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.