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Lori Drew Cyberbullying Case Dismissed

timothy posted about 5 years ago | from the neither-vindication-nor-absolution dept.

The Courts 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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great (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29250695)

now they can just arrest her for harassment, like what should have happened in the first place.

Re:great (4, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 5 years ago | (#29250739)

Harassment != being mean.

Re:great (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29250763)

Anyways, Hognoxious, please listen to me. That it's really related to this thread.
I went to Myspace a while ago; you know, Myspace?
Well anyways there was an insane number of people there, and I couldn't get in.
Then, I looked at the banner hanging from the ceiling, and it had "PUNCH THE MONKEY" written on it.
Oh, the stupidity. Those idiots.
You, don't come to Myspace just to punch the monkey, fool.
It's only an ad, an A-D for crying out loud.
There're even entire families here. Family of 4, all out for some online videos, huh? How fucking nice.
"Alright, Mommy's gonna look up Stephanie Meyer's page." God I can't bear to watch.
You people, I'll give you copies of Twightly if you get out of those seats.
Myspace should be a bloody place.
That tense atmosphere, where two guys on opposite sides of the Internet table can start a fight at any time, the stab-or-be-stabbed
mentality, that's what's great about this place.
Women and children should screw off and stay home.
Anyways, I was about to start browsing, and then the bastard beside me goes "pimp my layout, with extra bling."
Who in the world orders extra bling nowadays, you moron?
I want to ask him, "do you REALLY want to decorate it with extra bling?"
I want to interrogate him. I want to interrogate him for roughly an hour.
Are you sure you don't just want to try saying "extra bling"?
Coming from a Myspace veteran such as myself, the latest trend among us vets is this, hand-written CSS.
That's right, hand written. This is the vet's way of myspacing.
Hand-written CSS means more text than graphics. But on the other hand the price is a tad higher. This is the key.
And then, it's delicious. This is unbeatable.
However, if you order this then there is danger that you'll be marked by Tom from next time on; it's a double-edged sword.
I can't recommend it to amateurs.
What this all really means, though, is that you, Hognoxious, should just stick with Facebook.

Re:great (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29250929)

Harassment != being mean

So just what is 'harassment' then?

Is it harrassment if I call you an asshole?
How about if I make a point of calling you an asshole every time I see you?
What if I stand outside your house yelling "asshole!" for a whole afternoon?
Can I get away with telling all your friends and family that you're an asshole?
Is it harrassment if I put up posters with your name and the word 'asshole' on all round the neighborhood?

Where is the line drawn? Maybe it should be for a jury to decide.

Re:great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29251345)

Harassment != being mean

So just what is 'harassment' then? Is it harrassment if I call you an asshole? How about if I make a point of calling you an asshole every time I see you? What if I stand outside your house yelling "asshole!" for a whole afternoon? Can I get away with telling all your friends and family that you're an asshole? Is it harrassment if I put up posters with your name and the word 'asshole' on all round the neighborhood? Where is the line drawn? Maybe it should be for a jury to decide.

Maybe all those things are harassment and maybe harassment shouldn't be a crime in an of itself. Maybe trespassing, slander, public disorder, etc. should cover it. We're so ready to outlaw every little thing we don't like these days that we're cutting into things that are much more important. If you can't call me an asshole in public then how can I speak out against the actions of others in public? Who's going to decide what is ok to be said and what isn't? When you make speech subject to jury review regardless of how seemingly reasonable that is you gut the idea of free speech.

Additionally, while I think this woman is a worthless piece of crap why is she responsible for the actions of another who harmed themselves. Personal responsibility plays a part in all things and we're so ready to find others to blame we ignore that. Just because she is worthless, mean, and stupid does not make her responsible for another's actions.

Re:great (4, Insightful)

lysergic.acid (845423) | about 5 years ago | (#29251545)

Huh? No one said she should be charged with murder (which is what would happen if she were held responsible for what the girl did to herself). But she is still responsible for the direct consequences of her actions.

Even if the girl didn't end up committing suicide from the psychological harm that women inflicted upon her (with clear malicious intent), an adult should still not be allowed to bully a child without legal consequences. Heck, disciplinary actions are even taken on a 1st or 2nd grader who picks on another kid at school, so why would an adult doing much more harm to a child be given a free ride?

Re:great (5, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | about 5 years ago | (#29250935)

So an adult posting as a child having intimate and/or sexual conversations with a child in order to later manipulate and ridicule them is merely "being mean"? If Lori Drew were a man, she'd be thrown away in prison for life for for being a sexual predator engaging in sexual conversations with a twelve year old girl online.

Her actions and intentions (and the results) could reasonably (in spirit, though certainly not law) be seen as manslaughter. Adults have measures they can take, legally, to retaliate against harassment and various forms of emotional and verbal abuse, but if you're a twelve year old little girl you should "just toughen the fuck up"?

The problem here is that this woman is a petty, vile, remorseless cunt (an applicable use of that word in this case which nobody can deny) that did a despicable thing that absolutely contributed significantly to the death of a child. Because the case was so mishandled (there are already laws which should have allowed certain prosecution without the ridiculous liberty-curtailing precedents involved here), the only way to make sure she gets what she deserves is to put the civil liberties of every person in the country in peril.

There is no great outcome either way in this case.

Re:great (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 5 years ago | (#29250963)

I'm not so sure that the 19 year old's actions could not be seen as manslaughter, i.e. taking a mentally disturbed person causing great emotional trauma and encouraging suicide as a solution. If that were the case then Drew is part of a conspiracy. But the Missouri DA screwed this up by giving the 19 year old immunity.

Re:great (1, Insightful)

Hubbell (850646) | about 5 years ago | (#29251337)

So if I tell someone only to go kill themself or the world would be better off without them, which I and many others do online as well as off, I should go to jail if that person actually does it? That's absurd.

Re:great (3, Insightful)

jbolden (176878) | about 5 years ago | (#29251433)

No the same way that if you push someone you don't go to jail for murder; while if you push them in front of a train you do. The 19 year old did far more than just tell someone something mean. She spent hours developing a close emotional connection with a child (not a peer) prior to telling them to kill themselves.

Re:great (0)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 5 years ago | (#29251197)

Yes, there is one great outcome here. Those who are able to discern that a civil suit for wrongful death is open to the girl's family will be able to understand this great outcome.

The outcome boils down to this: the government has no right to meddle in every little dispute that arises between two people. The federal government has no right or responsibility to get involved in petty disputes between bit players. The state governments cannot regulate every aspect of a person's life. A new law cannot be written to cover every possible use of every new technology. Attempting to do so only shows how anally retentive politicians and prosecutors can be.

Each and every individual who was involved in this particular case of harassment has some degree of responsibility. That INCLUDES the parents. Their "child" was permitted unsupervised access to the internet. This unstable child was permitted by her parents to suffer ongoing emotional and psychological abuse by her own parents.

There is plenty of responsibility to go around. Enough to keep a civil lawsuit going for years.

Criminal responsibility? Sorry. If I call you a flaming homosexual moron, and you go commit suicide, I've not committed a criminal act. Of course, that goes both ways - if you call ME the same thing, and I commit suicide, you aren't criminally liable either.

There - aren't you relieved that you aren't likely to spend the rest of your life in prison if you insult someone? Even if that someone happens to be a kid?

Be back later - I've got some queer little monkey faced bastards on my lawn.......

Re:great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29250973)

Yes but this was harassment, while I don't like the term "cyberbullying", as it's all the same to me, this was harassment.

Re:great (4, Interesting)

Spazmania (174582) | about 5 years ago | (#29250977)

No. Criminally this was a manslaughter case if it was anything at all. One that had to be brought in Missouri. Drew didn't particularly harass the child. One element of harassment is the repetitive nature of the offense. You don't just pester someone once; you do it over and over again. Megan didn't get an email every day for a year saying "Nobody likes you; today's a good day to kill yourself."

Instead, what Drew did do is negligently bring about the conditions which resulted her death. "Talked her into killing herself" is a tough case to prove though I seem to recall that when Manson talked a bunch of people into killing others it was possible to put him in jail.

Somewhat better odds of pursuing a wrongful death suit. That's a civil rather than criminal case. Still not great odds and still has to be brought in Missouri, not California.

Re:great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29251195)

But it wasn't manslaughter at all. The only people responsible here was the girl who killed herself and her parents for not paying attention to their child. If I call someone names and they go kill themself, the only thing I would be guilty of is being an asshole, which isn't illegal.

Charles Manson wasn't put in prison because he talked some people into killing. He was put in prison because he was part of a conspiracy to commit murder.

Re:great (1)

TRRosen (720617) | about 5 years ago | (#29251411)

No Its MURDER. Manslaughter means there was no intent. The act of committing fraud in order to do it creates an intent to injure.
Killing someone with no intent to injury = Manslaughter
Killing someone with intent to injure but not kill = second degree murder

Fighting Abuse of Power (4, Interesting)

reporter (666905) | about 5 years ago | (#29250719)

Though we may justifiably consider Lori Drew to be despicable, she did not violate any federal statute. The government's case was driven by public opinion, not the facts. In this case, public opinion is just a synonym for "tyranny of the masses".

The government chose to use the legal system to make her life a living hell. The government has infinitely deep pockets to fund a lawsuit against a private citizen, but the citizen does not have such pockets. Fighting the government in the courts could drive a private citizen into bankruptcy.

The right thing for Drew to do in this case is to sue the government and, specifically, the lead prosecuting attorney. Drew should sue them for mental distress and seek a multi-million dollar award.

Re:Fighting Abuse of Power (5, Insightful)

boliboboli (1447659) | about 5 years ago | (#29250753)

She can sue the gov't... [answers.com] if she get's permission from congress. For some reason, I don't think anyone will be very compassionate about her "mental distress" considering the reason she was put through all of this was by causing "mental distress" of another and subsequent suicide of that individual...

Re:Fighting Abuse of Power (4, Insightful)

Norsefire (1494323) | about 5 years ago | (#29250757)

Drew should sue them for mental distress and seek a multi-million dollar award.

Mental distress you say? Like the kind Meier was under? In that case, surely the prosecutor should be tried by a federal court. It would only be fair.

Re:Fighting Abuse of Power (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29250771)

The right thing for Drew to do in this case is to sue the government and, specifically, the lead prosecuting attorney. Drew should sue them for mental distress and seek a multi-million dollar award.

This is true. I want the USA to be seen as the country which lets a murderer(*) go free then allows her to sue the government and win millions.

(*) The US has this quasi-religious fallacy that the mind is somehow less a biological entity than the body, so while we are limited by physical disability/limitation/programming, mental disability/limitation/programming somehow doesn't exist because it runs contrary to the philosophy about man running as a free rational entity. On the contrary, the mind is just another biological function, and driving someone to suicide (i.e. by manipulating their mind until they think of death as the only way out) is as much murdering them as pushing them onto a sword.

Re:Fighting Abuse of Power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29250901)

The idea of punishment and responsibility for crimes rests on the assumption that man is a free rational entity.

If you do away with that, how can you hold Lori Drew responsible for driving someone to suicide? After all, she has no control over the biological functions of her mind, right?

Re:Fighting Abuse of Power (2, Insightful)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | about 5 years ago | (#29250995)

The idea of punishment and responsibility for crimes rests on the assumption that man is a free rational entity.

This is another silly mistake of US philosophy:

(1) We've had criminal justice systems for much longer than people thought of man this way - they've been justified on anything from Divine Right to "well, I have a bigger stick than you";

(2) Actually, what a criminal justice system does is:
(i) Physically stop criminals from doing the same thing again for a certain amount of time;
(ii) Discourage minds from telling their bodies to perform acts considered criminal, in the knowledge that they'll be restricted if they are caught.

Criminal justice systems enable society to flourish in certain ways by restricting certain sorts of behaviour. You don't need to say that individuals are "responsible" for their behaviour for this to work.

As for the "punishment" argument, there are two angles to this:
(i) The idea of revenge as justice. This is just silly, but unfortunately the above fallacy is sometimes used to conclude it as correct;
(ii) Punishment as a way of conditioning the mind to stop behaving in a certain way. This sometimes works, but usually doesn't, whence recidivism.

If you do away with that, how can you hold Lori Drew responsible for driving someone to suicide?

You don't ever need to. You merely need to establish the best way to stop her from doing it again: being locked up, psych treatment, whatever.

After all, she has no control over the biological functions of her mind, right?

Who cares? All your arguments rest on the same fallacy.

Re:Fighting Abuse of Power (2, Insightful)

Ihmhi (1206036) | about 5 years ago | (#29251071)

RE: recidivism, it doesn't really help that the best place to learn how to commit crimes is jail. You just stick a few hundred criminals in a big courtyard, what the hell else do you think they're gonna talk about?

Re:Fighting Abuse of Power (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 5 years ago | (#29251285)

Can we throw out another fallacy? You assume that the government has no right or obligation to seek revenge or to seek to punish harmful conduct. You assume that rehabilitation is possible, and that attempting to rehabilitate people is desirable.

Have you looked at the Dugard case in California? That rat bastard who kidnapped Jaycee has a HISTORY of kidnapping and sexual assault. He deserves a bullet in the ear. Or, if the family members of any of the victims wants some hands-on revenge, let them deal with both Garridos in whatever way they choose.

There are to damned many self-proclaimed psychologists involved in making and enforcing law.

Re:Fighting Abuse of Power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29251477)

So, you base your assumption about rehabilitation on one badly handled case? The plural of anecdote is not data, one anecdote even less.

Other nations have really good experiences about rehabilitation. Although they're better handled than the US prison industry.

Re:Fighting Abuse of Power (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | about 5 years ago | (#29251523)

You assume that rehabilitation is possible

I am finding it difficult to establish how you concluded this. The closest I think I came was in to state: "You merely need to establish the best way to stop her from doing it again." But I followed with the list, "being locked up, psych treatment, whatever." Perhaps your post was merely a non sequitur opportunity to let out some feelings on a rather horrible Individual, which is fair enough.

However, I would hope you can read I'm not suggesting "psych treatment", or any other rehabilitative programme, as a singular and definite solution. Sometimes, "being locked up" forever might be both necessary and sufficient: for example, for repeat offenders who have dishonestly progressed through rehabilitation attempts.

He deserves a bullet in the ear.

Does he? Why?

Or, if the family members of any of the victims wants some hands-on revenge, let them deal with both Garridos in whatever way they choose.

You want to teach society to see anything-goes revenge as a form of justice? What happens when I feel you've wronged me and it just so happens I have a better private security force, public relations team and/or lawyer than you? There are societies with legal systems based on emotional superstition and victim-determined punishments based on emotional revenge. Could you give an example of one which has developed in some way preferable to those based on English common law, where attempts are made from arrest through court to sentencing to avoid personal conflicts of interest?

Re:Fighting Abuse of Power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29250947)

This is true. I want the USA to be seen as the country which lets a murderer(*) go free then allows her to sue the government and win millions.

Well, Drew is clearly not a murderer under the legal definition of murder. Now, you could change the legal definition of murder, or pass additional legislation to make what Drew did illegal, but it is a long standing principle of US law (and some other countries) that you can't be prosecuted for something that was made illegal after you did it.

Most importantly, the egregious acts were NOT COMMITTED BY DREW, but someone else. If anything, the OTHER PERSON should be prosecuted, not Drew.

Now, since Drew was prosecuted by an overzealous district attorney, when it was absolutely clear that Drew did not commit a crime, then the overzealous district attorney should pay the consequences.

Compare with the Duke University rape case [wikipedia.org] . There was absolute proof that the Duke lacrosse players did not rape the complainant. Despite that, the government & Duke treated them as guilty. Once the truth came out, the lacrosse players sued, and won big. The overzealous district attorney was disbarred.

The abuses of the state are by far the worst that can occur. It is far worse to put the innocent in jail than to let the guilty go free.

Re:Fighting Abuse of Power (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29250969)

re: On the contrary, the mind is just another biological function, and driving someone to suicide (i.e. by manipulating their mind until they think of death as the only way out) is as much murdering them as pushing them onto a sword.

Are you out of your mind? ;-) This implies that if an unstable individual listens to music that drives him/her to suicide, then the person(s) that performed and/or wrote the music is guilty of murder.

Re:Fighting Abuse of Power (5, Interesting)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | about 5 years ago | (#29251051)

This implies that if an unstable individual listens to music that drives him/her to suicide, then the person(s) that performed and/or wrote the music is guilty of murder.

Are the performers and writers playing this music intentionally over a period of time in such a way ostensibly as to harass this individual? Is it planned meticulously to cause distress? As interrogators might play loud music for hours every day to break your "unstable" mind while they also aim bright lights at you and threaten you or your family, say? If so, yes, the involved performers/writers are murderers.

If you mean that just listening to this song (e.g. once on the radio) drove the individual to killing himself, then you'll need to provide some evidence that the person's decision to commit suicide came about in a significant way from listening to the song. Do you have one example of this, anywhere? There are many examples in psych and popular literature of people killing themselves after being exposed to a concerted bullying campaign, you see, but I'm yet to find anyone written up who had no intention of suicide before listening to a song, but killed himself right after.

And no points for the Gloomy Sunday urban legend, sorry.

Re:Fighting Abuse of Power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29251585)

Wrong the music is not directed at a specific person as in this case

Re:Fighting Abuse of Power (1)

KillerBob (217953) | about 5 years ago | (#29251099)

Are you out of your mind? ;-) This implies that if an unstable individual listens to music that drives him/her to suicide, then the person(s) that performed and/or wrote the music is guilty of murder.

I suspect the GP would draw a distinction between music driving somebody to suicide and making a fraudulent online identity to drive somebody to suicide. If for no other reason, then on grounds of intent. Music isn't generally written with the expressed purpose of tormenting somebody to the point that they end up killing themselves. But it's pretty hard to argue that Drew had anything other than tormenting and harrassing the child in mind when she set up a fake identity to be her boyfriend.

Re:Fighting Abuse of Power (1)

TRRosen (720617) | about 5 years ago | (#29251491)

Thats absolutely true if the musician intended to cause mental anguish to that specific person.

Re:Fighting Abuse of Power (3, Interesting)

Pecisk (688001) | about 5 years ago | (#29251497)

Nope, it is right. There is special note however - indent is important. Musician who writes a song about guy who is fed up with life and want peace and happiness isn't targeting someone to make sucide, he just expreses the way he feels sometime (or maybe all the time). If someone it gives last punch to do what they intended to do - well, it's harsh, but more or less it's still their decision to listen to this music.

These adults aim was to harm emotionally girl as much as possible. They had a reason, indent and they did it without any remorse. It could get clasified in some countries as 'driving someone to sucide' and is criminal case. Strangely, US dismiss such responsibility about humans.

Re:Fighting Abuse of Power (5, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | about 5 years ago | (#29251013)

People who go around saying that a twelve year old girl should just "toughen up" really piss me off. Even if her attackers and harassers were her own age, it could be brutal and destructive, but in this case the harassers included a group of adults conspiring against her to cause her harm. That has to count for something. It's bullshit to say that a child should just "toughen up" against the orchestrated attacks and manipulations of full grown fucking adults.

If you're a balanced normal adult, you should be able to take a lot of crap and let it roll off your back. But there would certainly be legal consequences if, say, your spouse had serious mental and emotional problems that they were being treat\ed for and you went out of your way to orchestrate their mental torture and abuse and took advantage of their unbalanced state (hell, in many places, you can't take advantage of someone simply in a drunk state and there are protections for consumers who make large purchases and think otherwise within 72 hours!).

And yet... when it comes to a twelve year old girl... she's somehow supposed to be a solid fucking stoic rock. Not only against other children, but fucking adults three or four times her age. Lori Drew reminds me of that movie where the guys pretend to like that girl, but really it's all a game they're playing to make her feel loved and wanted and then they all drop her like a rock on the same day to see if they can collectively drive her to suicide. Except the guy who did that here wasn't a 17 year old boy but a 30-something year old woman and her family.

I'm not saying that we should put in peril every American's rights here just to prosecute this one insignificant twat. I guess considering what the prosecutors were trying her on, the judge did the only right thing that could be done. But that doesn't make the outcome any more pleasant. Justice for all had to trump over justice for one dead kid. And even though it was probably right... it still fucking sucks.

Re:Fighting Abuse of Power (4, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#29251083)

No, she's not meant to be solid as a rock, she's meant to have an emotional support system in place, in the form of her parents, her peers, and her teachers (but most especially her parents). If her parents were not giving her this kind of emotional support then I would be perfectly happy for that to be classed as criminal negligence or wilful neglect, but in the media-powered US judicial system you can't go after the parents. If a child is so emotionally fragile that she can be talked into suicide by someone she has never met face to face, her parents are failing in their duty. If a twelve-year-old is allowed to develop close relationships with people she know knows online without being educated that people online often lie or misrepresent themselves, then her parents are failing in their responsibility.

Re:Fighting Abuse of Power (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29251367)

If the schools aren't capable of educating children that people lie then they are failing in their responsibility.

If God isn't capable of creating people without emotional instability, then he is failing in his responsibility.

Guess what? You're a fucking idiot! Have a shitty rest of your life. Now go commit suicide so we can clean up the gene pool.

Re:Fighting Abuse of Power (2, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 5 years ago | (#29251383)

sudo mod theraven64 up.

Having lived through an abused childhood, I have near zero sympathy for kids who are such losers that they can't face life's challenges. Not quite zero, but near it. This girl who committed suicide because some boy she had never met apparently turned on her isn't very far up the food chain from the idiots who choose to "go out in a blaze of glory" while shooting up their school. She was weak and unstable, and she chose to suicide. Her lack of a support group contributed, yes, but the fact remains, she failed.

I've seen someone's sig - "Instead of child proofing the world, let's world proof the child!" Damned good advice - I just can't remember where I've seen the sig.

Re:Fighting Abuse of Power (1)

ZosX (517789) | about 5 years ago | (#29251607)

I thought my opinion would be the minority, but it seems well supported here. I'm sorry, but life can be tough and challenging on many levels and if you cannot adapt even at age 12 and decide to off yourself, then I say its called thinning the herd. Sure the story is tragic, but there is a lot of tragedy in life. Lori Drew may be a monster, but she did not kill anyone, or otherwise she would be charged with murder. When I was a child and then later, a teenager, I was harassed on a repeated basis. Obviously this sort of thing leaves long and deep emotional scars, but for as much as I wanted to kill myself (and I still do occasionally when things start breaking apart) I always saw it as the most pussy and selfish way out of it. There are a lot of people in this world that care about me, and even if I were all alone in the world, I would still want to go forward in spite of facing a constant uphill battle. The only way a man reaches the top of the mountain is by climbing. For some reason I purposefully chose the hardest path. Suicide is totally giving in. Or maybe worse is becoming complacent and sitting around and waiting to die. Natural order states that only the strong survive. I never once saw anything inherently wrong with this philosophy. I'd love for some breakdown of society to occur, just if only, so people can come out of their fantasy world and live and breathe in reality for one singular moment. I'm looking at you soccer moms, driving your Honda Odyssey to soccer practice, just down the road from your expensive housing projects, I mean, um, plans. (The newer government built ones do look pretty similar I must admit) I'm looking at you, whathefuckoccino sipping, crackberry tapping, eddie bauer shoes wearing metrosexual freak. Think you can skin a deer? Reload ammo? A lot of people wouldn't make it, but we would survive as we have done as hominids for millions of years. Either you bite the bullet and take life in stride or you put one in your head. I'm sorry this little girl chose the latter, but it was, in the end, her choice to make.

Re:Fighting Abuse of Power (4, Insightful)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | about 5 years ago | (#29251611)

Having lived through an abused childhood, I have near zero sympathy for kids who are such losers that they can't face life's challenges.

I say that people are born with and develop (mostly in very early life) different physical and mental abilities for handling tough circumstances. If you believe that everyone has the potential to act as you did in response to your abuse, you have a fundamental misunderstanding of biology and psychology, and are taking refuge in a non-scientific philosophy. What is more, no two difficult situations are the same, with details being the difference between a seemingly insurmountable and a "merely" challenging situation.

I'm sorry you were abused. Because you chose to reveal this, I ask you please not to turn your unresolved anger into thinly veiled justification for the abuse of others.

Re:Fighting Abuse of Power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29251305)

The "victim" LIED about her age to get on MySpace in the first place. Mom knew about this. If anyone should be charged with murder, it should be the Mom.

She didn't have to toughen up much! Just stop going to MySpace.com and the problem would have been solved.

There's a "reason" for nearly every suicide. Unless the person is doing it because of some terminal illness, there's usually a person or persons to blame. Should DJ AM's girlfriend be charged with murder, too?

Re:Fighting Abuse of Power (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about 5 years ago | (#29251229)

for the last time, in the USofA, if it is not hate speech, not threatening, maybe rude, derogatory, it is called freedom of speech. We understand that it gets abused sometimes, but your choice is either: be able to say what you want (aka comments -> slashdot), or have them moderated by the government. I don't know about you, but I'd rather let a few retarded idiots going "keep your government hands off my medicare" than stifle all speech altogether.

Re:Fighting Abuse of Power (1)

TRRosen (720617) | about 5 years ago | (#29251539)

You half right dummy. Your free to say anything you want. Even if it is threatening or hate speech they can't stop you. they can punish you afterwards for the content of hate speech if directed towards someone or if it is viewed as a threat. But free speech does not absolve you of the responsibility for the end result of anything you say. Speech is an action and actions have consequences. If what you say causes death or injury your still responsible.
Freedom of speech doesn't give you the right to harass someone to the point of suicide any more than the right to bear arms gives you the right to shoot someone.

Re:Fighting Abuse of Power (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29251271)

So what happens if I tell you to go fuck yourself?

Re:Fighting Abuse of Power (5, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | about 5 years ago | (#29250967)

The government chose to use the legal system to make her life a living hell.

The right thing for Drew to do in this case is to sue the government and, specifically, the lead prosecuting attorney. Drew should sue them for mental distress and seek a multi-million dollar award.

Oh, poor, poor lady. Maybe she should hang herself. After all, she's shown *so* much remorse (*eyeroll*) for her actions.

If there was ever a case of harassment that justified some sort of prosecution, it's this one. 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.

She deserves everything she gets coming to her in a negative fashion. She and her family haven't even shown the slightest bit of remorse over what they did. Fuck them.

The only distressing thing here is that in order for her to get what she deserves, the liberties of everybody in this country have to be put in jeopardy. So to avoid setting such precedents, we have to smile and nod and say "sure, she clearly contributed to this girl killing herself, but she gets to continue being a free useless member of society pursuing her own happiness, because prosecutors couldn't come up with something more applicable than TOS violations.

All outcomes in this are miserable, in some way. Even the right one, which it seems won-out.

Re:Fighting Abuse of Power (4, Insightful)

jbolden (176878) | about 5 years ago | (#29250979)

The public was of the opinion that Drew organized a conspiracy to commit petty fraud that indirectly resulted in a death (i.e. manslaughter). Organizing a conspiracy to commit a felony is a crime.

I agree she didn't violate federal law. Missouri should have handled this.

Re:Fighting Abuse of Power (1)

omb (759389) | about 5 years ago | (#29251239)

I absolutely agree, prosecutors MUST be held to account, __but__ also,

This starts a precedent to limit mis-use of the Miss-Use Act.

Re:Fighting Abuse of Power (4, Insightful)

SetupWeasel (54062) | about 5 years ago | (#29251287)

The right thing for Drew to do is shut the fuck up, be grateful for a loophole in the law, change her name, and move far away. If I were that girl's parent, I would spend the rest of my life looking for revenge.

Re:Fighting Abuse of Power (1)

TRRosen (720617) | about 5 years ago | (#29251451)

COOL - its not illegal to use a stolen account and password to access a computer system. Remember that when I'm using your account and password to access all your banking info.

She should sue that why she'll have some more money to pay the settlement to the family of the girl she MURDERED.

Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29250735)

Somewhat unrelated to anything:
It's stupid to withhold sexual assault victims' names while at the same time plastering photos and names of their alleged assailants everywhere. Even if the latter are eventually found innocent, the public will never know and will always picture those people as evil ("Hey, I saw that guy on TV once, and they said he was a rapist! I should stay away from him!").

Isn't this like shouting 'fire' in a theatre? (5, Insightful)

Smidge207 (1278042) | about 5 years ago | (#29250743)

Well, no; there is no such thing as "simply speech." There are plenty of things that you can write on the internet or issue from your mouth that should rightfully result in you being imprisoned. Such as shouting fire in a crowded theatre.

Or:
1. purposefully playing with the emotions of one specific child (not general rants on the internet)
2. a child she knows to have psychologically problems
3. over an extended period of time
4. directly suggesting suicide after manipulating, setting up, and torturing this child

That's not "simply speech". not REMOTELY "simply speech". This is nothing like me calling Rob Malda a douchebag or advocating for greater acceptance of necrophilia or defending the Baptist church or anything else that someone might object to but is obviously free speech. there are lots of free speech that are odious but not criminal.

This does not consider how complicated the interplay between your rights and your responsibilities are in this world. No, you do not get automatic protection from the consequences of EVERYTHING you can possibly say

Re:Isn't this like shouting 'fire' in a theatre? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29250835)

4. directly suggesting suicide after manipulating, setting up, and torturing this child

I don't think that you can call what she did torture. Participation in an online social networking site is not compulsory. Sure, it was rotten, heartless, and disgusting. But, at any moment, the girl could have walked away from the situation.

Re:Isn't this like shouting 'fire' in a theatre? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#29250875)

One aspect I consider important in defending limits on speech is that your right to free speech does not include the right to make me listen. In this case, that line was not crossed. She did not force the other party to pay attention in any way; it would have been a single click to reject all messages from her.

That said, this is not the issue here. The issue is that the government chose to attempt to apply a clearly-irrelevant law on the basis that she is a bad person and deserved punishing for something. That is an incredibly dangerous precedent because it turns the rule of law into the rule of mob emotions. If you can put someone in prison just because the media has decided to vilify them (justly or not), how long do you think your society will remain free?

Re:Isn't this like shouting 'fire' in a theatre? (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 5 years ago | (#29250993)

I think you are exaggerating. Lynching (including non racial) was an American tradition for two centuries until it got exclusively tied with the Klan and the Klan was discredited. Not a good feature but we were still a free society.

Re:Isn't this like shouting 'fire' in a theatre? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29251599)

I think you are exaggerating. Lynching (including non racial) was an American tradition for two centuries until it got exclusively tied with the Klan and the Klan was discredited. Not a good feature but we were still a free society as long as you were in the mob and not targeted by it.

Fixed that for you.

Re:Isn't this like shouting 'fire' in a theatre? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29250909)

Bullshit. Written words on the Internet, or even words spoken out loud, cannot hurt anyone. What can lead to harm is if people reading or heading those words choose (note, this is important!) to then act in a harmful manner.

The person expression those thoughts has caused no harm, and should thus not be held responsible for any harm that may arise. The only people who should be held responsible are those who partook in the actions that actually caused the harm.

If somebody screams "FIRE!" in a theater and causes a stampede, only the stampeders should be blamed for any injuries or deaths that occur. After all, they're the ones who panicked and caused the harm, rather than acting responsibly and leaving the theater in a civilized manner.

Re:Isn't this like shouting 'fire' in a theatre? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29251519)

Humans are social creatures. We care what our peers say. To say, words can't harm us, shows a serious lack of understanding. Abuse by words can be even more destructive to a psyche, than abuse by force.

Re:Isn't this like shouting 'fire' in a theatre? (1)

Mozk (844858) | about 5 years ago | (#29250911)

Okay... but this court case was meant to determine whether violating a website's ToS constitutes a crime under the CFAA—not whether the right to free speech is guaranteed on the Web. I'm all for her going to jail for other things, but not for violating a website's ToS. This is a win for everybody.

Re:Isn't this like shouting 'fire' in a theatre? (1)

HangingChad (677530) | about 5 years ago | (#29250981)

That's not "simply speech". not REMOTELY "simply speech".

I agree with you for the most part. There are lines that free speech does not get to cross, but this case was a little different. The prosecutors were bending the law to make it fit. As much I despise any adult who would play mind games with a child, that doesn't make it okay to reinterpret some law to make the case.

In Mississippi a while back a lady was accused of selling one of her children. The case got a lot of attention because it turned out selling children was not technically illegal in MS. I'm not sure if they found other charges to level against the lady in question and I believe MS has since amended state law to make selling children a crime but I don't think that particular lady ever got charged for that specific crime.

Yes, what the child stalker lady did should be a crime. You have every right to be mad, as a society we should be appalled at stalker lady's behavior. But that doesn't mean we get to make up the law to fit the situation.

Re:Isn't this like shouting 'fire' in a theatre? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#29251091)

But that doesn't mean we get to make up the law to fit the situation.

Making up a law to fit this situation is fine. That's exactly how a lot of laws are made - see something that people feel should be illegal, make a law that codifies this. What you can't do is pass laws that make things illegal retroactively or, as in this case, try her with something largely unrelated just because we agree that she's a bad person.

Re:Isn't this like shouting 'fire' in a theatre? (4, Insightful)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about 5 years ago | (#29251449)

"This is nothing like me calling Rob Malda a douchebag "

And, you're a fucking psychologist, right? You know for certain that Rob Malda is rock stable, that he has never once considered suicide, right? That one more fucking douchebag won't push him over the edge with one more idiot insult? And, because you are a professional psychologist, your insult doesn't imply the same responsibility as some redneck bitch in Missouri improperly getting involved in her daughter's love life - or the life of her daughter's peers.

Get a grip on reality. If Malda suicides after you call him a douchebag, you are just about as responsible as the redneck bitch in Missouri.

We should all be grateful that this particular case has been thrown out. Very few of us on slashdot use our proper names - obviously putting us into the same class of predator as Lori Drew - at least in the mind of an overzealous prosecutor who doesn't like what we might have to say.

Once again, I remind people that the proper course of action in this case would have been CIVIL, not criminal. We don't need more criminal law on the books, there is already enough to make criminals of all of us. We especially don't need criminal law that threatens free speech.

Yeah.. okay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29250745)

Here is was bugs me about cases like these: if it was a matter of conflicting aspects of law, I could see bringing a trial to seek resolution, but more it seems things are decided on whim and substantuating it with a very tortured reading of the law. It debases the very concept of rule of law.

Good to see it was ultimately dismissed, but that such a shakey claim was event brought to trial (and the requsite trouble it causes for involved parties) seems vindictive, and just furthers the idea that our system of justice is a sham.

Karma Police (0)

Dolphinzilla (199489) | about 5 years ago | (#29250765)

I am sure that eventually the horrible wrong she committed will be balanced - Karma has a way of working things out !

Re:Karma Police (5, Interesting)

thisnamestoolong (1584383) | about 5 years ago | (#29250807)

I am sure that eventually the horrible wrong she committed will be balanced - Karma has a way of working things out !

No it doesn't. Unfortunately, as much as I would like to say that there is something to that, karma is total bullshit. I mean, Hitler committed suicide before we could get to him -- how's that for karma? Or the evil, scumfuck businessmen who defraud the world of billions of dollars only to die of natural causes after getting fat, rich, and happy at the expense of the world? I wish there were something to be said for karma, but alas, it seems that ordinary means of revenge and retribution are all we have. As for Lori Drew, she will be punished by those around her for the rest of her life -- everyone knows who she is and what she has done and she will be an outcast forever. There's nothing mystical about that.

Re:Karma Police (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29250859)

Karma appeals to lazy people who want some sort of mystical deity/force to handle justice for them, absolving society of the responsibility.

Re:Karma Police (1)

donaggie03 (769758) | about 5 years ago | (#29251107)

There's a reality TV show I saw the other day where the main character balances Karma by getting rid of bad people after the court system fails to do so. The show is called Dester or something like that.

Re:Karma Police (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#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:Karma Police (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | about 5 years ago | (#29251363)

Well Hitler did take his own life because of his actions and the fat businessman dies because of his abuses of the things he stole so i think karma is fulfilled here don't ya think?

On to the civil case (3, Insightful)

voss (52565) | about 5 years ago | (#29250809)

Sue that witch into the ground, take every asset she owns.

It may not bring megan back but if it discourages some other jerk from doing the same thing it will be worth it.

Unfortunate neccesity (5, Interesting)

onyxruby (118189) | about 5 years ago | (#29250821)

This was truly an unfortunate necessity for the best interest of civil liberties. The reasoning that this case was presented would have made criminals of a great many people for things that should not be criminalized. I understand the charges would have essentially criminalized breaking TOS for a web site, something that simply should not be a criminal action. Will used against this evil bitch who does richly deserve prison, it would set a bad legal precedent.

That being said, I would still like to find a way to charge her with something appropriate, such as a lesser murder charge, as well as holding her civilly responsible (such as how oj still got held civilly) responsible for the murders he committed)

Re:Unfortunate neccesity (2, Insightful)

TRRosen (720617) | about 5 years ago | (#29251593)

She didn't violate the TOS she used a stolen account and password. Just because the person she stole them from was a figment of her imagination doesn't change a thing, She logged in with someone else's password. Thats the definition of unauthorized access.

Does Ms. Drew deserve to go to jail? (4, Insightful)

Constantin (765902) | about 5 years ago | (#29250823)

IIRC, Ms. Drew, family, and an employee went to elaborate lengths to ensnare a susceptible and troubled teenager in a web of lies, followed by making very pointed suggestions for the teenager to commit suicide. What legal basis to prosecute her under is one question... but if the allegations are true, there is certainly a moral basis for ostracizing her, which is apparently what happened in her community.

I really hope I misread this article, but... (1)

lbalbalba (526209) | about 5 years ago | (#29250825)

Does this imply that bullying someone (especially underage or pre-teen childeren), by including but not limited to, claiming that 'The world would be a better place without you', up till the point that they feel so miserable that they commit suicide, is somehow not illegal and cannot be punished by law ?

Re:I really hope I misread this article, but... (1, Insightful)

lukas84 (912874) | about 5 years ago | (#29250851)

The world is a bad and cruel place. Everyone needs to learn that at some point.

The law and police protect civilization as a whole, not the individual. As such, as an individual, injustice may be done to without anything happening.

It's just how the world works.

Re:I really hope I misread this article, but... (1)

KillerBob (217953) | about 5 years ago | (#29251233)

The world is a bad and cruel place. Everyone needs to learn that at some point.

You're right, but this is a case where somebody has abused their experience and better understanding of the human psyche in order to augment the nature of the harrassment that was ocurring. The woman had been on this planet for 20 years longer than her victim. In that time, she'd learned a great deal about what buttons to push and what to avoid saying. She had a great deal more experience, and that's really the gravity of the crime.

See... her victim wasn't another adult. It was a 12-year old child with mental illness (depression). Quite frankly, most 12-year olds have not been on the planet long enough to learn that the world can be a cruel place. People do need to learn that fact, but not at the expense of their childhood... most of us learn it in our teens/early 20's, not when we're still counting our age by quarter and half years, and have yet to see our first decade through. Add into that the effects that raging hormones can have on a pubescent body, as well as the fact that she was clinically depressed, and you have a recipe for an extremely confused and upset person who is not mentally equipped to deal with somebody like Drew. Somebody nearly 3x their age who is using her experience and understanding in order to specifically make her *more* miserable.

I've been clinically depressed. I've been suicidal. I wasn't much older than Drew's victim the first time I threatened to kill myself. I know, first hand, that this was not somebody who could deal with that kind of harrassment. And had Drew had any sort of sense or conscience, she would have realized that the child needed help, not another tormentor. The woman is psychopath, in the clinical sense.

Now, I do think that the feds screwed up in her prosecution. She should have been charged with child abuse, being a sexual predator, or any number of laws that she actually did break. They wanted a high profile online case, and so they tried using that vector to prosecute. What they should have done is treated it the same way they'd have treated her actions if they were done offline. I can only hope that it'll balance out in a civil case, but it's small penance for what she's done.

Re:I really hope I misread this article, but... (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about 5 years ago | (#29251255)

Is how the world works, yes... but, you do not need to agree with this.

Re:I really hope I misread this article, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29250865)

Yes. This type of thing is a social matter; not a legal one. The woman who made the teenager commit suicide will indeed not be punished by the powers that be, but she will be rejected by her peers because now everyone knows what a bitch she is. Just acting like an asshole isn't grounds for prosecution.

(of course, harassement is another thing altogether, it goes beyond just acting like an asshole)

Re:I really hope I misread this article, but... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 5 years ago | (#29250893)

For a given value of bullying, where bullying means never meeting the person in the real world and only sending them messages through a trivially-blocked panel, yes. Unfortunately, it also means that failing to bring up your child with any kind of emotional resilience, so that a person represented only by characters on a screen can talk them into suicide doesn't count as criminal neglect, which is a much sadder precedent.

Re:I really hope I misread this article, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29251181)

It doesn't imply anything. Saying those things in and of themselves is not covered by a particular law, which is what's been tying the prosecutors up in civil-liberties endangering knots here. Saying them in a particular manner to someone who you know is going to commit suicide because of them might be covered by a law in some jurisdictions, but using a computer to do so shouldn't make it more or less illegal, which is what the prosecutors were trying to do here. It is important to temper one's disapproval of this act and a desire for revenge (not justice) with a knowlege of what's going to happen if people do try to pass laws against this. Unintended consequences are a bitch, especially for broad behavior-based laws with the inevitable draconian mandatory minimums and of course the lifetime registry published on the Internet that everyone's so fond of these days. We have that for sex offenders--and we all know that nobody ever ends up on those lists who doesn't deserve to be there--not.

Re:I really hope I misread this article, but... (2, Insightful)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about 5 years ago | (#29251273)

Yep, because a lot of people thinks the act of "bullying" is "normal". I personaly calls this "bullshit" and I will sent anyone trying do bullying someone to the hospital ASAP.

Silly question? (4, Interesting)

Darkon (206829) | about 5 years ago | (#29250839)

So does that mean that if I break a web site's terms of service then my access is still 'authorized'? Authorized by whom?

Re:Silly question? (1)

MicktheMech (697533) | about 5 years ago | (#29250867)

No, it means that if you break a web site's ToS you're not committing fraud.

Re:Silly question? (4, Informative)

MathFox (686808) | about 5 years ago | (#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:Silly question? (0, Flamebait)

TRRosen (720617) | about 5 years ago | (#29251257)

Judge Wu is an idiot. TOS is not an issue. SHE never agreed to the TOS. SHE was never authorized to access the systems. Their was no contract. She willfully entered a members only club that she knew she didn't belong to thats trespassing. PERIOD

Re:Silly question? (1)

MathFox (686808) | about 5 years ago | (#29251375)

I have read the article and the verdict and I would call Judge Wu wise and intelligent.
The doorman allowed Mrs. Drew access to the "private club", where she mixed in with the rest of the crowd and talked with Megan, a girl that, because of her age, should not be allowed in the club anyway. Yes, MySpace's door policy leaves something to be desired; it is assumed that the majority of the visitors have not been 100% honest in filling out their application forms.

While Mrs. Drew might have violated the law (Fraud/Impersonation and Harassment), she did not exceed the access to MySpace that she was granted after processing of her application. BTW, we all know that 90% of the girls commit suicide after being dumped by a cyber-boyfriend.

Re:Silly question? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29251527)

When this "victim" joined MySpace she violated the TOS by being 1 year too young.

Re:Silly question? (2, Insightful)

shentino (1139071) | about 5 years ago | (#29250915)

It would only be hacking if she was banned and then evaded.

If that were the case I'd be more inclined to go after her for unauthorized access.

Re:Silly question? (2, Insightful)

Shawndeisi (839070) | about 5 years ago | (#29250949)

You are authorized by the web server which is providing a public facing service. The law for unauthorized acces is intended to cover services which are not public, e.g. I gain access to the shell via an exploit of your web service. If I break your TOS, you're more then welcome to ban me from your public facing service. Simply saying that I'm breaking your TOS while your server happily performs the function that you specifically designed it to do (serve up web pages) and trying to have me prosecuted is ludicrous.

Re:Silly question? (1)

TRRosen (720617) | about 5 years ago | (#29251641)

true (although it was no bearing on this case).
Its like those cases we've seen of people getting in trouble for taking pictures in a store. It's not trespassing to go into the store. It's not trespassing to take a picture in violation of there policys (a Brick and Mortar TOS sortof). It is trespassing if you stay there after they ask you to leave.

Damage is already done (5, Informative)

Shivetya (243324) | about 5 years ago | (#29250869)

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.

It needs to be done now... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29250933)

Whew! Since it's legal, let me do what needs to be done.

Dear Linux Users,

Everyone is sick and God damn tired of your attitude, sense of moral superiority, and most of all your constant lying. Fags like you are the reason Linux will never replace Windows or even OSX. You live a sad and lonely life. The truth is, unlike Megan Meier, this world really would be a better place if you were dead. No longer would we have to put up with your jealous bullshit. No longer would we see one-sided propaganda pieces published by that fat lesbian Carla Schroder. Stallman would have no one left to preach his GNU gospel and shave his beard out of frustration. Kdawson would give up Slashdot and go back to milking bulls on the Amish farm he grew up on. Taco's asshole would stop looking like an Arby's roast beef sandwich. Slowly but surely, life on this planet would get just a little more tolerable.

In closing, you are a miserable piece of shit and not one single person worth a damn would miss your ignorant ass if you were gone. Fuck you.

Harrasment (4, Insightful)

BlueParrot (965239) | about 5 years ago | (#29250937)

Can somebody explain precisely why this woman was not prosecuted under charges of harassment, mental abuse or similar ? Did some lawyer screw up, is the prosecution being twats or is the law just so weird that deliberately trying to hurt somebody by lying to them with the specific intention to cause harm is not criminal?

Don't get me wrong, charging her for violating a ToS was bullshit, but I just don't see why what she did would not be a violation of at least some other law. Libel, slander and bashing ethnic minorities is illegal, so why is deliberately trying to hurt a minor through carefully targeted verbal abuse, lies and harassment not? That it happened over the Internet is surely tangential to the real issue here, which is that a very cruel woman set out to mentally abuse a child.

Re:Harrasment (1)

jbolden (176878) | about 5 years ago | (#29251017)

I'm not sure how she meets the criteria for harassment. That requires involuntary / forced contact. Meier engaged in the contact voluntarily but under false pretenses. I don't know what mental abuse is i'm not sure any state has a law against it.

The closest crime I can come up with is manslaughter.

Re:Harrasment (3, Informative)

Loadmaster (720754) | about 5 years ago | (#29251473)

Intentional infliction of emotional distress is an intentional tort.

Elements:
      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:Harrasment (4, Informative)

Lehk228 (705449) | about 5 years ago | (#29251029)

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.

glad its not considered terrorism... (0, Flamebait)

mwilliamson (672411) | about 5 years ago | (#29250997)

Finally a sane ruling. I'm happily surprized a court didn't rule that breaking a website's T.O.S. is an act of domestic terrorism, punishable by loss of citizenship and infinite water boarding at guantanamo followed by an eternity in hell.

Hey! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29251087)

We don't take kindly to cases being dismissed around here!

I just do not understand the judge! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29251119)

If, as a matter of law, the charges were not legitimate, why the fuck didn't the judge make that determination and dismiss before trial???

stupid judge (0, Flamebait)

TRRosen (720617) | about 5 years ago | (#29251193)

Explain to me exactly how the fact that she accessed a computer system that she did not have authority to access isn't 'unauthorized access'.

Notes
She never violated the TOS. The TOS is a contract which she never agreed to (the nonexistent user she created did).

Giving false info to obtain something of value is a crime. PERIOD. Just because everybody on this site commits it doesn't change the fact that its a crime (just like speeding).

If you willfully commit a crime and it leads to someone's death, by law, its murder. Even if you just steal a candy bar and the clerk has a heart attack chasing you its murder.

THIS LADY IS A MURDERER. Plain and simple no if ands or buts.

Re:stupid judge (2, Interesting)

OSPolicy (1154923) | about 5 years ago | (#29251441)

It is possible that you are not a skilled lawyer. Starting with the easy stuff first...

>Giving false info to obtain something of value is a crime. PERIOD.

Incorrect. First, I may mistakenly give false information by, for example, accidentally transposing digits in a phone number on a form. Not a crime.

Second, I may give false information that is not material to the transaction. For example, when dealing with someone who has the discretion to complete a transaction with me or someone else but not both (i.e., has a single item for sale and two potential buyers) and who is wearing an ugly hat, I may tell that person that the hat is attractive in an attempt to get the person to deal with me. Not a crime.

Third, the thing of value may not be something that the court feels like adjudicating. I man tell you that I will lower your taxes if you give me your vote, which is something of value. Not a crime.

Numerous other examples suggest themselves. Not crimes.

>She never violated the TOS. The TOS is a contract which she never agreed to (the nonexistent user she created did).

If you enter into a contract, say to buy a house, and sign the name of a non-existent person at the bottom, your imaginary friend did not just enter into a contract - you did. The signature element of a contract is satisfied by the parties giving objectively reasonable indications that they intend to enter a contract. Nodding ones head, stating agreement orally, or making a mark of whatever sort (a signature, a big red X, whatever) are all acceptable indications. Crossing your fingers behind your back, mentally adding certain reservations of which the other party is unaware, and using someone else's name are all things that do not negate the agreement to be bound by the contract.

Depraved Indifference (3, Interesting)

Crashspeeder (1468723) | about 5 years ago | (#29251247)

I'm of the belief that she knew what she was doing and chose to let this girl die, even goading her on to kill herself. I don't see how this is, in any way, different than doing so in person. She should be held accountable for her actions. This woman is the scum of the earth.

I've had words with people before but I've never attempted to talk somebody into committing suicide. I also tend not to get into arguments with minors. What in the world could possibly lead somebody to think this ever sounded like a good idea?

Where's Dexter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#29251403)

....when you need him?

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