Julie Amero case, part II: May the farce be with you

Even Cringe blows one occasionally -- like maligning a computer expert who was only trying to help a school teacher escape a wrongful felony conviction. Read on for yet more Kafkaesque details of the Amero case.

The Julie Amero case has stirred up a lot of emotions, including some from Cringe readers who feel I was less than fair in my description of the expert witness hired by Amero's attorney, Herb Horner. You know what? They're right.

My information came from a single source who declined to speak on the record. His main point was that though Horner had impressive credentials as a computer expert, he wasn't a licensed forensic investigator in a case that desperately needed one.

I never contacted Horner himself. It was strictly "type first, think later" journalism.

Bad Cringe, no more Little Debbie snack cakes for you.

J. S. writes:

Robert, you really need to check your facts here about Herb Horner. He is hardly "little more than a guy who played with computers" (he operates a computer consulting firm) and was hardly "shredded on the stand" (most of his prospective testimony was barred by the trial judge).... Herb may not be as sophisticated in his knowledge as some of these very best in their field, but your characterization of him was entirely inappropriate, unfair, and way off-base.

G. M. weighs in as well:

... while Herb may not be a professional computer forensics expert, his 35+ years in his profession gives him more credibility than anyone else in this case. His inability to present his expert testimony was strictly an issue of the defense attorney's failure to disclose Herb's finding during pre-trial evidence discovery procedures.

I contacted Horner via e-mail and asked for his side of the story. He told me he had intended to bring laptops into the courtroom to re-create the pop-up porn storm that engulfed Julie Amero on the morning of October 19, 2004. But the court would not give him unfettered access to the Net, and prosecutor David Smith objected to the introduction of evidence he was unfamiliar with. Horner writes:

I arrived at the court house with two laptops. Smith was not happy when he realized what I was going to do. I started the presentation in the form of a narrative, and Smith objected, stating he did not know of the malware defense that I had prepared.... I mentioned to the judge that I would give Smith everything I had. A milk crate full of Microsoft documentation on how the Internet Explorer worked. The file layouts of Internet cache. A copy of the programs I used and the reports.... The judge refused and mentioned that there was no time for that, now the trial must go on.... So with that I was only able to show a couple of slides to indicate what happened. One of most important things that happened here is that there was a REDIRECT to the initial porn hair site. I still stand by that.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags spyware

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert X. Cringely

Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?