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Judge Dismisses Twitter Stalking Case 51

itwbennett writes "Saying that Twitter and blogs are today's equivalent of a bulletin board that one is free to disregard (as compared to e-mails or phone calls directed to a victim), Maryland Judge Roger Titus on Thursday dismissed a criminal case against a person who was charged with stalking a religious leader on Twitter."
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Judge Dismisses Twitter Stalking Case

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  • Woah (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ZiggieTheGreat ( 934388 ) on Friday December 16, 2011 @11:37AM (#38398012)
    A judge who understood technology enough to make the right decision.

    Now, how do we get more judges like this?
    • Re:Woah (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Friday December 16, 2011 @12:01PM (#38398358) Homepage Journal

      A judge who understood technology enough to make the right decision.

      Now, how do we get more judges like this?

      Being a good judge means being able to see through the truth behind the veil, no matter if it's corporate BS or technology.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Baloroth ( 2370816 )

        A judge who understood technology enough to make the right decision.

        Now, how do we get more judges like this?

        Being a good judge means being able to see through the truth behind the veil, no matter if it's corporate BS or technology.

        Unfortunately, people who are able to do that are extremely rare in all walks of life. Not surprisingly, they are also rare among judges.

        There is no one whose to blame. Well, no one specifically. High schools and colleges, employers, parents. Pretty much everything has contributed something to turning out people who can't see past bullshit. Or rather, haven't contributed to turning out people who can see through it, which is what is really needed. As one of my high school teachers said: "the purpose of hig

    • It wasn't about technology, the actual ruling dealt with the content of the tweets. One hopes this would be used as precedent for tech cases though - in many of them it is the content not the medium.
      • It was and it wasn't. The fact that the judge was able to make the connection between Twitter and a public bulletin board proves the judge has at least some understanding. If the judge had treated Twitter like the USPS then the verdict would have been quite different.
    • The bigger concern is that despite women being just as likely to be engaged in domestic violence as men, we needed a woman specific law to deal with the problem. []

      • by Anonymous Coward
        I witnessed bail proceedings the other day. An equal number of male and female prisoners. Nearly all of the male charges were non-violent. Most of the female charges were violent. Not data, I know, but it said something to me. About a year ago I saw a TV ad saying what things you should tell your son to hit and what not to hit. Don't hit women and children was the message. I guess it's okay to hit other men. *sigh*
    • I don't know if this was the right decision. Then again, I'm not impartial since I'm being cyber-stalked/harassed on Twitter right now by someone who claims God talks to her. (Thank goodness I don't use my real name/address there.) If the guy was repeatedly telling her that she should die, then I think that crosses the line from free speech to harassment.

  • Quotes (Score:4, Informative)

    by UBfusion ( 1303959 ) on Friday December 16, 2011 @11:53AM (#38398254)

    Could we please have a more precise summary by putting the quotes in their proper place, because I cannot decipher between what was said by the submitter and what was said by the Judge?

    • Re:Quotes (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 16, 2011 @12:08PM (#38398478)

      The quotes in TFS are quite clear. The entire summary is quoted, because all of it was said by the submitter, paraphrasing the basic ruling of the judge. If you'd like to see the actual quotes by the judge, RTFA.

  • "Alyce" []

    This isn't to say that William Lawrence didn't go over the line by predicting her "violent death".

    • by koan ( 80826 )

      William Lawrence Cassidy is the full name.

  • good call (Score:4, Insightful)

    by shadowrat ( 1069614 ) on Friday December 16, 2011 @12:10PM (#38398490)
    After all the purpose of twitter is pretty much endorsed stalking.
  • by ifrag ( 984323 ) on Friday December 16, 2011 @12:10PM (#38398494)

    To me, Twitter seems more like a giant IRC channel except that it requires explicit /unignore ("follow" in twitter terms) for anyone you care to actually see. Twitter posts are probably on average around a reasonable line on IRC, where bulletin boards actually allow for long in depth posts (something Twitter does not do).

    At least the Judge had enough understanding to draw a somewhat reasonable parallel though.

  • Then I guess she believes that karmic payback ain't what it used to be.

    Just another cultist who makes a living by telling others how to live their life, but can't take her own medicine. Gasps of surprise. Stalk on, bro.

    • by koan ( 80826 )

      William Lawrence Cassidy is also a Buddhist, and is also trying to form his own "cult" and stands accused of several scams, so knowing that do you think it is out of line to seek legal help for someone "predicting" your violent death?

      In addition you do not understand Karma and what it entails, you use the common Western misunderstanding of Karma which is not the case for Buddhist.

      Karma isn't someone keeping score nor is it a shield against the bad this World has to offer.

  • Didn't I see the exact opposite article yesterday?

    • As I understood yesterday's article, it wasn't just "the person put up a blog" (which is what this one sounds like), but rather "the person put up a blog and sent emails / phone calls / what have you to shove everything the blogger talked about in the face of the other person".
    • There are differences between yesterday's and today's articles;
      1. Public vs private individuals. Public figures, such as religeous leaders, get much less harassment protection. If you want to be a public figure the be prepared to be harrased.
      2. The defendant in yesterday's article voluntarilly agreed to a HRO and then broke it. No HRO in today's article
      3. You have to follow someone to read their tweets. In yesterday's article the defendant sent emails.

  • by cheekyjohnson ( 1873388 ) on Friday December 16, 2011 @12:45PM (#38399104)

    But what about my right to not be offended? Can't we just arrest anyone who says something that I dislike? Otherwise, they'll hurt my self-esteem!

  • Sure 8000 tweets about how you disagree with a religious leader fine, but this is not the case and the article that was used in the original post does not do a good job of presenting all the facts it doesn't even give all the involved names. Do a search and find some more information before you start deciding this is a win.
  • For common sense and free speech.

    • Yes, but only because the religious leader was male.

      • Sorry but the religious leader in question, Alyce Zeoli, is female. That puts a hole in two of your stereotypes. (ie. all religious leaders are male and olny females get legal protection from speech)

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