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Lori Drew Trial Results In 3 Misdemeanor Convictions 568

Posted by timothy
from the justice-or-not dept.
grassy_knoll writes "As a follow up to an earlier story, the Lori Drew 'cyber-bullying' trial has resulted in misdemeanor convictions." grassy_knoll quotes from the AP story as carried by Salon: "The Los Angeles federal court jury on Wednesday rejected felony charges of accessing a computer without authorization to inflict emotional distress on young Megan Meier. However, the jury found defendant Lori Drew guilty of three counts of the lesser offense of accessing a computer without authorization. The jurors could not reach a verdict on a conspiracy count. Prosecutors said Drew violated the MySpace terms of service by conspiring with her young daughter and a business assistant to create a fictitious profile of a teen boy on the MySpace social networking site to harass Megan. Megan, who had been treated for depression, hanged herself in 2006 after receiving a message saying the world would be better without her." Adds reader gillbates: "She now faces up to 3 years in jail and $300,000 in fines — a troubling precedent for anyone who has ever registered with a website under a pseudonym."
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Lori Drew Trial Results In 3 Misdemeanor Convictions

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  • Shit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bluefoxlucid (723572) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @05:13PM (#25903267) Journal
    She's an asshole though.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Windows_NT (1353809)
      Yea she is. Although im sure she wouldn't have done it if she knew what would happen, there are consequences. This story is kind of a nightmare for anyone, because im sure everyone here has harrased someone to a point where they might have felt bad about it. Picking on someone in class, or always giving shit to the person you dont like. Its too bad that happened, but for me, if reminds me just how much words can hurt someone. Make me think a little bit next time a give a death threat to the guy at McDonalds
      • Re:Shit (Score:5, Funny)

        by Nursie (632944) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @05:23PM (#25903409)

        Oh YOU'RE the extra pickles guy.

        I always get your damn burger after I've ordered no pickles. Dammit.

      • Re:Shit (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @05:42PM (#25903601)

        Herein lies the problem with the American way of life. If someone is an asshole to you they KNOW that you cant reach over and smack them in the face.

        It's why these jerks on the highways and roads, tailgaite you, cut you off, and generally put your life in danger for their convenience. If they knew that I would stop my car and kick their ass, they would not do it.

        Honestly a lot of people in his world need to be smacked in the head, all the way to having the ever living crap beat out of them. If that happened more and Judges had 1/4 a brain and said," you deserved to be smacked.. you cover all court costs and his costs as well." Then the world would be far more polite and less jerkwad filled.

        Yes that applies to cops too.. if a cop is an asshole, we deserve to be able to wait for him after work and kick his ass.

        • Re:Shit (Score:5, Funny)

          by onkelonkel (560274) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @06:07PM (#25903847)
          Well, in Texas, don't they have enshrined in their legal system the doctrine of "He done needed killin"
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            There is a "fighting words" [wikipedia.org] clause in the US. Though, I was thinking Texas had something that if you used fighting words, you had the "right" to deck the guy saying them without having to prove any kind of self defense for punching him in the nose.

          • Well, in Texas, don't they have enshrined in their legal system the doctrine of "He done needed killin"

            That's been unavailable as a defense for probably more than 100 years.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by morari (1080535)

          "Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing."

          --"The Tower of the Elephant", Robert E. Howard

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by six11 (579)

          If I could mod you up (and if you weren't at +5 to me) I'd give you points. People have no disincentive for anti-social behavior because we've let our legal system castrate us.

          This topic always makes me recall how Buzz Aldrin was confronted by a moon landing denier, and Buzz jacked him [youtube.com]. Personally I think the world would be much more pleasant if there was a legal basis for bloodying the nose of somebody who desperately needs it.

      • Re:Shit (Score:5, Informative)

        by myth_of_sisyphus (818378) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @09:25PM (#25905375)

        Hell, I'm an alcoholic and drank heavily throughout my twenties. (And worked at various dot-coms in the good-old days. Was fired from a couple less liberal environments for showing up drunk in the morning. (I'm reminded of Lionel Hutz, who offers Marge a drink and pulls out a bottle. She says "It's 9am!" And he says "That's all right, I haven't slept for days." That was me.))

        Anyways, I was a complete dick. I said really hurtful things to people. Sometimes people come up to me and say "hey, remember when you said 'blah blah blah' to George?" No. I really don't. I'm an alcoholic.

        If you could be convicted for being a complete and utter asshole IRL, I would be in jail right now. Serving out a sentence for things I don't even remember doing.

        (I quit drinking 4 years ago and am doing much better thank you.)

      • Re:Shit (Score:5, Insightful)

        by phulegart (997083) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @10:13PM (#25905605)

        Wow... what a way to justify your own inappropriate actions... to throw out a blanket policy that Everyone has harassed someone to the point of regretting it, just so you feel better about the times that YOU did it in the past.

        So, how does it feel to be wrong? I mean, you are sure that everyone here has harassed someone to a point where they might have felt bad about it. I've never done that. I know others that have never done that. This makes you wrong. Don't even bother to argue that... you said everyone. I'm part of that Everyone, and I'm here. Some of us actually take responsibility for our actions, and the words that come out of our mouths. Some of us think about what we say before we say it, and if we say biting things, we mean to be biting. I understand that this is a foreign concept to you. Don't argue that it's not a foreign concept to you either. You've already proven that you need to be reminded how much words can hurt someone. That means you forget how much words can hurt people. That means you don't always think about what you say. That means that you don't take responsibility for what you say. That means the concept of ALWAYS thinking before you speak and ALWAYS taking responsibility for your words and actions is a foreign concept.

        Lori Drew knew full well what she was doing was malicious. She just thought nothing was wrong with what she was doing. She thought her actions were correct for HER and her life. She just did not put any real thought to what she was doing. She enjoyed being mean to that child, and she enjoyed making that child's life hell. Then she applied her own twisted morality to it, and thought, "Aww, what a baby... can't take the heat."

        Well, this woman got off light. I say an Eye for an Eye. I say that if you want to teach people to take responsibility, you must show them that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated. Execute her. I don't really care if people think that is absurd or too harsh. If people do not fear and respect the consequences, they will continue to behave badly. Lori Drew's punishment should be so harsh that she not only never EVER wants to act that way again, but that she should spend her remaining life making amends... considering her actions already cost someone else (someone who was not fully developed enough to realize their potential and understand life) her life. Lori Drew's life should be forfeit. Ok. Maybe not Executed. Maybe a lifetime of public service helping kids with self-esteem issues.

    • Re:Shit (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cayenne8 (626475) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @05:41PM (#25903591) Homepage Journal
      "She's an asshole though."

      Well, but, that is not against the law...if it were, well, the prisons would be bursting at the seams even moreso than they do now..

      I hope this gets tossed out on appeal. While what she did was reprehensible, this sets a dangerous precedent. You can get a misdemeanor conviction with jail time and heft fine just for joining something like myspace under false name, etc?

      Even if you think she is a bitch and should get some punishment for what she did....I'd hope you would not like to have a precedent of this type of conviction that could be used against someone doing something as innocuous as joining a website under a false name....

      • Re:Shit (Score:4, Insightful)

        by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@NosPAm.gmail.com> on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @06:09PM (#25903877) Homepage Journal

        "She's an asshole though."
        Well, but, that is not against the law...

        No, but fraud and harassment are. And this sounds like a pretty clear case of using a pseudonym in a fraudulent manner in order to harass an individual. I for one do NOT hope that the judgment is vacated.

        • Re:Shit (Score:5, Informative)

          by cayenne8 (626475) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @06:21PM (#25904015) Homepage Journal
          "No, but fraud and harassment are."

          As I said before...trouble is, she wasn't convicted of this really. She was convicted of basically breaking the myspace EULA. She wasn't convicted of harassment...

          • Re:Shit (Score:4, Insightful)

            by negRo_slim (636783) <mils_oRgen@hotmail.com> on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @06:26PM (#25904069)

            "No, but fraud and harassment are."

            As I said before...trouble is, she wasn't convicted of this really. She was convicted of basically breaking the myspace EULA. She wasn't convicted of harassment...

            I feel you, and I hold out hope for the appeal but even if that never comes you can still take some small consolation in knowing the authorities won't be on this like white on rice. What I'm saying is the state needed to punish her, so the state found a way. It was about her, not about using a false name. It's similar to marijuana tax stamp laws currently enacted in a multitude of states. They are going to get you on something if they want to.

            • Re:Shit (Score:5, Insightful)

              by liquidsin (398151) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @06:59PM (#25904385) Homepage

              personally, i won't be taking any consolation in knowing that a precedent was set that gives authorities in the U.S. more leeway in harassing the innocent. if the state "needed to punish her" then they "needed" to make a valid case on harassment charges. aside from online banking, i'm not sure that i've *ever* signed up at a website with my real personal info, and i'm sure i'm not the only one. the idea of being on the hook for a year in prison and a hundred g's for each such instance makes me real glad i don't live in the U.S.

            • Re:Shit (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Fulcrum of Evil (560260) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @07:20PM (#25904565)

              What I'm saying is the state needed to punish her, so the state found a way. It was about her, not about using a false name.

              And the fallout from that misguided deed will be far worse than what was gained today.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

              It's similar to marijuana tax stamp laws currently enacted in a multitude of states.

              No, it is similar to civil-forfeiture laws that were used to punish people they couldn't otherwise convict but then turned into a free-for-all where grandmothers lost their houses because a grand-kid stayed with them and smoke a couple of joints while he was there.

      • Re:Shit (Score:4, Insightful)

        by JimDaGeek (983925) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @06:13PM (#25903921)
        I agree with you for the most part. However, this case had A LOT OF EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE attached to it.

        Also, she didn't "innocuously" join a website under a false name. She did it for one purpose. To harass and bring emotional damage to a child, an emotionally unstable child at that.

        I also blame the parents of Megan for even letting her get on anti-depressants at such a young age. Those meds are harsh and should be only used under the care of a very, very good psychiatrist, note that I did NOT say psychologist. Huge, huge difference. I noticed a trend where a lot of non-medically trained psychologist are making recommendations about MEDICATIONS to their clients (they call them patients). This is very scary. Only a MEDICAL doctor should make those calls. Yet parents hear crap like ADD or ADHD from just a psychologist and run to their primary care doctor and tell him/her and bam the child is on very harsh drugs that DO have long-term effects and have been shown to cause suicidal thoughts. SSRI's [fda.gov].

        Hell, I am only 35, I was never drugged out by my parents for "mood swings" or my "lack of attention". I spent most of my time in high school with a boner and looking out the window. I turned out OK and with a good career.

        "Modern" parents, stop, stop, stop, drugging your kids because they don't fit into some model mold you created in your head. They are freaking kids for crying out loud.

        Would Megan still be alive if she never took SSRI's? No one could say that. However, I personally believe she would.

        Should we make this skank mother pay for what she did to Megan? No. She didn't break any laws, so let's not create new ones just for this waste of life.

        I personally don't want to have to worry about criminal charges because I didn't adhere to some big corps. EULA. Jeez.
        • Re:Shit (Score:5, Funny)

          by raehl (609729) <raehl311@y a h oo.com> on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @06:24PM (#25904047) Homepage

          I spent most of my time in high school with a boner and looking out the window.

          Vegetation fetish, eh?

        • Re:Shit (Score:5, Insightful)

          by v3lut (123906) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @06:47PM (#25904285) Homepage

          Are you familiar enough with Megan's medical history, her treatment history, her symptoms and her prescribed medications and dosages to speak intelligently about them with the treating physician? If so, then you should write a paper, or at least an article on the subject.

          However, if you are basing your statements off the fact that antidepressants are carelessly over-prescribed in some cases, and completely unnecessary in other cases, without knowing for fact that this was actually the case in Megan's case, then I postulate that you don't actually know enough about what was going on to blame the parents for anything.

          What happened here was pretty messed up. I don't know exactly where I fall in all this, legally speaking. Morally speaking, I'm pretty clear on the subject. But to blame Megan's parents for letting her be prescribed antidepressants, without being able to speak in depth about what was being treated, how and by whom, is pretty weak. Being a parent is hard enough as it is.

          • Re:Shit (Score:5, Insightful)

            by rtechie (244489) * on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @10:34PM (#25905731)

            However, if you are basing your statements off the fact that antidepressants are carelessly over-prescribed in some cases, and completely unnecessary in other cases, without knowing for fact that this was actually the case in Megan's case, then I postulate that you don't actually know enough about what was going on to blame the parents for anything.

            No. His statement was a lot more profound. He was questioning the wisdom of EVER perscribing powerful psychotropic drugs to teenagers who are acting normally (depression, violent behavior, and suicide attempts are normal for teenagers) given their brains are not yet fully developed.

            Many people do not realize that not only were most antidepressants not tested on teenagers, but many of them weren't even tested for depression. They were developed to treat other, more severe, mental issues and depression is an off-label use. Many people are stunned to hear that drugs like Paxil and Zoloft were not clinically tested for depression. And there is a huge difference between clinical depression (crying uncontrollably 24/7) and the very mild depression these drugs are generally prescribed to treat. They only tested them on people with serious depression.

            This is not to say long term studies haven't been done. A few have (you can count them on the fingers of one hand, I think there's 4 now). And the results aren't promising. Most importantly, they tend to show that taking antidepressansts does not have to seem have much of a positive impact on behavior when compared to doing nothing.

            I think associating SSRIs with suicide as a side effect is a bit of a red herring. I think the bigger problem is that parents have a child with serious depression, pump them up with drugs, and consider that "doing something" instead of dealing with actual issues. Like the fact that you're a lousy parent.

        • Re:Shit (Score:5, Insightful)

          by sjames (1099) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @07:17PM (#25904535) Homepage

          Also, she didn't "innocuously" join a website under a false name. She did it for one purpose. To harass and bring emotional damage to a child, an emotionally unstable child at that.

          Since technically suicide is a criminal act and this grown woman contributed to it, couldn't they go for contributing to the delinquency of a minor instead?

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by nbetcher (973062)
          Please mod-down the parent: the post is neatly written, but quite obviously opinionated FUD.

          I also blame the parents of Megan for even letting her get on anti-depressants at such a young age.

          Actually there was never any true-and-lasting contraindication for anti-depressants in teenagers. There was a period of scare, but people soon found out that adults had the same problem too. Typically this results from lack of compliance to the anti-depressant and then having rebound depression.

          Those meds are harsh

          In my experience having worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 8 years every patient reacts to every medication diff

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

          I agree with you for the most part. However, this case had A LOT OF EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE attached to it.

          Kind of like the PATRIOT acts.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by CdBee (742846)
        What she did isnt just bitchinesss. What she did, with malice intended, ended a human life. She deserves jail. a LOT of jail.
    • Re:Shit (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lysergic.acid (845423) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @05:46PM (#25903643) Homepage

      Adds reader gillbates: "She now faces up to 3 years in jail and $300,000 in fines -- a troubling precedent for anyone who has ever registered with a website under a pseudonym."

      how so? i register on websites with pseudonyms all the time. this does not trouble me at all (other than the fact a grown woman would conspire with her daughter to bully a neighbor's kid, especially a young girl with emotional problems).

      the problem isn't with the interpretation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in this particular case. the problem is with the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act [wikipedia.org] itself. this incident actually resulted in the death of a girl and was motivated by deliberate malice. a maximum (which are rarely handed out to members of privileged social groups) of 3 years in jail and $300,000 doesn't seem any more ridiculous than handing out such punishments to well-intending security experts [cnet.com].

      i would be more disturbed by the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act being applied to non-malicious teenage hackers breaking into un-secured government networks out of curiosity. if they can be faulted for "damages" that include the time spent investigating the intrusion and fixing the pre-existing security flaws, then certainly a grown woman can be punished for causing the death of a little girl.

      in any case, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act needs major reforms, and perhaps making such ridiculous laws applicable to the general population will open people's eyes.

  • by butterflysrage (1066514) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @05:13PM (#25903273)

    if you sign up under a pseudonym... don't kill anyone.

    (and before everyone screams at me, yes I understand just how badly this precedent can be used)

  • Say what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Taibhsear (1286214) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @05:14PM (#25903281)

    a troubling precedent for anyone who has ever registered with a website under a pseudonym.

    This has nothing to do with registering under a pseudonym. This has to do with psychological stalking and trauma. Please pull your head out of your ass. I'm sure it's hard to breathe up there.

    • Re:Say what? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 91degrees (207121) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @05:20PM (#25903365) Journal
      No. It was about the charge as written.

      If she was guilty of psychological stalking (which she was) she should have been charged with stalking. This is a clear misapplication of the law.
    • Re:Say what? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by thermian (1267986) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @05:23PM (#25903411)

      a troubling precedent for anyone who has ever registered with a website under a pseudonym.

      This has nothing to do with registering under a pseudonym. This has to do with psychological stalking and trauma. Please pull your head out of your ass. I'm sure it's hard to breathe up there.

      The take home is, victimizing someone is bad. That it happened via the internet means they've had to fudge things up a bit, but I don't think this means flaming someone on a website means the cops will come-a-calling.

      In this instance the woman was clearly a nasty piece of work, so I'm glad they found a way to punish her. I would not expect someone posting nastiness here would get into trouble with anyone except the mods.

      I think some people make the mistake of assuming that things done on the internet which would result in fines or punishment in the real world are somehow 'freedoms that need defending' on the web. I'm not one of those people.

      I don't mind argument, rudeness, flaming, or anything like that, I mean, that I just accept as background noise, but this incident went way beyond anything like of that nature.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Yahma (1004476)

        The take home is, victimizing someone is bad. That it happened via the internet means they've had to fudge things up a bit, but I don't think this means flaming someone on a website means the cops will come-a-calling.

        In this instance the woman was clearly a nasty piece of work, so I'm glad they found a way to punish her. I would not expect someone posting nastiness here would get into trouble with anyone except the mods.

        I think some people make the mistake of assuming that things done on the internet which would result in fines or punishment in the real world are somehow 'freedoms that need defending' on the web. I'm not one of those people.

        I don't mind argument, rudeness, flaming, or anything like that, I mean, that I just accept as background noise, but this incident went way beyond anything like of that nature.

        That means if anyone registers on MySpace or Slashdot, for that matter, with false information and flames you. And if you later commit suicide, that person who flamed you could be charged with a crime. The precedent is set, these cases will be much easier to prosecute in the future.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ArsenneLupin (766289)

        I think some people make the mistake of assuming that things done on the internet which would result in fines or punishment in the real world are somehow 'freedoms that need defending' on the web. I'm not one of those people.

        Well, in this case, the only way they could nail her was because she used the internet. If she had harassed the girl in a way that didn't involve a computer, they wouldn't have been able to use the "unauthorized access to a computer" angle at all. So really, this went exactly the other way round than you think it went: not more "freedom" on the internet, but less.

        And it's not about "freedoms that need defending", but rather about due process or "state of law" (Rechsstaat [wikipedia.org]). In a democracy, you condemn peopl

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jcr (53032)

      The issue here is that she was probably charged under the wrong statute. I think any jury could have justly convicted her as an accessory to murder, at least. If you lie to someone and convince them to off themselves by doing so, there's got to be an existing charge that doesn't depend on whether a computer was involved in the process.

      -jcr

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by _Sprocket_ (42527)

      This has nothing to do with registering under a pseudonym. This has to do with psychological stalking and trauma. Please pull your head out of your ass. I'm sure it's hard to breathe up there.

      This is sort of an interesting part of the case. I had first thought you were completely wrong on this point. But it turns out, I misled myself.

      My initial reaction is that this isn't a murder case. In fact, there was even contention whether the girl's suicide should even be mentioned in the case. The judge eventually allowed it despite the Defense's protests. Defense attorney H. Dean Steward even called the girl's mother's testimony about the girl and her suicide "totally improper in a computer fraud c

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      According to the outcome of this case, violating a web site's terms of service is a crime, not just a contract issue.

      The MySpace Terms of Service [myspace.com] prohibit harassing other users. They also require accurate contact information.

      If a website operator can put you in jail for TOS violations as opposed to just closing your account, then as long as they can get a prosecutor to play along, they can put you in jail for signing up with bogus information.

      >This has to do with psychological stalking and trauma. Please

  • Somewhat fitting. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MMC Monster (602931) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @05:15PM (#25903301)

    I don't think that putting her away for life is appropriate, let alone the death penalty.

    That being said, I also don't like the idea of an adult conspiring to harass an emotionally unstable child (aren't they all).

    This is a good decision, so long as it is upheld. 300K fine and a (relatively) short jail term is enough to ruin a life for anyone not upper class, and will likely act as a deterrent to others that think that conspiring to harass someone online is just fun and games.

    Now mod me to oblivion.

  • by BobMcD (601576) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @05:17PM (#25903331)

    "She now faces up to 3 years in jail and $300,000 in fines - a troubling precedent for anyone who has ever registered with a website under a pseudonym."

    I'm not actually troubled much by this at all. This is what happens to someone who falsifies their information to use an online service TO A BAD END.

    That's actually a good precedent.

    Can it be warped? Sure, but so can everything else. I personally feel that three misdemeanor convictions are a PERFECT fit for what happened, and would like to see similar charges brought against future 'cyber bullies' going forward with similar results. The penalties sound a bit harsh, but I'm sure they will be whittled to 90 days in a white-collar work camp, just as they were for the 'Spam King'.

    • by jo_ham (604554) <joham999 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @05:28PM (#25903457)

      Indeed, there's going to be a lot of outrage that she wasn't convicted of more serious offences, but there's a limited scope to what can be done to her.

      If you make it too severe, then in similar cases where the defendant is totally innocent, you're going to have problems.

      This is much like the attempt to reclassify downloading music and movies as a felony. Is it against the law? Yes. Is it a crime equal to grand theft auto or murder? No.

      What this woman did was cowardly, stupid, abhorrent and vindictive, and almost certainly led the young girl to kill herself due to being bullied and psychologically manipulated by a grown (physically) but immature (mentally) woman who should really know better.

      There is possibly a case for manslaughter, but in that case, you'd likely have to prove that the nasty cunt set out to kill Megan, instead of just set out to bully her, and you run the risk of her being acquitted.

      Perhaps one day she'll feel guilty for killing a child, but the law and justice system just isn't set up to put her away for that, at least not without endangering the system itself.

    • by pauljlucas (529435) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @05:30PM (#25903483) Homepage Journal

      This is what happens to someone who falsifies their information to use an online service TO A BAD END.

      What if it were a real teenaged boy who used his real name and information and he harassed the girl and drove her to suicide? To me, the falsification of information seems irrelevant.

      • by raehl (609729) <raehl311@y a h oo.com> on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @06:32PM (#25904135) Homepage

        An adult harassing a child is not the same as a child harassing a child. Adults should know better.

        • by pauljlucas (529435) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @06:38PM (#25904199) Homepage Journal

          An adult harassing a child is not the same as a child harassing a child. Adults should know better.

          Sure, but that's got nothing to do with my point which was in response to BobMcD's point of making a big deal out of the fact that the information was falsified. OK, so what if Lori had used her real name and information? The fact that she drove a girl to suicide is the problem. The fact that she used false information is, again, irrelevant.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Chuck Chunder (21021)

        What if it were a real teenaged boy who used his real name and information and he harassed the girl and drove her to suicide? To me, the falsification of information seems irrelevant.

        I don't think it's completely irrelevant.

        If it were a real boy who really felt that way then his motivation may be expressing his feelings rather than (just) hurting the girl. It's not pretty but telling someone you don't like them anymore is something a lot of people would have done at one time or another.

        With an invented boy

    • by IronChef (164482) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @05:39PM (#25903577) Homepage

      I'm not actually troubled much by this at all. This is what happens to someone who falsifies their information to use an online service TO A BAD END.

      Thank goodness it's the government who will decide what a "bad end" means!

  • by TheNecromancer (179644) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @05:19PM (#25903351)

    is that Ashley Grills, who wrote the actual message about the world being better off without Megan Meier, had immunity protection from being prosecuted, for testifying against Lori Drew! This woman is just as evil as Lori Drew, and should be punished as well!

  • Precedent (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Detritus (11846) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @05:22PM (#25903393) Homepage
    Owning a crowbar is not a crime. Using it to bash in the skull of your neighbor is a major felony. Likewise, it isn't illegal to have a pseudonym.
  • by Doug52392 (1094585) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @05:29PM (#25903467)
    By launching criminal charges against anyone who posts on 4chan's /b/ board for using the pseudonym "Anonymous" on their posts, and sending us all to jail?
  • by Thaelon (250687) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @05:35PM (#25903535)

    While Megan's death is tragic, I cannot approve of this abuse of the justice system being twisted just to find something, anything, to nail Lori Drew with. It sets dangerous precedents in an already fucked-up-beyond-repair system.

    Certainly Drew deserved punishment, but if everybody using the internet was punished for causing emotional distress over the internet, we'd all be in jail. Keep in mind that that is all she did. She didn't go kill the girl with her bare hands.

    I think a public beating would be more appropriate and cheaper to society as a whole. Give the bitch a few emotional and physical scars of her own to remind her that shit like this will not be tolerated. But computer crimes? Seriously, what the fuck?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Arancaytar (966377)

      we'd all be in jail

      Not really. Many people on /b/ maybe. Would that be bad? The concept of free speech derives from the idea that anything is allowed unless it harms people. The ancient "shouting fire in a crowded theatre" analogy is exactly on the spot. Sure, *you* didn't hang the suicidal girl, but then *you* didn't trample all those people who died in the stampede. Free speech should protect us when we criticize powerful people. It shouldn't mean we get to be assholes.

      I can understand you are torn betwee

  • The biggest WTF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kjella (173770) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @05:37PM (#25903565) Homepage

    ...to me is that it seems the only thing she was really convicted of was "accessing a computer without authorization". Does that mean that if we talked over IRC or some P2P chat or sent an e-mail or whatever where you didn't explicitly agree to a ToS regarding the service, that this would be completely legal? Because if that's the case, it's an absurd penalty for breaking a ToS and pretty wierd that there's no other law to deal with somebody harassing a kid to death. Or maybe I'm completely misreading this?

  • by voss (52565) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @06:04PM (#25903805)

    "In a majority of jurisdictions, however, the offense is committed when death occurs during the commission or attempted commission of a misdemeanor."

    Works for me

    Personally I would have thought the adult womans malicious acts of emotional abuse on a child would have constituted reckless endangerment then they could have gone for felony murder.

  • Makes no sense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Carrot007 (37198) <Carrot007NO@SPAMthewibblereport.co.uk> on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @06:18PM (#25903967) Homepage

    Am I the only one who cannot understand why they went this stupid direction rather than processing using a relevent law. (Yes I know they said they they could not find any law applicable...)

    To me this seems just as bad as when some companyt slaps "on the internet" onto some existing thing and try to patent it/otherwise claim control over it.

    Surely mental torture is covered by an existing law. "On the internet" is neither here nor there.

    Maybe it's just me but I'm sick of this "on the internet" bollocks.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DragonWriter (970822)

      Am I the only one who cannot understand why they went this stupid direction rather than processing using a relevent law.

      This is a relevant law.

      To me this seems just as bad as when some companyt slaps "on the internet" onto some existing thing and try to patent it/otherwise claim control over it.

      If this was a physical site, violating the license which allowed one to be premise for the purpose of harming another would be civil, and potentially criminal, trespass. On the internet, and you are violating a diffe

  • by Pinckney (1098477) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @06:18PM (#25903975)
    The conspiracy charge resulted in a mistrial [nytimes.com], and I believe she may still be prosecuted for that on top of what she has already been convicted of.
  • Scaremongering (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DragonWriter (970822) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @06:18PM (#25903977)

    Adds reader gillbates: "She now faces up to 3 years in jail and $300,000 in fines -- a troubling precedent for anyone who has ever registered with a website under a pseudonym."

    Gillbates is just scaremongering.

    She wasn't convicted of "registering for a website under a pseudonym", she was convicted for accessing the system without authorization (that is, in violation of the terms which gave her the right to use the system) by providing false information, and for using the service to solicit personal information from a minor and to harras or harm other people, all of which are expressly forbidden by the terms of service.

    People who register under pseudonyms on sites that do not expressly prohibit such registrations have nothing to fear here.

  • this is ridiculous (Score:3, Insightful)

    by moxley (895517) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @06:46PM (#25904269)

    #1. What Lori Drew did was reprehensible and disgusting, but not illegal.

    #2. She is not responsible for Megan's suicide in any way shape or form any more than you'd be responsible for my suicide if you told me to "fuck off and die" because you don't like this post.

    #3. Using dubious interpretations of the legal system to persecute those who some feel have violated the social compact or acted outside of the bounds of what we consider to be normal decent behavior, yet who haven't violated a law is not only wrong, it's extremely dangerous and undermines everything that this country is supposed to stand for.

    #4. Some people need to come off of it - your need to feel some sort of vindication by seeing that this woman is punished does not outweigh the damage done by this ruling to the rest of our rights. I am sure she is suffering for this, and I am sure she didn't really think that this girl would kill herself. Even if she did, that isn't a crime. People are responsible for their own actions - the world is a mean place, and if you're looking for someone to blame foir her suicide it makes more sense to blame her parents (though I don't think they are to blame either - depression is a bitch).

  • by TRRosen (720617) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @07:24PM (#25904607)

    This is not about using a fake name to sign on to a web site! such actions do not fall under this law!

    This is about providing False information to access a computer (Which really is all that hacking is) with the intent to cause harm or damage. The are TWO clear elements of this crime

    1-unauthorized access

    2-intent to inflict harm.

    you must do both to be guilty and the jury decided she did (correctly in my opinion)

  • for trying to seduce a minor under an alias.

    Why do men who do that get felony convictions but women like Lori Drew who do it get a slap on the wrist and misdemeanor charges instead of being a convicted sex offender? She solicited the girl for sex and then told her the world would be better off without her and caused her to hang herself.

    The average Internet troll does not seduce the victim for sex, but rather does personal attacks on them instead.

    Only Kuro5hin and other shitty web sites do the "Shotgun mouthwash now!" troll. Some victims fall for that troll and kill themselves, is that the same as what Lori Drew did?

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