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Sunday, January 14, 2007


space ramblings

Thanks for the link, witch hunts always leave victims in their wake and rarely the guilty parties

witch hunts managed by a tech illiterate system produce really bad results for the innocent

Liz Ditz

On Feb 5 2007 Andy Carvin published a post having more details on what happened the day Amero was in class, and how her defense was blocked from showing the jury what happened.

Railroading is not too strong a word.


I've edited this comment to make it more understandable, and to add my comments. Bob's comments are indented, my response is full-size, and in italics. "Bob" or "Robert" left the exact same comment at Andy Carvin's article

Bob, or Robert, wrote:

Hmm.. Why is it that people are so willing to accept the story that students accesses a malware-laden website?

Was it not Ms. Amero's statement that she didn't know which students were at the computer?

She was a substitute, in the classroom for the day. I don't know about you, but it takes me longer than a day to learn to match faces and names.

Did the investigating officer not indicate that he was unable to locate any student who could corraborate Ms. Amero's version of the events (except to say that they saw porn on the computer while she was sitting in front of it)?
I don't know. I do know 7th graders, though, and their grasp of reality can be shaky -- especially when being questioned by authorities.
Is it not true that Ms. Amero purposely went to dating websites

No, according to another report from an attorney specializing in computer law, a previous user -- possibly the regular teacher, Mr. Napp -- had accessed the dating websites.

and her personal email accounts -

Yes, the regular teacher, Mr. Matthew Napp, allowed Ms. Amero to email her husband, using her home AOL mail account, before 8:14 am.

in violation of district policy which forbid using school computers for personal entertainment?

I don't know if emailing one's spouse counts as "personal entertainment".

I haven't seen district policy on a teacher accessing his/her home email account from district computers. It is possible it is forbidden; it is equally possible that Ms. Amero's action was entirely acceptable.

Is it not true that these accounts were accessed while Ms. Amero was to be teaching a class?

I do not know what time the school day, or class period, was supposed to start. The sites referenced above were accessed before 8:14 am.

I have read allegations that Ms. Amero had been previously reprimanded for web surfing during the hours she should have been teaching, but I've been unable to verify the allegations. Without substantiation from a reputable source, such allegations are nothing but hearsay.

Does Ms. Amero not have a computer in her home with many of the same "cookies" from these porno sites logged in?

I have not been able to verify this allegation. As far as I know, Bob's making this up. Innocent until proven guilty.

Is it not true that Ms. Amero, when interviewed by police, responded that she, "couldn't remember" why she went to,, or

As I understand it, it was Mr. Matthew Napp, the regular teacher, who accessed those sites. They are not porn sites. isn't really a "dating" site, but a respected service.

Is it not true that there was less than 1 minute between Ms. Amero's accessing of her personal AOL account and the offending "hairstyle" website?

According to this report, "The initial user continued use of the PC and accessed,,, and all between 8:06:14 - 8:08:03 AM. During the next few moments Julie retrieved her email
through AOL. was accessed at 8:14:24 A.M., based upon the hair style images uploaded to the PC we were led to believe that there were students using the computer to search out hair styles".

There's not enough data to determine the elapsed time between Ms. Amero's email to her husband and the hair-style site access. It takes me about 15 seconds to get up from my computer and walk 30 feet.

C'mon people, malicious spyware wasn't even part of her defense! Her statements to police (and her own attorney's opening arguments) were that she didn't expose children to pornography.

The defense was prevented from presenting the malicious spyware part of their case. See multiple references, above.

Note too, that Ms. Amero didn't notify anyone (not even the teacher that was logged in) of the incident?

The preceeding statement is untrue. 1. Mr. Matthew Napp had left the building for the day. 2. On her first break, she ran to the teacher's lounge to get help. One of the teachers promised to call the assistant principal, but Amero says she never came. 3. Ms. Amero reported the incident to the assistant principal at the end of the day.

It came to light only after 12yr old students complained to other school officials that she had been "watching naked people on the school computer."

Not true. Amero asked for help from other teachers and reported the problem to the Assistant Principal at the end of the day.

Even by the defense's own expert, no pornographic sites were ever logged in prior to Ms Amero's day in front of the computer... Nor were any pornographic sites logged after her day of "teaching." (Incidently, the computer in question was not removed from the classroom until several days later.) Why is it that the malware only became active when Ms. Amero was sitting at the computer?

I don't know that your allegations are true. Readers are directed to the many expert evaluations, linked above

Why didn't she turn off the monitor? Throw a coat over it? Why did her students report that she simply sat at her computer for the entire period?

According to many reports, Julie Amero is virtually computer illiterate. How would she know that a monitor could be turned off? According to her trial testimony, she had neither a coat nor a sweater with her. Her students reported that she attempted to block their view of the monitor

Finally, why hasn't anyone actually published the transcripts of the case to reveal the details? The lead detective says:

Bob then quotes at length a comment allegedly made by Mark Lounsbery, the police detective who investigated the matter. I could not verify that Lounsbery actually wrote the comment -- it first appeared on Alternet on Feb 8th, at this link.

(you have to scroll down to the Feb 8 link, or search for grassy-knoll.

I do not believe that it was a comment actually made by Det. Lounsbery, so I've deleted it. Feel free to read it at the link above.

If you'd like to read a verified commentary by Det. Lounsbery, you can do so at Nework Performance Daily.

The police detective indicated that the police never examined the school computer for the existence of Trojan horses, logic bombs, spyware, adware or other malicious code. They reportedly didn’t do this because the defense did not raise the “malware defense” prior to trial. Indeed, many have conjectured that the “pop-up” defense was manufactured for the trial, and that Julie never told anyone about the pop-ups at the time, or indeed at any time prior to trial.

However, if you wanted to assert that the defendant deliberately clicked on pornographic websites, and offer expert testimony to that effect, it would be incumbent upon you to eliminate the possibility – indeed, the probability – of the existence of malware. Indeed, the police detective himself suggested that a normal procedure would be to look for malware created before or at the time of the alleged criminal acts.

From the EdTech Insider:

What I discovered was more than a little troubling. In June and July of 2004, before Julie's experience, the Griswold Middle School had an infestation of pornography that caused local authorities to seize a computer and hard drives. A student printed a nude image to take home in their backpack! Funny how no prosecution took place in those cases.

It is inexcusable that no action was taken to upgrade the protective software at that time (they had the summer to do it). And it explains why nobody thought much of Amero's experience at the time, essentially telling her "not to worry about it."

What this adds up to however is grounds for a mistrial since the community responsible was well aware of computer pornography being present on school district computers yet prosecuted Amero under the pretense that she was the menace to society.

M Rinni

First of all this case is a joke, I have a background in computer forensic investigation and can easily be reviewing the computer files and tell exactly you what someone clicked on. Even if they use key words in search engines.

The one way this can be thrown out is proper chain of custody with the computer hard drive. How has it? Did both parties get a forensic image? WITHOUT THIS INFORMATION, they are not following the computer discovery laws. Making all evidence in admissible.


Does anyone know if the court opinion in this case is posted online?


thanks for sharing it.

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