Friday, April 18, 2008

The Platypus Defense

The Reiser case has been in the Bay Area media for some time, and is distinguishable from the usual domestic violence deaths primarily by the sheer weirdness of the defendant, his family, and now his own attorney. This may be the single most bizarre quote I've ever read from a court case, and I proofread court transcripts for five years.

Du Bois said Hans Reiser is the victim of "one of the great screw jobs," perpetrated by his wife. "It's easy to screw a platypus," he said.

The defense put a picture of a platypus on the screen in court. On Wednesday, Du Bois repeatedly held up a stuffed-animal platypus.

Despite the lack of a body, they seem to have Reiser dead to rights. He took the passenger seat out of his car and hosed out the interior right after his wife turned up missing. He seems surprised that investigators found that a bit suspicious.

Reiser's previous defense was that this is all a setup perpetrated by the Russian mafiya. If half of what I've read about the Russian mafiya is true, if they had a problem with Reiser, there would be pieces of him strewn from San Mateo to Concord; they don't seem to particularly keen on arcane frame-up jobs for dealing with schmucks.

Anyway, the platypus defense. And you thought "if it doesn't fit, you must acquit" was a bold gambit.


Marius said...

The link is broken, Heywood. I get the gist of this bizarre imbroglio from your summary, so it's not a big deal.

Has anyone demanded that this Reiser fella be mentally evaluated before being charged? He may be crazy, really. Or delusionally stupid. But, as you point out, the real question here is, how did he find an attorney to go along with his platypus defense?

Marius said...

I found this piece after I read your post. It's oldish, but fairly extensive.

Heywood J. said...

Thanks for cathcing that, Marius. The link is fixed.

In what I have gleaned from following the coverage here and there, Reiser has consistently done and said some very odd things. It is unclear whether he is genuinely unbalanced, or is simply trying to make it appear that way.

It would probably be easier for him to mount a simple insanity defense, than to impute that everyone from the Russian mob to the investigators are trying to set him up. And after this platypus thing, he might actually have grounds for appeal because of incompetent representation.

General Viagra said...

I really don't understand. why he quoted a platypus in the statement. It really helped him out to win the case. I hope so.