Tag Archive for 'Julie Amero'

Julie Amero no longer a felon

Julie Amero, a substitute teacher in Norwich, CT, who had the unfortunate luck of teaching children in a community where incompetence is how things get done, has finally put her legal problems behind.

She was the teacher whose in-class computer had caught a bad case of popupitis and started spewing a neverending stream of porn popups while she was teaching. The school administration had failed to keep the anti-virus / popup blocking software up-to-date, so the computer was completely defenseless against porn-peddling spammers. Instead of quietly updating the software on the computer, the school administration, after hearing from some of the kids’ parents, made a police complaint against Mrs. Amero.

She was eventually convicted of several felony counts because the local police force told the DA she’d knowingly viewed porn during class. The computer security experts were astounded and jumped on her defense.

After more than a year and a half, she can now put her legal problems behind, but at considerable cost. She’s pleading guilty to a single count of disorderly conduct and surrendering her teaching license. She has also suffered severe health problems since her ordeal begun. She’s had a miscarriage and she’s been hospitalized ever since her felony conviction was handed down.

Meanwhile the New London County State’s Attorney Michael Regan remains completely unapologetic after driving an innocent woman out of her profession and into the hospital. Quoting Mr. Regan from an article in Hartford Courant:

New London County State’s Attorney Michael Regan told me late Friday the state remained convinced Amero was guilty and was prepared to again go to trial.

“I have no regrets. Things took a course that was unplanned. Unfortunately the computer wasn’t examined properly by the Norwich police,” Regan said.

Nice work Mr. Regan. Julie Amero’s re-education is complete. Congratulations!

Update: ArsTechnica has more information about the case, including really interesting stuff about the “expertise” of detective Mark Lounsbury, the prosecutor’s star witness.

The security expert(s) who brought the case into public view have started an organization called The Julie Group, whose mission is:

To bring attention to those situations where injustice is being done through the misuse or misunderstanding of computers and computer forensics; and second, to prevent future injustice wherever we are able.

And finally The Julie Group has a well written piece about how just exactly the justice shown to Mrs. Amero really is. Theirs is the article I wanted to write about the case. Kudos to The Julie Group for expressing the thoughts of many so eloquently.


Fuck the Norwich Bulletin

Norwich Bulletin is a local newspaper in Norwich, CT where Julie Amero is facing a sentence up to 40 years in prison because her classroom computer was infected with porn pop-up spewing spyware.

The Norwich Bulletin has been “covering” the case, if by coverage you mean trying to get Julie Amero burned on the stake. I guess it’s too much to ask for a small local newspaper to employ people who are computer literate, but I don’t think it’d be too much to ask to do SOME fact checking before blindly parroting the incompetent Norwich Police Department or the even more incompetent District Attorney.

Norwich Bulletin should be ashamed of themselves for their reporting of the Julie Amero case. It’s despicable.

Here are links Andrew Kantor’s coverage on Norwich Bulletin’s horrible and irresponsible reporting on the Julie Amero case. Andrew Kantor is a professional journalist (unlike the unnamed Norwich Bulletin editors…yes, they do not put their own names under their editorials) and has written articles for several well respected publications, incl. C|Net and USA Today.

Why Norwich Bulletin’s Sunday editorial is so wrong
Articles about Julie Amero on Norwich Bulletin keep dissappearing


Detective Lounsbury of Norwich, CT still clueless

The “expert” witness of the Norwich Police Department whose testimony basically convicted Julie Amero of exposing kids in her classroom to porn has responded to one of his critics with more cluelessness.

He wrote:

I can provide you w/ the source code showing all the .htm and javascripting for each web page, images from those pages, date/time of creation, MD5 hashes, etc.

Imagine that…a browser downloaded the porn popup contents and stored them on the computer.

Read the rest of his emails to PC World in the original article. Ignorance is bliss, indeed.

Update: USA Today has an article about the same issue.


Miscarriage of justice

The case of Julie Amero, a substitute teacher in Norwich, CT, has been getting more press, even from the mainstream media, lately.

Julie Amero was using the computer in the classroom when it suddenly started displaying porn pop-ups. She was unable to make them dissappear since every time she closed one, new ones would open up. She didn’t think of shutting down the computer or the monitor because the regular teacher had told her not to shut down the computer, and she didn’t understand the difference between shutting the monitor and shutting down the computer.

Some of the underage students in the class also saw the popups and told their parents. That’s when the “fun” started for Julie Amero.

The school fired her and she was arrested for suspicion of risking of injury to a minor, or impairing the morals of a child. In January she was convicted of four counts of risk of injury to a minor, or impairing the morals of a child and is facing upto 40 years in prison. The sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 3rd.

The clueless prosecution and their “expert” witnesses claimed she must’ve intentionally clicked on porn links, repeatedly for more than an hour and a half to access the porn popups. The “expert” witness testified that the browser history is evidence that she clicked on the links. Alternet has some more information about the “expert” testimony and how the “evidence” against Julie Amero was acquired.

All that would be laughable if it weren’t for the fact that Julie is, indeed, facing prison time for a crime it’s obvious she never committed.

The Norwich public school system is throwing her to the wolves, because they can’t own up to their own mistakes of not keeping their anti-virus software uptodate and not having any other adequate safeguards on that computer. The Norwich prosecutor and his “expert” witnesses are so recklessly incompetent at their jobs, they should most certainly be fired on the spot. It’s also interesting the judge didn’t allow evidence to be presented at the trial that would’ve proven Julie’s defense (that the computer was so infected with spyware anything could’ve happened on it).

What truly is a miscarriage of justice in this case is that the stress caused by the case affected Julie so much that she miscarried. She and her husband have been battling infertility for years. There’s NOTHING anyone can do to repair that, even if somebody somewhere finally gets a fucking clue and let’s this woman go.