[ISN] eBay hacker trashes bail with caps-lock defence

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Wed Mar 20 2002 - 01:21:45 PST

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    By Kevin Poulsen
    Posted: 19/03/2002 at 05:18 GMT
    Accused eBay hacker Jerome Heckenkamp is back behind bars tonight,
    after his first solo court appearance in front of his trial judge took
    an odd turn.
    During what was to be a routine proceeding to set future court dates,
    Heckenkamp challenged the indictment against him on the grounds that
    it spells his name, Jerome T. Heckenkamp, in all capital letters,
    while he spells it with the first letter capitalized, and subsequent
    letters in lower case.
    Last week, Heckenkamp, 22, fired attorney Jennifer Granick, and
    co-counsel Marjorie Allard, in order to personally defend himself
    against two federal grand jury indictments charging that he cracked
    computers at eBay, Lycos, Exodus Communications, and other companies
    in 1999. It was the second time Heckenkamp fired his lawyers -- in
    January, he had a federal magistrate appoint him as his own counsel,
    only to change his mind the same day.
    At Monday's appearance, Judge James Ware seemed initially perplexed by
    Heckenkamp's challenge, and spent some time explaining the nature of
    the proceedings. Finally, he advised Heckenkamp to take it up in front
    of a jury when he goes to trial. "I cannot help but comment that you
    have substituted out a capable attorney," the judge added.
    Heckenkamp went on to demand that he be immediately allowed to take
    the stand and testify, and was again rebuffed by Ware, who noted that
    the appearance was not a hearing or a trial.
    The computer whiz then asked the court to identify the plaintiff in
    the case. Ware explained that the United States was the plaintiff, and
    was represented by assistant U.S. attorney Ross Nadel. Heckenkamp said
    he wanted to subpoena Nadel's "client" to appear in court, and Ware
    asked him who, exactly, he wanted to bring into the courtroom.
    When Heckenkamp replied, "The United States of America," Ware ordered
    him taken into custody.
    "The comments that you are making to the court lead me to suspect that
    either you are playing games with the court, or you're experiencing a
    serious lack of judgment," said Ware. The judge added that he was no
    longer satisfied that Heckenkamp would make his future court
    Heckenkamp had been free on $50,000 bail, and living under electronic
    monitoring -- prohibited by court order from using cell phones, the
    Internet, computers, video games and fax machines.
    Before two deputy U.S. marshals hauled Heckenkamp away, he threatened
    legal action against the judge. "I will hold you personally liable,"  
    he said. "I will seek damages for every hour that I'm in custody."
    In a telephone interview after the appearance, Heckenkamp's father,
    Thomas Heckenkamp, said his son is only trying to protect his rights .  
    "They've overstepped their bounds, and they're keeping him from
    defending himself," he said.
    Heckenkamp's next court appearance in San Jose is scheduled for April
    8th. Trial in a related case in San Diego is set for April 23rd.
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