In the courtroom where Hans Reiser is on trial for murder, all this might appear to indicate guilty knowledge. But his attorneys cast it as evidence of an innocence peculiar to Hans, a computer programmer so immersed in the folds of his own intellect that he had no idea how complicit he was making himself appear.
"Being too intelligent can be a sort of curse," defense counsel William Du Bois said. "All this weird conduct can be explained by him, but he's the only one who can do it. People who are commonly known as computer geeks are so into the field."
And so this week, after a prosecution case that took almost three months, Du Bois launched what Wired magazine dubbed "the Geek Defense." In court, Du Bois has taken pains to portray his client as an irritating nebbish. He has repeatedly asked Alameda County Circuit Court Judge Larry Goodman to order his client to stop distracting him by talking in his ear at the defense table. He called Reiser "an inconsiderate slob" in front of the jury.