Julie Amero Gets a New Trial!

Another tip of the hat to JanieBelle, who is suddenly occupying the role of News Girl of the Public Square, for sending this update on Julie Amero.

In a bit of guardedly good news, it seems that a judge has ruled that Amero’s original jury may have relied on some bad information and has ordered a new trial. Amero, a substitute teacher in Connecticut, was to be sentenced this week, and was facing up to 40 years in prison for exposing kids to pornography when pornographic images started popping up on a computer that two girls were using in her classroom.

From the Wired article sent by JanieBelle:

Judge Hillary B. Strackbein granted the motion for a new trial filed by Amero’s new lawyer, William F. Dow, after a state laboratory’s examination of the computer’s hard drive after the trial contradicted evidence presented in court.

“The jury may have relied, at least in part, on that faulty information,” said Judge Hillary B. Strackbein, according to the Associated Press.

I’ve written before that I thought the conviction and possible sentence were way out of proportion to the event that occurred in Amero’s classroom. Since the prosecution didn’t object to the motion for a new trial there is some speculation — reported in the Wired article — that they won’t bring the case forward. I hope that speculation proves true. But if the case does go back to trial, I hope to see a fairer proceeding and a more rational outcome. Amero did nothing criminal. The school’s computer was infected with spyware and Amero, while she might ahve acted more quickly and unplugged the machine or covered the screen, certainly did not intentionally subject students to pornography.



Filed under Julie Amaro, moral panic, News and politics, sex, sex and the law, sexuality and age

5 responses to “Julie Amero Gets a New Trial!

  1. Alex

    I think this is mainly a technological literacy issue. If the jury were experienced computer uses they would have ruled it was the techsupports fault for not having a spyware scanner setup up, or maybe the schools for not providing enough money.
    What portion of the jury were over 40?

  2. You know, I think there’s even more to it than a not-so-tech-savvy jury. I think the prosecutors themselves were either overzealous or uninformed. Consider this quote from the computer expert who examined the hard drive after the trial (from the article linked above):
    <blockquote>For a real computer expert, it was easy to see there were inaccuracies in the testimony given by the prosecution’s expert witness and I think the pros (sic) was truly led astray by the assertiveness of their witness</blockquote>
    In other words, the prosecution’s expert witness wasn’t entirely on the level, wasn’t entirely competent, or was overzealous himself. There also seems to have been a bit of incompetence or inexperience on the part of the defense, according to the Wired article the defense couldn’t present its expert witness, who would have testified that the computer in question was infected, because Amero’s original lawyer had not shared the information with the prosecution in the timely manner that is required.
    Add to those things a jury that might not have been full of heavy internet users, a growing cultural sense that children must be protected at all costs, that are extremely fragile and easily damaged, and that sexual images are always harmful to young people, and I think you get a fuller understanding of how the injustice happened.

  3. Pingback: Good News for Julie Amero « UDreamOfJanie

  4. I just came across a 19 page .pdf with a pretty good look at exactly what happened that day.

    It was put together by Nancy Willard of the Center for Safe and Responsible Use of the Internet. It’s a pretty scathing indictment of the folks who were involved in this witch hunt.


  5. JanieBelle you are just a fount of information these days! Thank you!