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The Courts Your Rights Online

Lori Drew Cyberbullying Case Dismissed 408

Trepidity writes "About seven weeks after the judge tentatively overturned Lori Drew's guilty verdict for 'cyberbullying' following her online harassment of a teenager that was linked to the teenager's suicide, the case was finally officially dismissed. In a 32-page opinion (PDF), the court avoided a minefield of possible follow-on effects that civil-liberties groups had warned of by holding that merely violating a website's Terms of Service cannot constitute 'unauthorized access' for the purposes of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (18 U.S.C. 1030)."
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Lori Drew Cyberbullying Case Dismissed

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  • by Shivetya ( 243324 ) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @08:52AM (#29250869) Homepage Journal

    Missouri has made harassing a minor a felony, http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2009_08_16-2009_08_22.shtml#1250896617 [volokh.com]

    So what I figure is, they knew that the current charges would most likely not stick so they crafted a law to handle the situation. The new law is worse that than even the laws they attempted to prosecute Lori Drew under the first time. They are just too open to interpretation.

  • Re:Silly question? (Score:5, Informative)

    by MathFox ( 686808 ) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @09:00AM (#29250903)
    What Judge Wu ruled is that breaking the contract that you have with a website should be seen as a "civil matter", and should not be treated as a crime. (This is for access that the website owner granted you in return for accepting his terms.) When you exceed the granted access and really hack the system, you still risk criminal prosecution.

    P.S. Civil action may cost you tons too, in damages and attorney fees.

  • Re:Harrasment (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lehk228 ( 705449 ) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @09:27AM (#29251029) Journal
    because you are making up charges.

    "mental abuse" isn't a charge i have ever heard of someone being prosecuted, it's not harassment because the actions don't fit the charge at all

    as for libel, slander, and bashing ethnic minorities. the first two are not illegal, they are civil torts, and the third is completely legal. Go start your own white power website and see what happens, your neighbors will think less of you, your family will think less of you, but you won't be arrested.
  • Re:Harrasment (Score:3, Informative)

    by Loadmaster ( 720754 ) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @10:48AM (#29251473)

    Intentional infliction of emotional distress is an intentional tort.

          1. Defendant acted intentionally or recklessly; and
          2. Defendantâ(TM)s conduct was extreme and outrageous; and
          3. Defendantâ(TM)s act is the cause of the distress; and
          4. Plaintiff suffers severe emotional distress as a result of defendantâ(TM)s conduct.

    No involuntary or forced contact necessary.

  • Re:Karma Police (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 30, 2009 @11:04AM (#29251561)

    uhm.. you mean the HBO drama, Dexter, where the main character is a serial killer who was adopted and raised by a cop, who taught him to kill only those people who really deserve it? The show that is based on the Dexter novels by Jeff Lindsay?

    Yeah... not a reality show in the least... although it would be nice ;)

  • Re:great (Score:2, Informative)

    by Hubbell ( 850646 ) <brianhubbellii AT live DOT com> on Sunday August 30, 2009 @11:36AM (#29251763)
    Over the internet, never met in person, the girls parents knew EVERY STEP OF THE WAY WHAT WAS GOING ON IN ITS ENTIRETY, yet noone wants to blame the parents? This is a CLASSIC case of what every slashdotter talks about where the parent's don't have to take any responsibility for their children. Read about the case, the girl's parents knew she was in a terrible place emotionally cause of this internet boyfriend she had, 'but she still went on the computer even though we would tell her not to' is their excuse for why she was allowed to continue.

    TL:DR version:

    Where the fuck were her parents?
  • Re:great (Score:5, Informative)

    by lysergic.acid ( 845423 ) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @11:49AM (#29251863) Homepage

    No, not jail. But you should probably go back to Philosophy 101: Intro to Logic for using such a bad analogy.

    Certain portions of any society's population are more easily victimized (and more vulnerable to predation or exploitation) than others. Our legal system takes that into account, as it should, and offers those groups greater protection. That is why an adult can be prosecuted if they allow an infant to drown in a bathtub, but not if instead it had been a non-physically-or-mentally-handicapped adult that drowned. It's also why it's considered a greater crime to murder someone with a handicap, a child, or a senior citizen.

    The fact of the matter is, many mental disabilities make the sufferer more susceptible to suggestion or external influence. The victim in this case was an adolescent girl suffering from clinical depression. In fact, she was even on multiple mood-stabilizers. It should be quite obvious that someone in that situation is already predisposed to self-harm and suicide without others bullying them. But when someone deliberately causes psychological harm on such an individual, the situation becomes even more dangerous. In this case, it was a grown woman preying on the psychological vulnerability of a 13-year-old child, and the results proved fatal.

    If I approached a man standing on the ledge of a cliff and intentionally frightened them, and as a result they lost their balance and fell to their death, I would certainly be held accountable (and charged with involuntary manslaughter). If a suicidal person is standing on a ledge on a tall building, and I tell them to jump&mdashand they do, should I not be held accountable as well? Now, in this case, the woman had to make much more of an effort to get this girl to commit suicide. I'm certain she had no intent to kill, but she is still potentially liable for involuntary manslaughter or at least criminal negligence (though not likely as this is a clear case of malicious intent).

  • by iamhassi ( 659463 ) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @12:01PM (#29251943) Journal
    "For fuck's sake, the woman is -- at the very least -- a sexual predator. Posing as an underage boy to have sexual conversations with a twelve year old girl? What the fuck?! Not to mention adding on the intent to cause serious detriment by the machinations of her contrived plot to the girl."

    Don't forget this was a neighbor girl, a girl they had gone on vacation with [appletreeblog.com], a girl in her daughter's class that her daughter didn't like. W...T...F. Daughter comes home crying saying "Mommy Mommy I don't like this girl!" and mommy said "Oh? Well I'll get her!" and 47-yr old mommy created a fake online teen boy profile for the sole purpose of harassment, even going to far as to having sexual conversations with the 14 yr old [pysih.com]. If that's not the most fucked up thing I've ever heard.

    If Lori was a man and if Megan had lived Lori would be jail for being a sexual predator.
  • by smoker2 ( 750216 ) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @12:39PM (#29252265) Homepage Journal

    Just stay out of the way while real men and women go about getting the job done.

    We're coming for you too, asshole.

  • by elucido ( 870205 ) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @01:40PM (#29252821)

    1. A person commits the crime of harassment if he or she: ...

    (3) Knowingly ... causes emotional distress to another person by anonymously making ... any electronic communication; or

    (4) Knowingly communicates with another person who is ... seventeen years of age or younger and in so doing and without good cause recklessly ... causes emotional distress to such other person; or ...

    (6) Without good cause engages in any other act with the purpose to ... cause emotional distress to another person, cause such person to be ... emotionally distressed, and such person's response to the act is one of a person of average sensibilities considering the age of such person.

    2. Harassment is a [class D felony if] ...:

    (1) Committed by a person twenty-one years of age or older against a person seventeen years of age or younger ...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 30, 2009 @04:13PM (#29254067)

    Actually, you fucking retard, she wasn't browsing the internet 'unmonitored'.
    If you'll recall, she had to get permission from her mom before she could add this kid to her friends-list.
    Her mom was monitoring it a LOT. She slipped off and killed herself in just a few minutes.
    Next time, read some of the fucking articles.

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