Hayward -- A jury of five men and seven women was chosen Tuesday in the Hans Reiser civil suit after Reiser asked potential jurors if they could be sympathetic to someone who has committed a crime to protect others from harm.
Reiser, who is representing himself in the $15.2 million lawsuit brought against him by his children for emotional damages caused by the death of their mother, Nina Reiser, became repeatedly flustered after multiple jurors asked him to rephrase his questions. He had asked them if they believed murder was ever morally justified if it was done on behalf of others. Hans Reiser was convicted of murdering his wife, Nina, in 2008.
"Mr. Reiser should not be talking at trial of any alleged justification for what happened to his wife," said Arturo Gonzalez, the children's pro bono lawyer, outside of court. "There is absolutely no basis for him to argue that these children were in anyway harmed by their mother."
Judge Dennis Hayashi told Reiser before and after Tuesday's proceedings that he cannot argue that his wife abused their two children, Rory and Niorline, in any way before her slaying in September 2006. Reiser has been claiming that Nina had Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a form of abuse where a parent fakes an illness in their child.
Arguments from the criminal trial, which concluded in 2008, would not be allowed in this case. Reiser continuously butted heads with Hayashi as he asked jurors if they were willing
"I don't like it, but I'm not going to convince you," Reiser told Hayashi after the judge ruled against him.
Reiser, who calls himself an "indigent prisoner" in court, expressed throughout the day his claims of being denied due process, especially since he does not have a lawyer. Indigent prisoners do not have the right to a court-appointed attorney.
A few potential jurors openly expressed their discomfort about Reiser representing himself. "I will survive this," he said.
Reiser has no witnesses scheduled to testify for him, while family friends will speak on behalf of Rory, 12, and Niorline, 11, who will not attend the trial. They are living in Russia with their maternal grandmother.