Convicting Anyone of Anything

A jury convicted Lori Drew of breaking MySpace’s terms of service, possibly sending her to prison for years, if the verdict stands up on appeal.

Why? Because she was involved in setting up a fake MySpace account, posing as a teenage boy, in order to mess with the emotions of a psychologically fragile teenage girl who had been nasty to her daughter. The teenage girl ended up committing suicide, and now people want to blame someone. And technically, Lori might have run afoul of federal computer fraud laws, even though those laws were supposedly never intended to address this situation.

The bad part about this case is that it only reinforces that federal prosecutors can convict almost anybody they want to, because we almost everybody has done something that is technically against federal criminal law. And most of us have also done at least one stupid thing online that might have pissed off someone else.

You see, the federal code is full of over-harsh laws. (Years in the federal pen for violating MySpace’s terms of service?! Get some perspective.) And this law wasn’t even applied correctly, because federal computer crime laws were intended (supposedly) to protect peoples’ credit card numbers and other sensitive information stored on computer. And rooting for a misapplication of an unfair law just to get even hurts us all, because it makes it more likely that the next victim who wants to get even will want to get even with you or me.

OK. Rant over. (For now.)


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Lori Drew did something so horrible that I, personally, have no problem if they sent her to prison for the rest of her life. She might as well have tied the knot on the noose and pushed that girl into it. New laws are created when old laws cannot be applied or that prosecutors won’t apply them – for good or bad. She and her daughter and assistant intentionally harassed, threatened, and psychologically abused a child. Sorry, not just a child, but an emotionally challenged child who did nothing to deserve it. She did it knowing the child had her own set of problems.

Children and “Adults who act like children” are supposed to have learned from their parents. When the parents fail to teach or the “child” fails to learn, then we have the court system. When the court system fails, we have justice in the form of karma or self-defense or vigilantes. Let’s put the responsibility back on parents to teach. For now Drew deserves anything that happens to her – up to and including “other prisoners”.

Clearly you have never been physically attacked by criminals. It shows in your attitude towards violent crime and violent criminals.

Okay. So maybe I was a little harsh on you and your POV about crime. Don’t shoot me. (I shoot back!) That’s a joke – but I do have a CFP and do carry – sometimes. “When” is the question!

Bob, my objection is not that Lori Drew could be sent to prison for messing with a fragile teenager. My beef is how they convicted her. You see, no matter how much what she did offends our sensibilities, she apparently did not commit a crime. Now, I haven’t really thought through it, and IANAL, but it seems to me that they would have prosecuted and convicted her for causing the death of her neighbor, if they could have. But they couldn’t. So they went after her on an unrelated technicality.

This bothers me, because it puts too much power in the hands of the prosecutor. He can essentially get anyone he doesn’t like, for anything that offends his sensibilities, regardless of whether or not they’ve actually committed a crime. So much for being a nation ruled by laws, and not by men.

In other words, this is not about “violent crime and violent criminals.” It’s about the potential for abuse, the potential for sending innocent, nonviolent people up the river for being in the wrong place at the wrong time or for making a stupid mistake that pisses off the wrong person.


I hear what you are saying, she was convicted on a technicality. Look at the case this way ~ if Lori Drew had been driving a vehicle and caused the death by striking the girl with the vehicle, there would probably be no question as to whether she should be punished. This MySpace account and the vicious words sent from it was the “vehicle”, Lori Drew the driver, and the victim does not change.

So who cares if she was convicted on a technicality? Drew knew what she was doing and did so willingly. This case will set a precedence for future cases, which may arise. Cyber bullying is a crime and those who engage in it should suffer the consequences.

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