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Palin's E-Mail Hacker Imprisoned Against Judge's Wishes 502

Posted by Soulskill
from the grizzly-justice dept.
Em Adespoton writes "It was a computer security story that made headlines around the world, involving the private emails of a woman who could have become Vice President of the United States. And now, it's ended with a young man sent to a federal prison, hundreds of miles from his family home. David C Kernell, the hacker who broke into Sarah Palin's personal Yahoo email account, is reported to have been sent to jail despite a judge's recommendation that he should not be put behind bars."
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Palin's E-Mail Hacker Imprisoned Against Judge's Wishes

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  • Too fucking bad.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by intellitech (1912116) * on Friday January 14, 2011 @10:09AM (#34877634)

    "That is not the situation that his friends and family were hoping for, however."

    No offense, but too fucking bad. Considering the state of our legal system, the guy was lucky to not get boned for the full four crimes he was initially charged with (which would have been a lot longer than just a year, by the way). He committed a crime, one that I personally feel has far-reaching effects as one's e-mail inbox should be considered fairly private. Yes, it was Sarah Palin, and I can't stand her either. Doesn't mean that this guy shouldn't be held accountable for his actions.

    "The US Bureau of Prisons, however, has decided to make Mr Kernell serve out his term in the low-security prison camp nearly 300 miles from his home in Knoxville, Tennessee."

    Seriously guys, when you're incarcerated, you don't have a choice which facility you will be housed in. The USBOP is obviously making an example out of this guy, and I can totally understand why. What I don't understand is why this article seems to be doing a lot of crying on behalf of Kernell. Don't commit the crime if you're going to whine all the way to prison. It's that simple.

    • Re:Too fucking bad.. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Pojut (1027544) on Friday January 14, 2011 @10:12AM (#34877670) Homepage

      Pretty much. In this day and age, it surprises the hell out of me that he thought he could get away with something as easily noticeable as hacking a presidential candidates email...unless he knew he wouldn't get away with it, and didn't care.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 14, 2011 @10:40AM (#34878168)

        Pretty much. In this day and age, it surprises the hell out of me that he thought he could get away with something as easily noticeable as hacking a presidential candidates email...unless he knew he wouldn't get away with it, and didn't care.

        Oh, he was dumber than that. He was dumb enough to leave identifying information in the screencap [encycloped...matica.com] (screencap is SFW, some of the ads are NSFW) he took.

        By leaving the URL visible, it didn't matter how many proxies he was behind. There was a clear chain of evidence linking him to The Incident. Unsurprisingly, the Party Van showed up, and the rest is history.

        Anonymous is legion, but on occasion, some Anonymous are very, very stupid. When Anonymous ceases to be anonymous, Anonymous thinks it's pretty funny.

      • It surprises the hell out of me that he thought he could get away with something as easily noticeable as hacking a presidential candidates email.

        Well, I think he would have gotten away with it too if he hadn't gone and posted what he found right away.

        I don't know if Yahoo does this, but Gmail does this thing at the bottom of the page, "Last account activity: 7 hours ago at IP whatever.whatever.whatever.whatever" - And do you think Palin regularily checks something like that?

        If this guy had any brains about him, he could have easily gotten away with the 'hacking' the email account part. Seriously, suppose someone knew the answer to your security ques

        • by Lumpy (12016)

          Yup the man was a retard.

          if you think you can get in, you do it from a public open Wifi point. you drive a city away and go to a starbucks to do it.
          then you sanitize the screencaps. Sanitize them hard.
          Finally you release the info 100% anon. from a different public wifi point.

          If you are going to do this kind of stuff, you need to CYA, this kid did not CYA in any way. In fact from what I remember, he was looking for some notoriety from it. A very dumb thing to do.

          • And hacking into someone's email box, whether Palin's or a Slashdot Slouch like mine's, is a federal offense.

            He shouldn't have been doing "this kind of stuff". This isn't white-hat/grey-hat stuff, this is cracking an account with bad intentions and result.

            I'm amazed that he got a low security prison. Would someone whose father was not a Democratic party functionary have received the same treatment?

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              what is hacking? when is your email 'inbox' private?

              its not so private as you think. if you are at work, your employer has the right (so they say and so they act) to look at your emails (live or on disk) all they want. they can tap your phone, too, at work.

              lets talk about the gov, now. all govs (world wide) want to have the ability to peer into your inbox. probably about half of them already can do this and the US most certainly can (it 'owns' the backbone router points and so it 'owns' the net for all

              • Re:Too fucking bad.. (Score:4, Interesting)

                by postbigbang (761081) on Friday January 14, 2011 @11:57AM (#34879440)

                CIting exceptions doesn't make what he did legal or ethical at all, did it? Was Palin his employer? No. I'm self-employed. I own my own emails. Your circumstances may be different.

                If governments are looking into my email, it's without legal standing. Peon or not, it's still not legal or ethical.

                You may or may not be pattern sniffed; I operate within the construct that my actions are legal, and protected constitutionally. Ethics are real, and sadly absent. Reviving them is a way back to civility and the common good.

            • by geekoid (135745)

              except he wasn't convicted of that. He was convicted of obstruction of justice because he panicked and tried to cover his tracks.

              So his treatment his actually harsher then it would normally be. If you are going to cast suspicions, then it's would be far more likely a supporter of Pail is involved in the placement process and decided this guy should be unduly punished.

    • by m0s3m8n (1335861)
      Right on man (70's lingo). He should be in the slammer just for being stupid enough to try it in the first place. What do you think would happen?
      • Re:Too fucking bad.. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 14, 2011 @10:19AM (#34877780)

        Do you have any idea how expensive it is to keep a person in jail?

        Locking people up because they are stupid is enough to bankrupt any country. A much better punishment for nonviolent crimes would be community service (scaled to fit the gravity of the offense), where there's a net gain for society.

        • by wzinc (612701)

          Wow, that's actually a really good idea. You'd still have to pay guards to keep them working, but w/o housing, you'd save a lot. Another benefit is, say you have them repairing buildings for the city or whatever; you're also teaching them a trade that they can use when they get out of jail. Maybe they'd learn the value of work and go legit. I'm sure there are some downsides, like this might not work for violent criminals, etc.

      • by kalirion (728907)

        ITT stupidity is a crime.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 14, 2011 @10:23AM (#34877878)

        Let me preface this by saying that the guy was an idiot and had absolutely no right to go reading someone else's email. He deserves some form of punishment. The legal system is supposed to be fair and consistent, however, and that does not in any way appear to be the case here. Take a look at a few other crimes [toothpicks.org] which have been treated equally harshly.

        Seriously guys, when you're incarcerated, you don't have a choice which facility you will be housed in.

        Sure you don't get a say, but I find it a little surprising that the judge's recommendation was ignored.

        The USBOP is obviously making an example out of this guy, and I can totally understand why. What I don't understand is why this article seems to be doing a lot of crying on behalf of Kernell. Don't commit the crime if you're going to whine all the way to prison. It's that simple.

        The fact that they are making an example of him seems to reinforce the view that an individual invading the privacy of a political figure is somehow worse than the reversed situation. Sounds like a very bad message to be sending, to me.

        • Re:Too fucking bad.. (Score:4, Informative)

          by Restil (31903) on Friday January 14, 2011 @11:34AM (#34879122) Homepage

          Sure you don't get a say, but I find it a little surprising that the judge's recommendation was ignored.

          It wasn't ignored. However, it's just a recommendation, not a mandate. If the judge didn't want him in prison, he should have probated the sentence.

          -Restil

        • by jollyreaper (513215) on Friday January 14, 2011 @12:38PM (#34880070)

          The fact that they are making an example of him seems to reinforce the view that an individual invading the privacy of a political figure is somehow worse than the reversed situation. Sounds like a very bad message to be sending, to me.

          That's precisely the problem. I doubt I could get the cops to even talk to me if I said someone hacked my account. We have a case of a bad divorce and a guy reading his wife's email getting a felony conviction. I wonder just who her daddy is.

          When justice is not applied equally and fairly, we have a serious problem. Someone steals my car, the cops aren't likely to ever catch him. Someone steals Palin's car, he's probably going to get 20 years in supermax.

    • by zach_the_lizard (1317619) on Friday January 14, 2011 @10:17AM (#34877746)

      Perhaps they feel, as I do, that the punishment is out of proportion with the crime. Should he be punished? Yes, he should; he accessed email without permission. Maybe levy a hefty fine; no one was physically harmed or deprived of property, and he is no danger to society. As such, he doesn't deserve being locked away in a hole with more dangerous individuals.

      • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Friday January 14, 2011 @10:28AM (#34877968) Journal

        This.

        Most people argue that the prison system is to seperate the dangerous individuals from society. This guy is not a danger to society, no one is in danger of getting hurt. Put him on Parole for 2-4 years with community service where all his network access has to be reviewed by a parole officer. Long reaching, annoying punishment, that contributes back to society instead of sapping money.

        • by Temposs (787432) <temposs@gmaGAUSSil.com minus math_god> on Friday January 14, 2011 @11:06AM (#34878682) Homepage

          The reality is that the US prison system is formed around the principle of punishment. If threat isolation was the primary motivation, our prison system would look much different than it does.

          The system we have is descended from the mode of Christian thought that when a sin(crime) is committed, penance.is needed in order to make the person right with God. So, the prison system is set up as a kind of forced penance through societal punishment, This is why we still have the death penalty, too, while most other developed countries do not.

          • Re:Too fucking bad.. (Score:5, Interesting)

            by jahudabudy (714731) on Friday January 14, 2011 @11:59AM (#34879482)
            The reality is that the US prison system is formed around the principle of punishment.

            And profit. Prisons are sub-contracted to private interests, that are paid in part on a per convict basis. There are documented instances of judges being convicted of taking kickbacks to supply more "product" to the prison industry, i.e. prisoners. There are simply some functions in a civilized society that must be stripped of profit motivation in order to insure justice.
          • by zach_the_lizard (1317619) on Friday January 14, 2011 @12:03PM (#34879558)

            I think that it's gone far from some idea of penance. It seems that it's merely about retribution, a model of justice that serves no one.

            I take that back; it does serve a few; the prisons and police get large amounts of taxpayer money, and the prosecutors and politicians get their "tough on crime" bona fides. The rest of us, though, suffer.

          • Re:Too fucking bad.. (Score:5, Informative)

            by Culture20 (968837) on Friday January 14, 2011 @12:14PM (#34879718)

            The system we have is descended from the mode of Christian thought that when a sin(crime) is committed, penance.is needed in order to make the person right with God.

            A more Christian thought regarding penance is "Go, and sin no more." the roman catholic version of penance is not Christian in origin.

      • Re:Too fucking bad.. (Score:5, Informative)

        by Americano (920576) on Friday January 14, 2011 @10:33AM (#34878052)

        He's going to a minimum or low security facility, which is typically almost completely unsecured, and has a focus on work and job programs. We are not talking about "hard time" here. He'll be serving alongside white-collar criminals, not exactly a dangerous bunch.

        From the BOP web site [bop.gov]:

        The Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Ashland is a low security institution housing male inmates with a satellite camp that houses minimum security inmates.

        And since the article calls it low security, but references the prison camp, he might be housed at either the low or min- security facility. Here's a description of the type of facility he's going to [bop.gov]:

        Minimum Security: Minimum security institutions, also known as Federal Prison Camps (FPCs), have dormitory housing, a relatively low staff-to-inmate ratio, and limited or no perimeter fencing. These institutions are work- and program-oriented; and many are located adjacent to larger institutions or on military bases, where inmates help serve the labor needs of the larger institution or base.

        Low Security: Low security Federal Correctional Institutions (FCIs) have double-fenced perimeters, mostly dormitory or cubicle housing, and strong work and program components. The staff-to-inmate ratio in these institutions is higher than in minimum security facilities.

        • ohh, so he's getting tutored by all the fraudulent investment bankers and upper management staff from Enron and the like?
          This kid as a bright future ahead of him then.

          • by Americano (920576)

            His dad's a congressman.

            I'd say his chances of being corrupted by his surroundings are pretty much even.

      • by Sarten-X (1102295)

        no one was physically harmed

        I take it you've never gotten a phone call at 4:00 AM on an "business use only" line saying "you're a worthless sack of shit and I can't wait to see your death on the news". Four days and zero hours of sleep later, there's definitely "physical harm" involved.

        The article only mentions that Palin's family got only "abusive emails and phone calls". There's no mention of threats, but it wouldn't surprise me if there were. That quote above was told to me by someone whose number had been given to a single psychop

      • by rickb928 (945187) on Friday January 14, 2011 @11:28AM (#34879040) Homepage Journal

        "no one was physically harmed or deprived of property, and he is no danger to society."

        Ok, so what in fact DID he do?

        - Violated someone's privacy. This is a harm, and if you think emotional harm is not as intense as physical harm, I encourage you to say that out loud. You are wrong on that count.

        - Oh, and this required the McCain/Aplin campaign to suspend use of email for a short period to reestablish security. How short a time? At the moment, even an hour could have had consequences. How about you giving up your email address and having all of your contacts notified of your new address. Much trouble for you?

        - HIPAA violations carry penalties also. Do we want to start qualifying the nature of the privacy violation? No, you don't want to do that.

        - Remember, his father was active in Democratic Party politics, he disclosed a fair amount of private information, and this was done at the 'height of the 2008 Presidential campaign'. This was not a random act of identity theft. Oh, and he did send stuff to Wikileaks. I'm not blaming Julian for publishing that, that's a separate issue, but Mr. Kennell knew what he waa doing, and it had an impact.

        Oh, and to add to my concern that we are not properly understanding the FBOP decision, the judge recommended that this young man spend his time in a 'halfway house'. Besides the reality that he would have been in a 'halfway house' with 'more dangerous individuals' (a qualitative assessment I'm not qualified to make), that is not the result required by Federal law. The law specifices incarceration, and perhaps FBOP decided that this convict should first serve time in an actual facility, and then qualify for the relaxed status, as other convict have to. Or more succinctly, like any other convict, he does time like they do, special treatment is unwarranted.

        Perhaps the judge should have sentenced him to probation? But that would open the judge to criticism of being improperly lenient, which is he is now getting a full dose of.

        A lot of the responses questioning the DBOP decision seem to be focused on minimizing this young man's crime based on his age, naivete, and *apparent* lack of harm caused. For those of you who forgot, some of the impacts of his actions:

        - 'Abusive' phone calls to most of the Palin family.
        - Disclosure of other email addresses against the wishes of those owners.
        - Disruption of communications with family, friends, co-workers, campaign staff.

        This whining is another case of minimizing a 'soft' crime. Not much different from trying to excuse any number of crimes committed by young individuals, primarily based on their age. Be careful. The next victim could be you. Will you be forgiving based soley on their age?

    • by Amorymeltzer (1213818) on Friday January 14, 2011 @10:18AM (#34877776)

      It's probably because of this:

      BBC News, however, reports [bbc.co.uk] that US government officials have intervened, and Kernell has begun serving time at federal correctional institute in Ashland, Kentucky.

      When most people think of an ideal criminal justice system, they think of judges and juries, not government officials. This system does not seem to be a well-oiled machine:

      The BOP is not bound by judicial recommendations, one legal expert said federal sentencing was often "arbitrary". "The judge can give either incarceration or probation, but if it's incarceration the state gives power to the Bureau of Prisons to determine the nature of incarceration," said Professor Robert Weisberg, director of the criminal justice center at Stanford University in California. "There is not a general or uniform US rule," he added. "There is huge local variation."

      • Re:Too fucking bad.. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Friday January 14, 2011 @10:28AM (#34877982) Journal

        Oh, there's lots of oil.

      • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@gmFREEBSDail.com minus bsd> on Friday January 14, 2011 @11:15AM (#34878836) Homepage

        BBC News, however, reports that US government officials have intervened, and Kernell has begun serving time at federal correctional institute in Ashland, Kentucky.

        When most people think of an ideal criminal justice system, they think of judges and juries, not government officials. This system does not seem to be a well-oiled machine

        Then 'most people' need to get their heads out of clouds and learn a) the difference between an 'ideal' system and one that must function in the real world, and b) how the real systems works. (And it actually does work very well.)
         
        Not to mention the summary and article are vastly misleading - if you read just the summary or the first part of the article, you'll be wrongly outraged. The truth of the matter is, he was sentenced to imprisonment and (drum roll please!) he was duly imprisoned. The judge's recommendations ('wishes') that he spend his time in a half way house have zero legal force or standing. The only 'intervention' by the 'officials' was to obey the (legally binding) result and sentence handed down by the court.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 14, 2011 @10:20AM (#34877808)

      I see it the other way around, for such a crime to deserve a prison sentence it should be much more severe. Guessing someones password to yahoo mail, does not seem like a severe crime to me, if anything Sarah Palin should be schooled on password security and disciplined for sharing sensitive information over yahoo of all things. I work for a bank, and if i had emails on yahoo related to my work and got caught, i would be dismissed, end of story.

      Making examples of people just because they have upset a celebrity figure is barbarian and i'm glad i'm not an American if this sort of thing is acceptable there. Where i come from everyone is equal, a crime against a politician holds the same weight as a crime against your average citizen.

      • by Pojut (1027544)

        i'm glad i'm not an American if this sort of thing is acceptable there.

        Common? Yes. Acceptable? No. Well, at least not for those of us that actually think -_-;;

      • Tying the penalty to how hard something is to do is simply foolish, I could go end somebody's life with a couple pounds of pressure on a trigger, and hacking the private communications of a political candidate is something that can easily subvert the election process. It should carry extremely stiff penalties.

        If Palin was wrong in any illegal way she should be punished also. Two wrongs don't make a right, remember?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by shadowrat (1069614)

        I see it the other way around, for such a crime to deserve a prison sentence it should be much more severe. Guessing someones password to yahoo mail, does not seem like a severe crime to me

        The strength of a password has no bearing on the severity of the crime. kicking in a deadbolt and breaking a window to get in a house are both breaking and entering. Nobody ever suggests a homeowner should have nothing but concrete block walls.

        Making examples of people just because they have upset a celebrity figure is barbarian and i'm glad i'm not an American if this sort of thing is acceptable there. Where i come from everyone is equal, a crime against a politician holds the same weight as a crime against your average citizen.

        Where are you from? Antarctica?

      • by anti-pop-frustration (814358) on Friday January 14, 2011 @11:11AM (#34878768) Journal
        Exactly, do you even think for a second that this guy would be sitting in a federal prison if he had guessed your neighbor's Yahoo account security question?

        This is very much a case of a commoner being dealt a disproportionally harsh punishment because the victim is part of the ruling class.

        And Sarah Palin didn't even get a slap on the wrist for using her private email to shield government business from public scrutiny.

        I remember September 2008, wasn't this the time wall street bankers nearly crashed the world economy? Anybody charged, convicted or sitting in a federal prison yet?

        The system works.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Tanktalus (794810)

          If he had hacked in to his neighbour's Yahoo! account and posted those details everywhere, his neighbour might not even find out because there would likely be no interested partisans wishing to harass him or his family. However, when you post private details of a famous person, the amount of interest goes up, and the harm follows the interest. A lot of people disagree with Palin, and, in any group of some size, there are wackos who take it too far, and that's what happened here. Wackos got hold of the in

          • I just entered 'palin residential address' into google. The second hit not only gives her address, but an overhead photo showing exactly where to find it.

            http://alaskareport.com/news109/x71361_sarah_palins_home_address.htm [alaskareport.com]

            So anyone who wants to harass Palin in person doesn't need compromised emails. There she is. Go for it.

            Though for someone of her prominence, I imagine there is a razor-wire fence, alarm system and a few guards to stop that happening.
      • by joeyblades (785896) on Friday January 14, 2011 @11:14AM (#34878826)

        if anything Sarah Palin should be schooled on password security and disciplined for sharing sensitive information over yahoo...

        I had a neighbor that was robbed. However, like many crooks, these guys were none too smart and got caught. They tried to defend their actions by claiming that the victim had left a window unlocked and therefore deserved to get robbed...

        Your argument sounds a lot like that...

      • I work for a bank, and if i had emails on yahoo related to my work and got caught, i would be dismissed, end of story.

        Well, yes, you or I should be dismissed for being reckless with sensitive information. But in Palin's case, you can't fire a quitter!

        ...i'm not an American... Where i come from everyone is equal, a crime against a politician holds the same weight as a crime against your average citizen.

        You caught the difference already - things are different for us, and the American justice system is
    • "The US Bureau of Prisons, however, has decided to make Mr Kernell serve out his term in the low-security prison camp nearly 300 miles from his home in Knoxville, Tennessee." ...The USBOP is obviously making an example out of this guy, and I can totally understand why.

      Actually it sounds like USBOP is doing him a favor - putting him in a regular Federal rape-cage closer to his home would not be in his best interest. IIRC, his father is well-connected politically.

      • Except that the judge reccomended he be placed in a halfway house. Which would have been closer and less restrictive.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You seriously think some kid breaking into someone's e-mail is a danger to society? Basically you're equating it to a violent crime where they need to be locked away.

      Your attitude it precisely what's wrong with the US justice system. Why don't we try to rehabilitate people? Even the lightest punishment would be enough to teach this kid his lesson. Give him probation and community service and he will probably never hack anything again in his life. I don't want to pay to keep him locked up in a prison fo

    • by geekoid (135745)

      A) are legal system sin't that abd, and no one with any real knowledge of it expect any of the really charges to actually be workable.

      B) Yes it was a crime, but this punishment is bad for numerous reasons.
      1) He sin't a risk to society.
      2) It's an unnecessary expense to the tax payers
      3) These types of sentences end up creating more criminals the prevents
      4) Prisons should be about rehabilitation, not about creating more criminals, and not jsut

    • by troll -1 (956834)
      I agree but I think the question some folks are asking is whether he would have received the same sentence if the victim was someone other than Sarah Palin. People hack email accounts all the time and post stuff on the net. Suppose, for example, he had hacked a high school class mate's email account. Would he have received a year in jail?
  • People still know where he is...

  • Not "hacked" (Score:3, Informative)

    by slimjim8094 (941042) <slashdot3NO@SPAMjustconnected.net> on Friday January 14, 2011 @10:11AM (#34877668)

    Not even cracked. Please stop talking about this guy like he has some computer wiizardry - he guessed at recovery questions. If I leave a riddle taped to my safe that gives the combo when solved, how angry can I be when somebody figures it out?

    • by Americano (920576)

      I see, so if it's easy to break into someplace, it's legal to do so?

      If that's the standard of privacy and property you want to go with, then I guess you wouldn't mind somebody bugging all your phones, and tracking your every movement, right? After all, its pretty easy to do. How angry can you be about it when somebody does it?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by slimjim8094 (941042)

        Not what I said. But if somebody robs my house if I leave it unlocked for a week while away, and I tell them "a maaster robber took my stuff", I'll get some funny looks.

    • In English, words can have multiple meanings. "Hack" is such a word.

      The word "hack" in this context means "circumvent computer security." He clearly 'hacked.' As one who hacked, he was a 'hacker.'

      There is another definitions of the word "hack:" to cleverly use something in an unintended way. This may be what you are thinking, but this is not the definition being used in the article. Remember back to grade school and "context clues?" Use your context clues in the future to figure out which "hack" is intended

  • ... lest Palin draws a gunsight around his head...
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Palin was conducting government business in that personal yahoo email account. So what does she get for doing that?

    This kid exposes her wrong doing and he goes to prison? Did we become soviet during the 2008 election?

    • by Pojut (1027544)

      It's no different than a police officer illegally entering your house, finding the huge bag of weed and bong you keep in your bedroom, then trying to bring you up on possession charges. It would get thrown out, because the evidence was obtained illegally (or something like that, IANAL so I don't know the "official" wording of such a thing.)

      • Technically since he was not law enforcement, it wouldn't get thrown out.

        It's like if a burglar breaks into your home and finds your weed stash and you call the cops. You can still get arrested for that bag of weed, even though the burglar obtained it illegally.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 14, 2011 @10:19AM (#34877782)

    I speak from first hand experience that even if you're innocent, the system will do their best to get their hands on you in the worst possible way if they want to make you pay for something, possibly unrelated. For me it was a friend who did stupid stuff and I was trying to talk him out of it. The caught me on a technicality and got me in jail and then "accidentally" shipped me off to a medium security prison where I stood toe to toe with a guy who was facing 246 years(that is not a typo). All just to make me talk. I never did..fuck 'em.

  • Punishment - Crime (Score:5, Insightful)

    by symes (835608) on Friday January 14, 2011 @10:20AM (#34877820) Journal
    I think the sad thing here is that this guy's future is pretty well screwed for what was (from memory) a fairly impetuous and unsophisticated crime. Sure he should be held accountable, but sending the kid to an institution where he is more likely to be released into a world of criminality with contacts that may like to exploit his rudimentary skills is probably not serving the best interests of his community.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 14, 2011 @11:02AM (#34878628)

      Sure he should be held accountable, but sending the kid to an institution where he is more likely to be released into a world of criminality with contacts that may like to exploit his rudimentary skills is probably not serving the best interests of his community.

      Posting anonymously, for obvious reasons. According to the BOP's inmate locator, David Kernell is at FCI Ashland, which has an adjoining camp (FPC Ashland). He's almost assuredly at the camp since he's a non-violent criminal with less than a year until his release. I don't believe you can be at a camp if you have more than 5 years until your release.

      I spent a few months at a camp and it wasn't too bad, for being prison. Everybody was just trying to do their time and get home. No gang fights. I never once had people asking me how to pull off some new crime. We played a lot of cards, and I read a lot of books, and played a lot of piano and guitar. It was a learning experience, seeing that we were all just a bunch of normal people who made some bad choices and who wanted to get home.

  • by celticryan (887773) on Friday January 14, 2011 @10:20AM (#34877822)
    FTFA:

    "The judge can give either incarceration or probation, but if it's incarceration the state gives power to the Bureau of Prisons to determine the nature of incarceration," said Professor Robert Weisberg, director of the criminal justice center at Stanford University in California.

    If the Judge didn't want him to go to prison maybe he shouldn't have sentenced him to prison time...

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Yes, but it almost always does especially when the prosecution agrees. Fed prisoner placement is almost always about risk and resources.

      Dollar to donuts, the Judge would have chosen probation had he know that some one would have done this.

      Just probation would have marked him for life.

  • Is there some law of prison quality that states the comfort of prison is inversely proportional to the distance from the prisoner's home? A small enough data sample sort of points to this as house arrest is probably the most comfortable, but i think the hypothesis falls apart after that. Many people who are in prison might not even have a good home.

    For me, I'd think it would be the opposite. I think if i land in prison, i'd rather not have a steady influx of family visitors. I'd hope i was as far from h
    • I think if i land in prison, i'd rather not have a steady influx of family visitors. I'd hope i was as far from home as possible.

      You'd rather be completely isolated??

      • i'm not sure if you are asking if i want to be put in solitary confinement or not. Obviously i wouldn't want that.

        I imagine i would be sufficiently ashamed to not want my mom coming to prison to check up on me. plus what would the other prisoners think?

        I'm pretty sure i'm not doing anything i'm going to go to prison for though.

  • by royallthefourth (1564389) <royallthefourth@gmail.com> on Friday January 14, 2011 @10:22AM (#34877862)

    The account he broke into was being used by Palin to conduct state business that she wanted to hide from being recorded in her official state email account.

    Just a reminder.

    • by Sarten-X (1102295)

      ...And that somehow makes it better that he accessed someone's email account without authorization?

      The people executed in North Korea are convicted criminals. Just a reminder.

      • To expose a corrupt official? Absolutely!

        If your opponent is cheating but you say you are above that, you will lose every time!

    • by jbssm (961115)

      The account he broke into was being used by Palin to conduct state business that she wanted to hide from being recorded in her official state email account. Just a reminder.

      Yeah, and very awakwardly, I didn't notice Palin going on trial about this. Hum, I wonder where all those equallity principles that USA constitution talks about do lie.

  • For as much as I agree with the judge (and am an anti-Palinite), I'm not so sure why he should be an exception.
  • by Stooshie (993666)
    I know very little about American law, but if the judge recommends a particular sentence, who has the power to change that?
    • by Rockoon (1252108)
      Recommendations is not the same as Sentence.

      The judge sentenced the guy to serve time but recommended immediate parole.

      The judge is not an arbiter of parole, which is the authority of the parole boards.

      As someone else already said.. if the judge didnt want this guy to serve time, he should not have sentenced him to jail time. But the judge did want him to serve time, just not hard time.
  • by pak9rabid (1011935) on Friday January 14, 2011 @11:03AM (#34878646)
    To everyone saying he "shouldn't be locked away in a hole with more dangerous people", this kid's being put into a "minimum security resort", not a "federal pound-me-in-the-ass prison", to quote Office Space. The worse people he'll run into are probably embezzlers.
  • by zuki (845560) on Friday January 14, 2011 @11:21AM (#34878926) Journal
    Another potential crime which is not often spoken about was that in doing so, he also inadvertently managed to prove that the then-governor of Alaska was using her private email account for conducting state business, something against which there are very strict compliance rules, and that according to many was a clear breach of protocol on her part. These emails are supposed to be archived and later visible to anyone who wishes to see how state business is conducted, but cannot if she used a private account. In a similar vein, the Republicans in power during the Bush years suffered an unfortunate and accidental 'total erasure' all their emails from the White House servers including any backups there may have been for a period of well over a year, which only the more cynical among us would link to the possibility that this may just have been done so that no incriminating evidence could ever be found with regards to what was really discussed when the war in Iraq was started under false pretenses, and other trivial, inconsequential matters. "Real Americans" would far more readily accept the idea that the government losing all of this data and never keeping a single backup of it was a totally unexpected thing, and that's that.

    Yes, I think that what this young man did is reprehensible, but so are the other points above, none of which ever got pursued (to my knowledge). That stinks of a real and pretty obvious double-standard of accountability. Sweeping them under the carpet by employing some other distraction was the only magic trick required...

    No wonder they hate ***leaks so much. The sort of action which might just begrudgingly force them to come clean about their own practices and start having to play by the rules themselves. For that reason, expect stiffer sentences for similar crimes in the future, to prevent anyone from ever seeing all of this dirty laundry being aired.
  • It's not so bad (Score:5, Interesting)

    by morgauxo (974071) on Friday January 14, 2011 @11:43AM (#34879246)
    I know someone who went to a minimum security prison. I suppose they might not all be alike but if they are sending him to one anything like my friend went to he has a year vacation to spend playing playstation games and/or in a gym occasionally interrupted by a class or two.

    Now.. trying to find a good job with a conviction on his record once he gets out... That's the part which will suck for him.
  • by bradley13 (1118935) on Friday January 14, 2011 @12:18PM (#34879772) Homepage

    Folks, take a look at the charges he was convicted of. Then think about this sentence.

    Mr. Kernell was convicted of two charges. For breaking into Sarah Palin's email account, he was convicted of a misdemeanor for unlawful computer access. But a misdemeanor isn't enough payback for embarrassing one of the political elite. So he was also charged with a felony account of obstruction of justice. The FBI says that he erased data off of his computer [knoxnews.com]. Specifically, he deleted his copies of Palin's emails, and then defragged his disk. He also cleared his browser history.

    Well, duh. The kid did something stupid. When he saw what an uproar he had created, he tried to make it all go away. Wow, that really is grounds for a federal felony charge.

    This isn't justice folks. This is payback for embarrassing one of our betters.

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