Belated justice for Julie Amero

Julie Amero, a substitute teacher at a Connecticut middle school, didn’t know how to get rid of pornography that popped up on a classroom computer. Convicted of exposing children to pornography, her conviction was thrown out a year ago. But the DA hasn’t dropped the charges, leaving her in legal limbo. Let’s End Teacher’s Long Nightmare, argues a Hartford Courant columnist.

Perhaps overworked state prosecutors are too busy to file the paperwork to abandon the case. It’s more likely that this is all an elaborate face-saving maneuver that must slowly unwind so that nobody will ever look bad.

The truth is that Amero, nearly a computer illiterate, was a victim of malicious software that had taken over her PC, thanks to the school district’s failure to update its technology. A team of computer security experts from around the country, drawn to the case by reports of Amero’s conviction, proved without a doubt that Amero was a victim of “spyware” and the inability of anyone to take an objective look at the case

Perhaps the DA is stalling in hopes of cutting a deal with Amero to forestall a massive lawsuit.

I blogged about the case here and here.

I’ve signed the Justice for Julie petition.

Via I Speak of Dreams.

Update: A Florida elementary school’s web site inadvertently linked to a pornography site.

About Joanne


  1. “Perhaps the DA is stalling in hopes of cutting a deal with Amero to forestall a massive lawsuit.”

    Highly unlikely: prosecutorial immunity is a near-impossible hurdle to jump over. As with Nifong, the remedy for intentional misconduct is generally a bar complaint, not a civil suit, and that’s only going to attach to individual prosecutors, not to the state as a whole.

  2. Richard Aubrey says:

    I like the idea of a massive lawsuit.

    Somehow, the view of prosecutors that innocents are collateral damage has to change. The only way to do that is to make damage to offending prosecutors severe and rapid.

    While Nifong is probably not going to be sued, and is bankrupt anyway, a number of institutions are being sued by the Duke laxers and their parents.

    Perhaps the municipality could be sued into having an interest in its prosecutors’ conduct.

    One can hope.

  3. Walter E. Wallis says:

    I have never understood why they oppose .XXX as a required address for porn.

  4. Richard, as a prosecutor myself I admit I have to declare an interest, but I believe there are generally other sufficient remedies other than putting the taxpayers on the hook for a public servant’s misbehavior. That is, after all, who would ultimately be paying out on a civil judgment and it’s why legislatures take care in narrowly waiving immunity in this and other contexts. The appellate and post-conviction processes are enough (more than enough) in most criminal cases; professional discipline is appropriate for a small but obviously prominent minority; and resort to civil litigation is (I think properly) expected in only the most truly extraordinary of cases.

    I also take exception to the idea that prosecutors in general regard innocents as “collateral damage.” I work for the innocent every day–they’re called the victims of crime. But I also take my professional duty and my role very seriously: a prosecutor’s job is not to win convictions, but to seek justice. Someone who doesn’t understand that should not be allowed anywhere near to wielding the sword of executive power in the courtroom. I was calling for Nifong to be disbarred from the outset, as he brings us all into disrepute.

  5. Richard Aubrey says:

    Dave J.
    So you’d be calling for some disbarments here? The entire staffs who prosecuted the (non) child molesters during the Eighties version of The Crucible?
    Didn’t think so.
    The reason to put taxpayers on the hook is to make taxpayers pay attention to the people they hire. If the taxpayers don’t pay attention, it’s going to cost them, not just somebody who happened to get crossways in the computer and the Process would rather jail the poor chump than admit it.
    Also, to make people like Ms. Amero whole, as far as it is possible to do so. To make manifest the social apology–anybody apologize to her yet? Didn’t think so.

  6. Reality Czech says:

    I have never understood why they oppose .XXX as a required address for porn.

    Beside the obvious problem with the conflict between blue-nose and blasé cosmopolitan sensibilities, this should bother you as much as “free-speech zones”.

  7. I don’t think anyone has ever proposed .xxx as a mandatory address for porn, so that’s a moot issue. The argument is whether there should be a top-level domain for those who want such addresses. I think it’s a dumb idea, just as a matter of policy, to have so many different TLDs that you have them for different industries (whether it’s porn or microchips or booze). Beyond, .com, .org, .edu, and a FEW others, I’m not sure why we need more. (I don’t even think it makes sense to have different ones for different countries, but it’s way past the time that that’s a relevant question.) Unfortunately, we seem to be moving in a direction where there are going to be so many TLDs that they’re going to be useless.

  8. Reality Czech says:

    I don’t think anyone has ever proposed .xxx as a mandatory address for porn

    You would be wrong about that.

  9. Let me rephrase what I said. I wasn’t aware that Max Baucus had ever introduced a bill to make it mandatory, so you’re obviously right that SOMEbody had proposed it. But there was never any real chance of that happening. It wasn’t a serious proposal on the table, at least based on all the articles I read when the issue was being debated most seriously. The real issue at the time was whether it would exist as a voluntary TLD for porn sites that wanted to use it. Interestingly, both the porn purveyors AND the anti-porn crusaders were mostly opposed, for very different reasons, of course. The domain registrar seems to have been the only one who really liked the idea. Other than Max Baucus, I guess.