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Lawyers to Judge: Hans Reiser May Be 'Mentally Incompetent'

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Lawyers for Hans Reiser claim the Linux developer convicted of murdering his wife may be "mentally incompetent," an argument that, if successful, could send Reiser to a mental institution instead of prison.

In a court filing Tuesday, defense attorney William DuBois wrote Alameda County Superior Court Judge Larry Goodman "that in my carefully considered opinion, defendant Hans Reiser may be mentally incompetent as a result of a mental disorder or developmental disability."

The filing came about a week ahead of a scheduled July 9 sentencing date, in which Judge Goodman was expected to sentence the 44-year-old developer of the ReiserFS file system to a 25-to-life term for killing his wife in 2006. The filing is expected to scuttle that sentencing date.

The filing also means that Reiser does not intend to lead authorities to the whereabouts of his wife's body in exchange for a reduced term -- a potential deal both sides were discussing last month.

DuBois declined comment. Reiser's prosecutor, Paul Hora, did not return phone messages.

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