Question # 00823192 Posted By: shortone Updated on: 04/28/2022 08:38 PM Due on: 04/30/2022
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Julie Amero was a 41-year-old substitute teacher in the Norwich, CT public school system. On October 19, 2004, Ms. Amero was the substitute teacher at Kelly Middle School for a 7th grade language arts class. The regular teacher, Mathew Napp, was required to be at another meeting. Ms. Amero met Mr. Napp in the classroom before classes began and found Mr. Napp at the computer used only by teachers. Ms. Amero asked about the class work for the day and asked if she could use the computer. Mr. Napp indicated that he had logged into the computer (substitute teachers do not have log-in rights) so that it could be used and told Ms. Amero not to turn the computer off. Ms. Amero asked to go to the restroom before Mr. Napp left. When she returned from the restroom, Mr. Napp was not in the class. Ms. Amero found two students at the computer. According to an interview with Ms. Amero:


“I looked at the screen and it was kids looking at hair sites – red and green spiky hairdos – it was no big deal. I started my day and did attendance. Some of the kids were talking and giggling. They were glancing toward the computer which was not facing them – it was facing the window which looked out to a courtyard – and I looked, and things were popping up on the screen that were inappropriate. And I knew no better than to, the tiny box on the right-hand corner, click it off. And every time I clicked it, more came.”[2]


Ms. Amero asked a sign language interpreter present in the class if she could watch the class while she found help for the computer. The interpreter indicated that it was not her job to watch the class. Ms. Amero waited for a class break and went to the teacher’s lounge seeking help from four teachers in the lounge, but no teacher responded to her request. Ms. Amero did report the computer problem to the Vice Principal at the end of the day. Ms. Amero taught for two more days after this incident before being called into the Principal’s office. The Principal showed Ms. Amero a list of websites visited from the computer in the class where she was the substitute teacher on October 19, 2004. She was dismissed by a phone call from the principal later the same evening.


Various school administration officials and the Norwich, CT Police Department were notified following complaints and concerns by parents who became aware of the incident. Ms. Amero was charged with ten felony counts of a criminal violation of Connecticut General Statute Section 53-21 (a) (1) Risk of Injury to a Minor whereby children under the age of sixteen years were placed in a situation that the morals of said children were likely to be impaired. The number of felony counts was later reduced to four.


A trial was conducted from January 3 to January 5, 2007. On January 5, 2007, Ms. Amero was found guilty on all four counts and faced ten years in prison for each count or a possible total of 40 years.


After hearing about the case and the nature of the computer and digital forensics examination and evidence, a group of computer and digital forensic professionals reviewed the trial testimony and evidence on a volunteer basis. This volunteer group, including Dr. Glenn Dardick, Ph.D., a past guest lecturer in ACCT 610, submitted a paper titled “Technical Review of the Trial Testimony – State of Connecticut vs. Julie Amero.”  In this paper dated March 27, 2007, the volunteer group documented their belief that “… incorrect information was supplied in court” and that there was a “… possible lack of a thorough forensic examination on the physical evidence by both the defense and the prosecution.”    


On June 6, 2007, A New London, CT Superior Court judge threw out the conviction of Ms. Amero and she was granted a new trial and entered a plea of not guilty. The ordeal of the trial and her conviction were difficult for Ms. Amero:


“The case ruined her life. She believes that the stress from the arrest caused her to miscarry her baby, and her career as a teacher is finished. A heart condition landed her in the hospital after she fainted several times. And while she was briefly employed at an area Home Depot last year, she was fired from the job shortly after an employee posted new clippings about her trial in the employee lounge.”[3]


In order to avoid a new trial, Ms. Amero entered a plea of guilty to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct, paid a $100 fine, and surrendered her teaching license.



  • Honorable Hillary B Strackbein, Judge
  • David Smith, State Attorney and Prosecutor
  • John F. Cocheo, Defense Attorney
  • Scott Fain, Principal of Kelly Middle School
  • Mathew Napp, 7th grade English teacher, Kelly Middle School
  • Jennybeth Whitaker, sign language interpreter
  • Robert Hartz, Information Services Manager, Norwich, CT public schools
  • Michael Belair, Sergeant, Norwich Police Department
  • Mark Lounsbury, Detective, Norwich Police Department
  • Various minor children present in the class on October 19, 2004 (names redacted)
  • Wilson Herbert Horner, Defense expert
  • Julie Amero, defendant
  • Merja Lehtinen, substitute teacher at Kelly Middle School
  • Adriene Amero – Marshall, sister of Julie Amero




The file trial transcript.pdf with an index of the testimony and the Technical Review. Focus on the following parts of the trial testimony most relevant to the questions:


  • Plea of Defendant and Jury Instructions
  • Testimony of Robert Hartz
  • Testimony and Rebuttal Testimony of Mark Lounsbury
  • Testimony of Herb Horner
  • Testimony of Julie Amero
  • Closing arguments of Prosecution and Defense
  • Instructions to the Jury by the Judge
  • Verdict




1.  Focusing on the portions of the transcript/testimonies noted in C., please describe the witnesses’ testimony that were most damaging to the defendant and resulted in her conviction.


2.  Read the Technical Review of the Trial Testimony by Dr. Dardick, et. al., and discuss a) the digital forensics flaws in how the prosecution addressed the physical evidence and the environment (see introduction), b) the specific areas of trial testimony that were erroneous or even false, and c) observations on Julie Amero as a witness.


3.  What are your recommendations, relative to Dauber/Frye challenges to expert witnesses, in order to prevent the conviction of defendants that had no intent to commit a felony?



[1] Based on an article in Computerworld, November 30, 2008, “How spyware nearly sent a teacher to prison,” by Robert McMillian.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

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  1. Tutorial # 00818602 Posted By: shortone Posted on: 04/28/2022 08:38 PM
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