Space Ramblings

The Strange Case of Julie Amero

Who is Julie Amero? Not long ago she was nobody. A middle aged substitute school teacher probably using the extra money to get by. Now she’s the first person convicted for the actions of a spyware infection on a school’s computer which generated porn pop ups that several children were exposed to.

Julie appeared to have gone browsing on a site about hair styles, which triggered a spyware infection and a whole swarm of pop ups which, like a lot of people, made her panic. Now here’s the part where we realize once again that the American Justice System would be better off being run by monkeys.

The school could have let Julie go or refused to work with her again, since she was browsing the internet at work. But of course they didn’t do that. The national hysteria when it comes to children combined with the slavering glee some prosecutors display at the prospect of destroying an innocent person’s life and getting in the headlines at the same time made certain of that. Instead Julie was put on trial for endangering children, convicted and now faces a sentence of as much as 40 years.

Yup there you have it. Get a spyware conviction, have your life destroyed and go to jail. The prosecutor had an easy case to make, all he had to do was keep claiming that she was deliberately browsing porn sites at work. The judge, judge Hillary Strackbein, kept falling asleep throughout the trial. You can see how sentencing an innocent person to 40 years in jail would be boring. I’m guessing she was waiting for something that would really excite her, like a gas chamber trial. She did of course manage to prevent Julie Amero‘s lawyer from delivering some of the testimony about spyware, but it’s a given that the kind of mentally retarded jury that would convict on this wouldn’t have cared anyway.

At this point it’s obvious that we need a separate branch of the judiciary for dealing with tech cases just like we have dealing with family law. The endless RIAA cases in which RIAA legal thugs brandishing a list of IP addresses, they themselves gathered, which are not actual evidence, serve as instant victories by senile judges too dim to know which way their socks are turned. We need qualified judges and qualified juries for those cases which can pass a technology literacy test. Otherwise we wind up with more kangaroo courts and more Julie Ameros.

Our patent system is already a joke. Anytime a court case that deals with technological issues comes forward, the question becomes just how stupid the verdict will be.

It is also the ultimate hypocrisy for the court to convict Julie Amero, rather than say the makers of the Bratz dolls, the clothing designers trying to turn little girls into sex objects and the perpetrators of what was described in the New York Times story under Middle-School Girls Gone Wild. But of course the cultural, educational and corporate forces that actually promote child abuse and child pornography will never face justice. So instead one lone substitute teacher will go to jail for having a spyware infection on a computer, the prosecutor will pat himself on the back and go off to another law enforcement conference somewhere sunny with a bar tab all in the name of fighting crime and our culture will keep on sliding into the toilet.

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Comments
  • chana January 16, 2007 at 4:27 am

    The law is getting evil now. This case is awful.
    Like the Duke STudents who are being persecuted.

    • Custom avatar
      Masaaki June 11, 2014 at 12:44 pm

      Some fundamental erorrs about the facts of this case:”However, the case didn’t hinge on that point. What was far more important was the testimony from children saying they watched the teacher click on porn. While the corrected technical analysis shows that the porn almost certainly started with the spyware/popups in the morning, it does not disprove the children’s testimony that Amero was intentionally surfing porn later in the day.”No such testimony was ever presented. The children testified that they witnessed the teacher physically *clicking* the mouse. That’s not the same as “clicking on” (i.e., surfing, opening, etc.) porn. Those who testify to the *actual facts* of what they saw the teacher doing (rather than what they heard from others that the teacher was supposedly doing) testify that they did see her clicking the close buttons on pop-up windows, which supports the defense.”Even that isn’t the most important issue in the case. The biggest issue is that Amero did not prevent children from seeing the porn throughout the day. She didn’t turn the computer off, she didn’t even put a piece of paper in front of the monitor, stack books in front of it, put her purse in front, or do much of anything. Children viewed porn, she could have prevented it, but she didn’t. (And that was against the law).”Incorrect. The law requires that someone “intentionally or unlawfully” expose a minor to some moral impairment. There’s no definition of what “unlawfully” means. As a result, the jury instructions that convicted Ms. Amero are so vague that they would probably have been tossed (along with the conviction) on appeal as unconstitutional. You would do well to familiarize yourself with the “reasonable person” standard. This standard has been used for about 40 years in striking vague laws like this one. It states, in essence, that a reasonable person would choose to steer clear of unlawful conduct, given the opportunity. If the same reasonable person (desiring to avoid unlawful conduct) cannot determine to a significant extent what conduct is prohibited, the statute is subject to arbitrary enforcement and entrapment, and is therefore unconstitutional.Prosecutors in the United States do not have the right to ignore anyone who claims to have any piece of exculpatory information, no matter how seemingly insignificant. That this prosecutor claimed it anyway is the whole reason why Julie was ever charged, much less convicted.

  • O_Deus January 16, 2007 at 4:29 am

    prosecutors keep complaining they don’t have the legal tools they need to fight crime and when they get them, they abuse them like this and squander law enforcement’s credibility in the bargain

  • linuxiac March 13, 2007 at 6:42 pm

    Some points of fact, in the testimony!

    Julie went to the class room early, to meet the regular teacher, and said that before class she needed to visit the lady’s room.
    The regular male teacher stated that he would turn on and log into the computer. She expected to meet him to take charge of the class, when she got back, in aobut 7 minutes, still early to class.

    When she got back, the regular male teacher was gone for the day, leaving the class unsupervised, and the porn pop ups were already popping!!! Those 7th grade students were surfing!!!

    Det. Lounsbery had taken the two hour on-computer instruction and a telephone interview, plus two 2 week FBI seminars, and that is the ONLY qualifications he has ever met, to investigate computer fraud or Identity theft, or spyware, malware, viral infections. He si totally unqualified, and the one piece of software he used costs $19 on the Internet, ComputerCop, is a very lame program.

    ” Detective Lounsbury has completed two two-week FBI training seminars on computer security and other continuing education programs. He is also a certified user of the computer monitoring software ComputerCOP Pro.

    Allison Whitney, ComputerCOP’s director of communications, explained how her company certifies police officers to use the software:

    “They get a full hour of training, and then they’re tested,” Whitney said. “A lot of these people don’t have any kind of training. Their [superior] officers may give them some kind of low-level training. Most of the time we do the training over the phone.”

    ComputerCOP scans the hard drive and reports on when each file was created or modified. Lounsbury says he is satisfied that Amero intentionally viewed porn in class because the logs show that her computer accessed various inappropriate sites while she was sitting at the computer.

    “I take that at face value,” Lounsbury told Alternet. “It’s evidence. It speaks for itself. The pop-up defense is a Twinkie defense.” ”
    Quoted from http://www.alternet.org/rights/46925/

    These and other FACTS of the trial transcript cry for a total dismissal by a superior court, but, where will Julie Amero get the tens of thousands of dollars required to mount an appeal?
    Is there enough verifieable malfeasance by Judge Hilary StrackBein and the Prosecution for a superior court to accept an appeal?

    Watch this case!

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