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JSTOR an Entitlement For US DoJ's Ortiz & Holder 287

theodp writes "If Aaron Swartz downloaded JSTOR documents without paying for them, it would presumably be considered a crime by the USDOJ. But if U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz or U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder did the same? Rather than a crime, it would be considered their entitlement, a perk of an elite education that's paid for by their alma maters. Ironically and sadly, that's the kind of inequity Aaron railed against with the Guerilla Open Access Manifesto, a document the DOJ cited as evidence (pdf) that Swartz was a menace to society. On Thursday, Ortiz insisted Swartz — who she now characterizes as 'mentally ill' — received fair and reasonable treatment from the DOJ. But that wasn't good enough for Senator John Cornyn, who on Friday asked Eric Holder to explain the DOJ prosecution of Aaron Swartz." Federal prosecutors have come under heavy criticism for their handling of the Swartz case. Legal scholar Orin Kerr provides counterpoint with two detailed, well-reasoned posts about the case. Kerr says that, as the law stands, the charges against Swartz were "pretty much legit," and that the law itself should be the target of the internet community's angst, rather than the prosecutors. "...blame the system and aim to reform the system; don’t think that this was just two or three prosecutors that were doing something unusual. It wasn’t." James Boyle, co-founder of the Center for the Study of the Public Domain, disagrees with Kerr (partly), arguing that Swartz's renown is simply drawing people together to collectively shine a light on poor legislation and poor prosecutorial practices.
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JSTOR an Entitlement For US DoJ's Ortiz & Holder

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  • Menace to Government (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 19, 2013 @12:54PM (#42633995)

    Aaron Swartz is dead now. You've lost your persecution leverage against him personally.

    My question is: Now, how are you going to stop his message? How do we serfs penetrate this invulnerability/hypocrisy force field that employees of our government are "entitled" to?

  • Eric Holder (Score:0, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 19, 2013 @01:01PM (#42634039)

    I see they are complaining about Holder having access and if a normal person did it would be considered illegal. Why are people not complaining about Holder's department being responsible for the deaths of hunderds of Mexicans and then covering it up? Judical Watch [] is now being told that their FOIA request should be considered illegal when attempting to get documents to find out why guns were given to Mexican criminals. We are told Holder had nothing to do with it, Obama had nothing to do with it, yet the documents are being held secret via "Executive Privledge" which would ONLY pertain if they related to communications directly between Obama and Holder. So by invoking Executive Priviledge they are telling us they are both involved.

    How many people have to be killed by this administration before people will finally say enough is enough and force them to release information on what really happened. BTW, the ATF whistleblower that first brought this all to light was just fired from his position for being a whistleblower, yet we hear no outrage about that either.

    Just add this story as YET ANOTHER DEATH at the hands of Eric Holder, and watch him go on like nothing happened with no reprocussions to him or his office. How many people have to die/be killed before ANYONE will hold Holder accountable. Janet Reno was responsible for killing 86 in Waco and was never held accountable, Holder has at least doubled that number without even the hint of a charge. It looks to me like the DOJ has become the assassination wing of the DNC when they control the White House, and they don't have to even answer questions.

  • by jfengel ( 409917 ) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @01:03PM (#42634061) Homepage Journal

    I don't understand the point of this article. Holder and Ortiz (or somebody, if they were on scholarship) paid for those college educations. If one of the perks of that payment is lifetime journal access, what on earth does it have to do with this case?

    If this was an overzealous prosecution, then it should be investigated, and possibly procedures changed to prevent it in the future. And I certainly agree that journal access has become utterly disproportionate.

    But most of what I read about this case is a rush to judgment that makes no more sense than the prosecution is being accused of. And articles like this bolster that impression, jumping to conclusions and engaging in character assassination because we liked one guy and therefore hate the other guys.

    Things need to be fixed, but that's best achieved with clarity, not more obfuscation.

  • Re:The law is a ass. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 19, 2013 @01:04PM (#42634069)

    it's dangerous to characterize different opinions as mentally ill.

    This is very true, but anyone who takes their own life is going to be tainted by the possibility of being "mentally ill" because suicide isn't commonly accepted as the act of a "well" individual.

  • by Trepidity ( 597 ) <delirium-slashdot.hackish@org> on Saturday January 19, 2013 @01:07PM (#42634079)

    The fact that the fruits of scientific research are available only to people who "paid heavily" is precisely the objection.

  • That's a great article. I was particularly surprised to learn about the civil forfeiture procedure:

    In 2009, the 69-year-old owner, Russ Caswell, received a letter from the DOJ indicating the government was pursuing a civil forfeiture case against him with the intention of seizing his family's motel - it was built in 1955 by Russ's father - and the surrounding property. Ms. Ortiz's office asserted that the motel had been the site of multiple crimes by its occupants over the years: 15 low-level drug offenses between 1994 and 2008 (out of an estimated 125,000 room rentals). Of those who stayed in the motel from 2001 to 2008, 0.05% were arrested for drug crimes on the property.
    Mr. Caswell's family-owned and -operated property was worth approximately $1.5 million with no mortgage - making it a perfect target. Without a bank involved, the likelihood of the Caswells' mounting a drawn-out legal defense was miniscule. Through a spokeswoman, Ms. Ortiz's office released a statement at the time of trial on why they were choosing to pursue Mr. Caswell:

    "The government believed that this was an important caseâ¦because of the deterrent message it sends to others who may turn a blind eye to crime occurring at their place of business."

    Mr. Salzman doesn't buy the message of deterrence. He asserts that just up the street, a Motel 6, Walmart and Home Depot all operate with similarâ"in many cases higherâ"rates of drug crimes on their properties, referencing numbers obtained from the Tewksbury Police Department.
    But those corporations have extensive financial and legal resources, and would put up much more of a fight than a small business owned and operated by a single family. Before a public interest law firm took on his case, Mr. Caswell had already spent over $100,000 and was near bankruptcy. []

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