, 2008 @ 3:33am

    Re: Re: OMG!

    What you have to remember is that almost no-one in the courtroom was computer literate, and that includes the police so-called "expert". Quite possibly the only person involved in the whole case who understood what really happened was the defence's expert witness. He, of course, was not allowed to present his evidence. :-(

     

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  23.  
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    Brandon, Jul 11th, 2008 @ 6:36am

    Wikipedia Article

    According to that article on Wikipedia posted in #6, the kids in the classroom had access to the computer for the substitute used it. I remember trying to access the Playboy channel on my friend's satellite dish back in elementary school (before the internet) so you can't tell me that a group of 7th graders wouldn't try to look up porn on the internet if they thought they could get away with it. That could very well be how those pop-ups got on there. But I forgot, kids never do anything wrong. It's never their fault. I'm not saying this is what happened, but it seems no one even thought of this possibility. And from the sounds of the school's network security, or lack thereof, they have no way of finding out when or how those pop-ups got on there.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    hegemon13, Jul 11th, 2008 @ 6:43am

    Re: Re: Double Jeopardy?

    I see. I did not realize that overturning the guilty verdict did not equate to an innocent verdict. The prosecutors have to be the most disgusting, self-serving slimeballs I have heard about in some time. They are willing to steal 40 years of someone's life just to save face. That is only a tiny step down from murder, in my opinion.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    BTR1701, Jul 11th, 2008 @ 7:31am

    Re: Double Jeopardy?

    > Can anyone explain why this is not double jeopardy?
    > This is a criminal charge that has already been
    > overturned.

    According to the article, "In June of 2007, Judge Strackbein threw out the initial conviction and ordered a new trial."

    That means he overturned the verdict on evidentiary grounds with leave for the state to retry the defendant without the botched evidence. Such things happen all the time and they are not violations of double jeopardy.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    BTR1701, Jul 11th, 2008 @ 7:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Double Jeopardy?

    > As for being seen to do something to "protect
    > the children", the state prosecutors ought to
    > go after the malware producer

    That person probably isn't even in the USA, let alone the state of Connecticut. Not much a local DA can do against someone like that.

     

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  27.  
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    James, Jul 11th, 2008 @ 7:39am

    Even for a tech illiterate person would realize something is wrong no teacher would intentionally show a class pornographic material

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Jimmy Daniels, Jul 11th, 2008 @ 7:39am

    erate

    Then Julie, or someone, anyone, should sure the state since they had no filtering in place at the time, something they HAVE to have to get erate money from the government.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2008 @ 7:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Double Jeopardy?

    I don't know off hand, but were they both criminal charges or were any of them civil charges?

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    bshock, Jul 11th, 2008 @ 10:55am

    actual guilt is beside the point

    Since when does anyone care if a scapegoat has actually done something wrong? This poor woman just represents a flashy opportunity for prosecutors to score attention from the public. Put together the topics "schoolkids" and "porn," and suddenly everyone's ears perk up.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Anthony Capezzali, Jul 11th, 2008 @ 11:39am

    Fess up

    You've already screwed up this kid's life why not try doing the right thing and give her a public apology, her job and award her $50,000 in punitive damages along with a medical escrow of $50,000 for medical damages.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 11th, 2008 @ 11:49am

    Re: Re: Re: OMG!

    He, of course, was not allowed to present his evidence.
    Exactly.

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Jul 11th, 2008 @ 2:13pm

    I've said it before and I'll say it again, put the words "children" and "porn" in the same sentence and all common sense goes out the window.

     

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  34.  
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    Seth Brundle, Jul 11th, 2008 @ 6:53pm

    She's obviously a witch.
    We must hang her.

     

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  35.  
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    ShadowGod, Jul 11th, 2008 @ 8:12pm

    Re: More here...

    lol Wikipedia is a friggin joke, don't trust anything you read there

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Cowherd, Jul 11th, 2008 @ 9:13pm

    Wikipedia; malware producer

    Re: "Wikipedia is a friggin joke", nope, sorry, no can do, you're wrong.

    Re: the malware producer is probably not even in the US: the prosecutors should find out exactly where the malware producer is, and whatever affiliate did the drive-by install, and generally do what's called in the law-enforcement field "conducting an investigation". For that, they may want police or even Interpol assistance. The tools, procedures, and agencies exist to investigate crimes, including crimes that might cross borders. They just need to pick them up and use them.

     

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  37.  
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    Anon, Jul 12th, 2008 @ 4:22am

    hmm

    These people are incredibly stupid. What's really going on here is a woman was almost sentenced to potentially 40 years in jail due to a student of hers looking at pornographic websites and getting the computer infected with malware.

    This reminds me of conservative judges denying motions to allow dna testing of crime scene evidence by people already convicted of a crime claiming innocence.

    This woman's innocence is clearly defined, and the judge himself overturned the conviction. For them to act with such disregard for justice, the law, and the facts of the case is absolutely mindblowing.

    These prosecutors should be disbarred, if not criminally prosecuted. No one with minds like theirs has any place having the public's trust bestowed upon them to ensure that justice is served.

     

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  38.  
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    Thomas, Jul 13th, 2008 @ 7:51am

    Other teachers?

    I would hope that other teachers in the state would simply resign and move elsewhere. Why work for that state?

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 25th, 2008 @ 9:27pm

    Re: Where are the other teachers?

    As someone who works in that district I'm not going on strike for a substitute teacher who isn't wise enough to turn the screen off. She wasn't that computer illiterate trust me.

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    garry, Jul 31st, 2008 @ 1:13am

    message

    Hi
    I think that the Julie amero was innocent as the computer in classroom was affected by malware so it was showing the porn ads on the net. But I feel that the computers in the classrooms should not have these kinds of things and I feel very bad for Julie, as she has got the verdict of spending 40 years in jail
    ===========================================================
    Garry

    http://www.treatmentcent ers.org/connecticut

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    Julie, Aug 5th, 2008 @ 2:54am

    Re: Re: Where are the other teachers?

    Sometimes when someone panics they don't think of the obvious. I've been out on the Internet looking for free gifs to put on a website and the bad popups have started. Everytime you click to close the browser it creates another popup. I had 20 or more popups in just a few seconds. All I could do to stop it was to do a hard shut down and I am very computer literate. There was no one to see it but me - but I ran to my IT boss to tell him - of course he understood what it's like out there and said that if it ever became an issue, he'd back me 100%.

    I don't understand how she could be charged when she wasn't the only one who had access to the computer anyway. I don't think people should be charged for something like this when it is unintentional. It doesn't sound like she was TRYING to expose them. Crazy and scary.

     

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  42.  
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    Dalton, Aug 28th, 2008 @ 12:00pm

    There is so much wrong with the situation. What ever happened to "Innocent until PROVEN guilty"? There should have been time logs on the hard drive of when "whatever" sites were accessed, etc. If there was any doubt, she's innocent.

    At least that's in a logical world. Bah. But the really scary thing is this tendency of communities to jump on any whiff of "child" + porn" and ruin someone's life, with NO EVIDENCE AT ALL.

    A *murderer* gets a more fair trial than this; how did we get to the point where popup windows (which we have ALL had happen to us with seemingly no logic) can ruin the rest of someone's life and NOBODY notices what a farce of justice it is?! Good lord, even if she had INTENTIONALLY shown the porn, it's not worth a 40-year sentence--for something to allegedly happen that is both unlikely and unproven to result in taking away the rest of her life...I'm astonished.

    And, who is surprised that nobody wants to be a substitute in that district after this? I'm surprised anyone goes into teaching at all, in this current culture that treats all schoolkids as completely innocent creatures who would NEVER do anything wrong and all adults as predators whose every thought is consumed in molesting them.

     

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  43.  
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    joe bassett, Oct 17th, 2008 @ 11:40am

    Someone in her family should ventilate this prosecutor. Sometimes these bastards just take things too far. One bullet and the bastard is done.

     

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  44.  
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    alejandro, Oct 23rd, 2008 @ 4:35pm

    OMFG. the kids on the cusp of puberty saw a little porn, who gives a rats a$$s. We live in the most puritanical, moralistic, witch hunting society, who's sexual rigidity is alarming. We as a society have not progressed since Salem. "spare the kids, protect the kids BLAA BLAAAH BOOO HOOO" shut up. They can take it. If my daughter came home and described seeing some hardcore advertisement, I'd have a frank discussion, trying to guage her emotions about it. Did she feel ashamed when she saw it, scared or confused by the imagery, maybe a little titilated, does she understand that even if the imagery seemed violent it was probably consensual? It's are job as parents, not to run around with pitch forks and torches aimed at the scapegoats and to freakin relax and adress the issue with a conversation. One conversation. That's all this situation needed. a little sit down talk. this whole prosecution insanity of julie amero is just an unhealthy outlet to channel the real fear that these parents have regarding their own uneasyness with straight talk about sexuality. These kids are in seventh grade, are these parents in denial about how much they know already? we need to help our kids process what they run into in life even if it's some silicon barbie felating a big black dong. Call it much needed media literacy. and as far as internet porn they sure as hell better get used to seeing that trash, cause it will never leave.

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    i know, Nov 24th, 2008 @ 8:11pm

    if you only knew

    I've met Julie, and her self serving husband, I don't think I would believe someone who tells everyone she already got a half million settlement from the state before she agrees to a plea for a lesser charge. Getting her teaching credentials revoked? She was a substitute teacher, all that requires is a BA and a day orientation course, her "teaching career" never got off the ground. Read the transcripts, whay would the children lie, why would there not be a trail to link the normal teacher to the porn and/or malware.

     

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  46.  
    identicon
    J. Sease, Nov 28th, 2008 @ 7:19pm

    Re: if you only knew

    "Read the transcripts, whay would the children lie, why would there not be a trail to link the normal teacher to the porn and/or malware."

    1. I have.
    2. Children lie every single day.
    3. Perhaps they would have found that trail if the defense had been allowed to put their expert witness on the stand.

     

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  47.  
    identicon
    if you only knew, Nov 28th, 2008 @ 7:35pm

    Re: Re: if you only knew

    "2. Children lie every single day."

    So do defendants.

    "3. Perhaps they would have found that trail if the defense had been allowed to put thier expert witness on the stand"

    All kinds of outside sources analyzed the computer... if that trail existed they would have been screaming it at the top of thier lungs, and no plea bargains.

     

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  48.  
    identicon
    i Know, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 9:49pm

    Still accepting paypal huh?

    Can anyone please tell me why the julie amero site is still accepting pay pal payments (donations) for her defense when the case has been closed. Must explain why they bought a nice house during the trial.

     

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  49.  
    identicon
    Lisa, Dec 20th, 2008 @ 5:28am

    If you knew

    The woman's innocence is clearly defined and the judge himself overturned the conviction. For them to act with such disregard for justice, the law and the facts of the case is absolutely mind blowing.This reminds me of conservative judges denying motions to allow DNA testing of crime scene evidence by people already convicted of a crime claiming innocence.
    Lisa
    connecticut drug rehab

     

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  50.  
    identicon
    i Know, Dec 27th, 2008 @ 9:18pm

    Re: If you knew

    Lisa,

    You seem to forget she pleaded guilty......



    Just a reminder.

     

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  51.  
    icon
    Krevco (profile), Dec 28th, 2009 @ 7:52am

    The fact that they are still pursuing this case SUGGESTS that they don't know what they are doing, but COULD mean that they know more than they are letting on. It could very well be that the malware found on the computer was not totally responsible for the content that was present on the machine, but may only be a coincidence. I am just saying, we should keep an open mind on this one until more facts come out...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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