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Judge Tentatively Dismisses Case Against Lori Drew 420

An anonymous reader writes "According to Wired, 'A federal judge on Thursday overturned guilty verdicts against Lori Drew, and issued a directed acquittal on the three misdemeanor charges.'" A similar story in the L.A. Times notes that "The decision by US District Judge George H. Wu will not become final until his written ruling is filed, probably next week." Update: 07/02 21:15 GMT by T : For those not following, Lori Drew's three convictions sprang from charges of online harassment of Megan Meier, a Missouri teenager whose suicide was linked to Drew's actions.
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Judge Tentatively Dismisses Case Against Lori Drew

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  • That's because a similar situation without a computer would have been manslaughter. (Homicide without intent.)

    The addition of a computer should not fuzzy this.
  • Thank Goodness (Score:4, Interesting)

    by anom ( 809433 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @05:15PM (#28564473)

    Thank goodness that judges have the ability to overrule the jury (only in the favor of the defendant) when there is a serious miscarriage of justice being performed...

    Haven't had much occasion to do it recently, but chalk up a win for the American justice system.

    Of course I don't like her, but someone should never be found guilty of completely BS charges, even if they're guilty of something else.

  • by yamfry ( 1533879 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @05:17PM (#28564507)
    I agree. I personally feel that she is a complete dirtbag and a horrible parent, but the prosecution was way out of line in using such a ridiculous law to prosecute. Unfortunately, she'll be seen as "innocent" now. Really they should have prosecuted her with regular ol' harassment or whatever laws don't use the words "cyber" or "e-" or "tubes" in them and pushed for that maximum sentence.
  • I can't believe someone proving themselves to be as big a fucking moron as you must be got modded insightful. She did not set out to cause the girl to /wrist, she just set out to fuck with her. If this ruling had stood, any and all trolling/flaming on the internet would be made illegal. That's bullshit.

    This girls parents knew every step of the way what was going on, minus the fact that the boy was an adult woman, and after ti happened whined to the media about how even though they told her to stay off the computer she simply refused and they didn't do shit to stop her. Where the fuck are the cries of "Where the fuck were the parents?"
  • Apparently not now. This could be used as case law to argue that yelling "fire!" in a crowded theater (or around a firing squad) is acceptable.

    The main problem with this case, all along, is that it was going to set some sort of precedent. That was inescapable. Judges HATE setting precedents and try their damnest to always set the most relaxed precedent possible, so as to not get blamed later on. (It rarely has anything to do with law, as far as I can tell, purely a CYA.)

    The secondary problem was that there was no rational or sane legal instrument that could be used. It was going to be the same farce as the British Govt using lockpicking laws against the guy who broke into Prince Philip's e-mail account.

    The first problem is going to be hard to avoid with any new real or potential abuse of technology. The second problem is caused entirely by lawmakers who are too stupid to say what they mean and mean what they say, but try to fancy-up the language to sound impressive. It should be entirely possible to codify a set of laws that are independent of the technology of the day or the social mores of the day. Instead, their aim is not so much to write clean law but to get re-elected.

    It's times like this that I wonder if there shouldn't be a branch of Government solely concerned with working through the laws and shredding everything too stupid or too of-the-moment to keep.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 02, 2009 @05:45PM (#28564921)

    That's a horrible example, and you should be ashamed of yourself for using it. The case in question, if you care to do some research--did not involve a person shouting fire in a theatre. It did not involve anyone shouting fire. That quote came from a judge convicting a man of distributing communist leaflets. "Fire in a theatre" seems totally appealing to the average person--but the precedent it set was that politically unpopular speech was equivalent to inciting a dangerous panic.

    Please--can we abolish the example of fire in a theatre forever more? In the eyes of the judiciary--it's equivalent to handing out fliers.

  • by sexconker ( 1179573 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @06:55PM (#28565723)

    Nothing you say should EVER get you IMPRISONED.

    NO ONE should EVER attempt to restrict your RIGHT to say what you want.

    You SHOULD be sued for demonstrable damages that occurred as a direct result of your speech.

    You SHOULD be investigated for making threats.

    You SHOULD be monitored for encouraging protesters to get violent.

    In this case, the family should sue her for every cent she has, as it's fucking simple to show that her speech was both a direct and major contributor to their daughter's suicide.

    I don't care if someone goes around yelling out nuclear launch codes. In order for that right to mean anything it, like all RIGHTS, must be universal.

  • a fundamentalist believes in absolute universal and unyielding concepts

    it is a convenient way for you to avoid having to think about the world and how complex it really is, and all you wind up doing is create more suffering than you think you relieve

  • by atmtarzy ( 1267802 ) <ndnjones3@gm a i l . c om> on Thursday July 02, 2009 @09:07PM (#28566991)

    Why you got modded insightful is beyond me.

    (Please note that any addresses of 'you' refer to the person that commits suicide because they were solicited male enhancement, who you addressed as 'I')

    As far as I know, Lori Drew committed this crime fully aware that the girl had psychological problems. That's like spammers sending you messages because they are fully aware your penis is small. They obviously aren't (unless you advertise it online, or happened to have slept with one of them). So if you decide to off yourself because some random person is sending 'enhancement' spam to thousands or millions of people, including yourself, and you interpret their spam as demeaning, then you are clearly at more fault than the spammer is. Interpreting impersonal e-mails offering assistance for your insecurity as demeaning requires some sort of psychological problem on your part, probably depression caused by insecurity (which in and of itself would be a psychological problem).

    In the case of this girl, Drew intentionally bullied her. The messages Drew sent the girl could easily be interpreted as bullying by just about anyone of sane mind. Drew also intentionally addressed the messages specifically to this girl--it was not some 'you suck' e-mail send to every person on a million-person address book.

    As far as I know, nobody's privacy was questionably respected/disrespected in this case (I don't see anybody ranting about it on slashdot), so your concerns for burning people for their diary entries are ill-founded.

    Blogs are essentially anonymously-addressed e-mails for anyone who cares to read them. This case sets no precedence for what is (as far as my above argument is concerned) essentially equivalent to spam that people may choose to read. Your concerns for the public's right to blog are also ill-founded.

    Here is my case for you simply (in case you misinterpreted anything I said above, which tends to happen when two people disagree):
    Before you get concerned over nanny-states consider whether the analogies you base your conclusions on are actually relevant and correct. In this case they are not.

  • by jbolden ( 176878 ) on Thursday July 02, 2009 @09:39PM (#28567263) Homepage

    Why isn't it manslaughter. There is an obvious disparity of knowledge.

    For example lets assume you think I'm a doctor and I write you a prescription for "Coumatetralyl" (a rat poison). I give you a sample below what I think is the lethal dose. You take it and die. I'm not a doctor and I told you what I was giving you.

    The combination of misrepresentation + intent to harm makes manslaughter.

    Drew intended harm that resulted in death.

Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance. -- James Bryant Conant