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Lori Drew Trial Results In 3 Misdemeanor Convictions 568

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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  • Re:Somewhat fitting. (Score:5, Informative)

    by _Sprocket_ ( 42527 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @05:34PM (#25903521)

    True. But where were her parents? Pretty sad the girl lived in a household where she couldn't talk to her folks about what was going on.

    I'm usually on the side of parents taking responsibility for the welfare of their children. It bothers me to no end when parents seem to think others should assume that responsibility. However, I'm not so sure this is one of those situations.

    From the Wired blog []:

    Then on October 15, Josh sent Megan a message saying that he didn't want to be friends anymore. The next day, Josh told her he'd heard she wasn't nice to her friends, and that's why he wanted to sever their ties.

    Megan became upset and Meier, who had to leave the house to take her other daughter to an orthodontist appointment, told Megan to shut down the computer. Megan didn't do as she was told, however, and got embroiled in an electronic brawl when at least two other people began attacking her online, culminating in the final message from "Josh".

    When Meier came home she found Megan still online and in tears. When she appealed to her mother for support, Meier chastised her for being on the computer when she'd been instructed to shut it down, and suggested that Megan had brought some of the attacks on herself by continuing to communicate with her attackers.

    Megan, in mental anguish at this point, told her mother, "You're supposed to be my mom. You're supposed to be on my side."

    Thirty minutes later, Megan hanged herself, Meier testified.

    I'm sure the mother wishes she could have had that moment back; handled it differently. However, this certainly doesn't seem like a case of an inattentive parent who didn't communicate with their children.

  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <> on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @05:54PM (#25903725) Journal that against the law??

    I'm not sure. I know some countries have laws against inducement to suicide, I'd have to ask an attorney whether any US states do.

    Seems to me that justice would have been better served here if someone had just beaten the crap out of Lori Drew, and gotten acquitted for it due to extenuating circumstances.


  • Re:Shit (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @06:15PM (#25903937)

    There is a "fighting words" [] 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.

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

  • by UncleTogie ( 1004853 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @06:29PM (#25904099) Homepage Journal

    ...I'd have to ask an attorney whether any US states do.

    They do in Texas.... []

  • by TechForensics ( 944258 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @06:57PM (#25904369) Homepage Journal

    But the girl also confronted her mother shortly after the "World would be better off without you" comment. In fact, according to several news sources, she got into an argument with her mother right before she went to kill herself. How can it even be guaranteed that the cause of her death was the comment by Drew and not in fact by a combination of side-effects from anti-depressents and just a shitty day in general?

    Actually, there is an answer to your question. It is the concept of "Without Which Not" causation. The jury should be asked to consider would the suicide have happened without Lori Drew's conduct. If not, and if the suicide should have been forseeable to Ms. Drew, she's liable.

  • Re:Say what? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Duhavid ( 677874 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @07:04PM (#25904429)

    "Lori never instructed or suggested the girl to commit suicide."

    Instructed? No. Suggested? What was the message? "The world would be a better place without you", or some such. Suggests something to me.

  • Re:Shit (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @07:25PM (#25904621)

    Keep in mind tho that as a juror, you have to weigh two options: letting defendant that is guilty for a nasty thing (even if not the one being charged for) go free; or convict on wrong charges.

    I mean, it's not like Al Capone was actually hated and hunted for his abuse of the US postal system.

    Just sayin'

  • Re:Somewhat fitting. (Score:3, Informative)

    by dq5 studios ( 682179 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @07:37PM (#25904711) Homepage

    What I want to know is why Lori Drew started the whole thing in the first place.

    Because her friend (who the prosecution gave immunity) suggested it as a way to get revenge for the victim calling Drew's daughter a lesbian.

  • by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @07:49PM (#25904785)

    Apparently not since that's not what Lori was charged with.

    Actually, the intentional manipulation of a child was part of a crime she was charged with and found not guilty of (violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act with the intent of inflicting emotional distress), and, I believe, part of a crime she was charged with and on which a mistrial was reached (the conspiracy charge), and part of the crime she was found guilty of (since among the bases for the three counts of violating the Terms of Service were that she used MySpace, in violation of the terms of service, to extract personal information from a minor and that she used it to harass another person, not just the misrepresentation parts), so I think it is completely untrue to say it is not what she was charged with.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 26, 2008 @08:10PM (#25904933)

    Lori Drew NEVER created the MySpace account, her "friend" who ratted Lori Drew out for immunity is the one that setup the account. There's actually no evidence that Lori Drew even ACCESSED the account.

    So yes, she's a bitch for thinking it would be funny to do this to Megan. Even more so that she thought of some things to say. But there isn't any evidence she sent any of those, like there is for her daughter and her "friend".

    And now we have a terrible legal precedent. If this was a US District Court then it affects the whole nation as well.

    And for what? Because a whole lot of people feel that *morally* there was a wrong here and can't be adults for 10 seconds to handle the *legality* of her actions.

    Hell, the prosecutor didn't even try to bring some easy charges about harassment and hate speech. Remember kids, now you can't say "die in a fire" because that person might just go torch their own ass. The precedent is there.

  • 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.)

  • by fizzup ( 788545 ) on Thursday November 27, 2008 @01:25AM (#25906463)

    Whether punishment should be based on outcomes, or not, in fact it is. It's called the "thin-skill rule" or the "eggshell skull rule". The rule says that defendants take their victims as they find them. []

    This means that if a defendant tortiously or criminally torments someone, traumatizing him so badly that he kills himself, then the defendant can be held liable for the victim's death. This rule applies even if the defendant could not foresee the unexpectedly dramatic results of his actions, such as might be the case if the victim was predisposed to suicide. It only applies if the act is a tort or a crime, though, like if the defendant were harassing the victim. The reason is simple: courts do not want to allow defendants to build their cases on the vulnerability of their victims.

  • Re:Shit (Score:2, Informative)

    by antiseptic_poetry ( 1022107 ) on Thursday November 27, 2008 @07:06AM (#25907645)
    Shooting someone in the back as they're fleeing automatically negates any claim of "self-defense". Tony Martin was never in any danger, they were leaving his home when he fired the fatal shot.

    Also it would never be legal to shoot an unarmed burglar in the UK; that goes far beyond the legal definition of "reasonable force".

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982