Is Being Mean Online a Federal Crime?

Remember Lori Drew, the Missouri woman accused of playing a cruel prank on Megan Meier, a 13-year-old girl who killed herself afterward? On MySpace, Drew allegedly pretended to be a boy who at first befriended Meier, a former friend of her daughter's, and then turned on her, saying "the world would be a better place" without her. After looking into the case, local and state law enforcement authorities could not find any criminal laws that Drew had broken. But last week Thomas P. O'Brien, the U.S. attorney for the Central District of California, brought four federal charges against her: one count of conspiracy and three counts of accessing a computer without authorization via interstate commerce to obtain information to inflict emotional distress. Each count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. "To my knowledge it is the first case of its kind in the nation," O'Brien said. "But when an adult violates terms on a MySpace account to gain information that creates this type of reaction, it caused this office to take a really hard look."

A little too hard, I'd say. O'Brien is by no means alone in wanting to hold Drew at least partly responsible for Meier's death, but the law does not allow him to do so. So instead he has resorted to legal contortions aimed at converting Drew's violation of MySpace rules into a federal crime. (The rationale for indicting Drew in California, by the way, is that MySpace is based in Beverly Hills.) There are plenty of reprehensible things people do that are not and should not be crimes. One of them is being mean to emotionally vulnerable people. Since individual reactions to insults are unpredictable and highly variable, a rule that criminalized speech when it leads to suicide or other forms of self-harm would chill any expression more negative than "Nice day, isn't it?" Because there is no such rule, O'Brien has twisted a law aimed at fraud, spying, vandalism, and child pornography into an excuse to punish a woman everyone hates. 

Back in 2003, George Washington University law professor Orin Kerr warned that broadly construed laws against unauthorized computer access could "criminalize contract law on the Internet, potentially making millions of Americans criminals for the way they write e-mail and surf the Web."

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  • Naga Sadow||

    So . . . basically everyone who posts here could be charged with a felony? BULLSHIT!

  • Naga Sadow||

    I'm going to lobby my congressman for exemptions to trolls like Edward, Neil, and Joe!

  • ||

    This is how joe can destroy us all...

    All he needs to do is kill himself.


    ...

  • ||

    So when I tell Edward/MK2 to "Go here," I'm a criminal? Who knew?

  • ||

    Neil, the world would be a better place without you.

    ::crosses fingers::

  • Plant Immigration Rights Suppo||

    "Since individual reactions to insults are unpredictable and highly variable, a rule that criminalized speech when it leads to suicide or other forms of self-harm would chill any expression more negative than "Nice day, isn't it?""

    That is a real danger. The woman who did this is a bitch who should be shunned from mainstream society but criminalizing what she did would be very very dangerous.

  • ||

    Well -- it would lead to shorter and less interesting threads:

    joe: You have some excellent points there, Neil, about the merits of a Republican president. I gainsay there would be positive aspects to that.

    Neil: Well, I agree Obama would be the best far-left Muslim president we've ever had.

  • Naga Sadow||

    J sub D,

    I think you're safe on that one(great picture by the way). I have this feeling that Edward is used to rejection from hot women.

  • ||

    All he needs to do is kill himself.

    Don't do it Joe!

    It's a trap!

  • Episiarch||

    These types of cases suck, but are the most important to defend. This woman is a piece of shit, but what she did isn't criminal, shouldn't be criminal, and cannot be allowed to be defined as criminal.

  • Plant Immigration Rights Suppo||

    "I agree Obama would be the best far-left Muslim president we've ever had."

    I think the anti-Obama forces do themselves a disservice when they try to perpetuate the rumor that he is Muslim. How can you simultaneously say Obama agrees with everything said by Rev. Write (a Christian preacher) AND claim he is a Muslim. There seems to be a disconnect there.

  • Episiarch||

    It's a trap!

    Admiral Akbar, is that you?

  • ||

    three counts of accessing a computer without authorization via interstate commerce to obtain information to inflict emotional distress.

    Where do you aply for authorization to access a computer to inflict emotional distress?

  • ||

    It's too bad a girl had to kill herself, instead of learning the most valuable lesson when dealing with the Internet:
    Most people aren't who they say they are, or as mean as they come across as.

    Having said that, I'm Jamie Kelly and I fucking hate all you assholes.

  • Plant Immigration Rights Suppo||

    "Where do you aply for authorization to access a computer to inflict emotional distress?"

    The Ministry of Love in London, Airstrip One.

  • ||

    BTW, don't kill yourself in your grief at that last statement. I don't like butt sex from fat, tattooed men.

  • ||

    I don't like butt sex from fat, tattooed men.

    Methinks thou dost protest too much...

  • ||

    I love y'all! Seriously, I post so rarely, but it's just wonderful to come to these threads and find people who agree with me.

    The death of this girl was tragic. The way this woman acted was cruel. She should be shunned, she could be sued. She shouldn't be charged criminally. Everything is not - should not be - a crime. And yet, most people want someone punished, criminally, when something tragic happens.

    Everyone I know think this woman should obviously be charged w/ SOMETHING (well, not my public defender Father in law, but everyone else).

    I (the daughter of a personal injury lawyer) just think she needs a heck of a lawsuit against her. And a really miserable remainder of days.

  • ||

    1) Lori Drew would seem to be an awful person incapable of acting like an empathetic adult. 2) Preying on the emotional vulnerability of a (probably emo) 13-Y.O. is fucking reprehensible.

    Despite all this...it's like everyone else says. If fucking someone up emotionally is a crime, that's also a whole awful can of worms.

    That said: I'm not sure this Lori Drew person could be a fit or responsible mother.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Where's all the hate for enforcing a contract coming from?

    Myspace and this woman had a contractual agreement...she broke the contract.

    Maybe this should be a civil case instead, but surely punishing her behavior (i.e., breaking a contract) is not out of bounds.

    And clearly this is an interstate contract, so the feds seem like the proper authority.

    No?

  • Neu Mejican||

    http://www1.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=misc.terms

    Section 8.2; 8.5, and 8.7, at least, were violated.

  • BakedPenguin||

    And a really miserable remainder of days.



    Like almost everyone else here, I agree that this should not be a crime. I also agree with the above statement - it's good to know that the "emotional distress" she caused will be paid back to her by nearly everyone who finds out what she has done.

  • ||

    No?

    No.
    The federal government is only empowered to enforce interstate commerce as it applies to criminal activity, not civil matters.
    At best, the state may have in interest in seeing if she is fit to retain her parental rights. There also may be a civil action against her for infliction of emotional distress.
    To criminalize her actions is to criminalize being a jerk. And if that were the case, everybody'd be in prison, with joe in particular on a greased rail to the death house.

  • ||

    humpf.... Raich will allow this. All you gotta do is somehow invoke interstate commerce, and, whaa laa, federal case.

    I would like to thing that in the future, Raich will be considered a case like Dredd Scott, Korematsu, Plessy vs. Furgeson.

    Of course I have little hope; Wickard v. Filburn seemed to be universally mocked for its utter stupidity only to be used as precedent for Raich.

  • Plant Immigration Rights Suppo||

    "Maybe this should be a civil case instead, but surely punishing her behavior (i.e., breaking a contract) is not out of bounds."

    If she signed a EULA or something like it she should be sued for that. If she broke the EULA in this case it is serious, far more serious than handing your copy of Windows XP to your neighbor who can't stand Vista. I hope she did and I hope she looses her house, her car and all of her designer shoes over this. But SHE SHOULD NOT GO TO JAIL.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Jamie,

    Like I said, seems a civil case makes more sense...you seem to agree.

    But they are hardly criminalizing her "being mean/being a jerk" with this case, imho...

    Seems like the case is more about the fraud used to gain personal information about a minor...which might have gotten away with had she not been an abusive jerk...than the "jerk-like" behavior she engaged in once she had that information.

    I don't see how this case is setting the precedent that is alluded to above.

  • ||

    Myspace and this woman had a contractual agreement...she broke the contract.

    Because the law being used is not simply a law about violating TOS. It's about unauthorized access and subsequent commission of particular acts.

    The H&R post should have also included Orin Kerr's follow-up to his initial paper on the subject.

    And here is the statute in question.

  • Neu Mejican||

    In other words, I don't see the slippery slope towards on-line insults leading to jail time...even when using anonymous identities.

    Just don't see it.

  • Sulla||

    "Maybe this should be a civil case instead, but surely punishing her behavior (i.e., breaking a contract) is not out of bounds."

    Generally speaking, there is no real concept of "punishment" in contract law, which is why any thought of criminal penalties for breaching the EULA is particularly ridiculous. At least under the common law, contracts are thought of as means to allow parties to order commerce in a mutually beneficial fashion, so people must be free to efficiently breach a contract. The purpose of a remedy for a breach of contract is not to "punish" the breacher, but to make the innocent party whole. Liquidated damages must be reasonably related to the damages of the innocent party, otherwise they will be thrown out as overly punitive.

    The better approach is to see her actions as a tort, where her actions can be "punished".

  • Sulla||

    In other words, I don't see the slippery slope towards on-line insults leading to jail time...even when using anonymous identities.

    Just don't see it.


    It does seem like a stretch, but it is still worrisome to expand contract law to include the idea of "punishment."

  • Neu Mejican||

    MP,

    Thanks for the article/link.

    I disagree with the assessment in "problem two."

    Ignorance of the terms is not a defense.

  • ||

    Again, this is not a contract law question. The TOS violation is only being used as a bridge to classify Ms. Drew's usage of myspace.com as "unauthorized access".

  • ||

    Where's all the hate for enforcing a contract coming from? Myspace and this woman had a contractual agreement...she broke the contract.

    That would not make it a penal case.


    Maybe this should be a civil case instead, but surely punishing her behavior (i.e., breaking a contract) is not out of bounds.

    Really? Where do you draw the line then, Neu? Because you are talking about punishing with jail someone who was just being mean. Do you nearly understand the implications of that?

    And clearly this is an interstate contract, so the feds seem like the proper authority.

    It is A contract, Neu. The Feds have no authority pursuing this case, unless by contorting the vague laws that exist right now. If you agree they can, then not one is safe, and anything you do can become a crime, by caprice of the State.

    In other words, I don't see the slippery slope towards on-line insults leading to jail time...even when using anonymous identities. Just don't see it.

    Would it be that you simply refuse to see it, considering this is another notch in your State-lovin' Totem pole?

  • Windypundit||

    I don't see the slippery slope towards on-line insults leading to jail time

    Insults, no, probably not. But imagine the legal carnage at the online dating sites! Did you say you were 6'1" and an investment banker when you're really 5'11" and a bank teller? The Terms and Conditions said you're not supposed to lie, so it's off to federal prison for you!

  • ||

    The slippery slope is making violation of a private contract a government crime. This is really, really scary.

    Also, humans should be responsible for their own suicides for fuck's sake.

  • John||

    Yeah, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress is a tort so maybe the civil side is the better route...IIED is probably open-and-shut here...however im not that sure the criminal side is any worse than the tort action if you set aside imprisonment. Certain speech is still prohibited in tort, by state action, and people lose homes, savings, etc. to judgment

    The author here seems to suggest that the subjective state of mind determines the crime in intentional infliction cases. However that is not true, usually the standard is "would a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances have experienced severe emotional distress as a result of defendant's actions"

    Also the author implied that causal "nice day" talk could lead to liability, but I think you have to actually intend to inflict emotional distress or at least do so knowingly.

    I don't mean to nitpick but I think the author is being a little cavalier with his slippery slope argument and failing also to recognize that the state already sanctions this type of conduct through punitive/compensatory awards in tort.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    There is a whole body of law that protects the interests of minors with respect to their interaction with adults. It would seem that if the victim was 23 instead of 13 things would be entirely different. Yes I realize that is irrelevant to the specific charges. My question is why it should be?

    Course, if it was my kid the Drew would do well to pray for a long incarceration. And, predictably enough, this wouldn't likely happen to my kids.

  • John||

    contract here seems pretty irrelevant except as an in on the "unauthorized" part of the crime definition, which is pretty standard, e.g. I can enter you home or use your car if we contracted for me to have that right, but it would be a crime if i just took your car or snuck into your house.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    The slippery slope is making violation of a private contract a government crime

    That slope has been down in the ravine for many decades. Private contract only counts if it is a government approved private contract. I'm sure you can think of many private contractual contract arrangements that would land you in jail. Like having two wives and buying a hooker (or a joint). Or maybe you'd like to offer an adults only apartment rentals. Maybe you don't want to hire fat people. Feel free to fill in your choice-de-jure

  • Ben in DC||

    I think that the article, and a substantial amount of the posts in this thread misinterpret what has happened here. It's not the mean comments that got this woman in trouble... it was the misrepresentation of herself as a teenage boy...and I hate to say it, but as far as government over-reaches go, compared to the many overreaches we see detailed on Reason.com, this is one that I like to see... compare this attempt to chill fraudulent dealings with minors to the attempts to shut down dancing and pool halls... here, at least, the conduct that is to be chilled by government intervention is reprehensible.

  • NP||

    Lori Drew is an infantile scumbag whom most of us would be glad to see behind bars, but Jacob's right, O'Brien is overreaching in this case. Let's just hope that she's at least mature enough to see the (well-deserved) negative attention she's gotten as the punishment it is.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    It would seem that if the victim was 23 instead of 13 things would be entirely different. Yes I realize that is irrelevant to the specific charges. My question is why it should be?



    After RTF indictment, I realized that this is not irrelevant to the charges at all. It seems to be a major factor. Sort of like if Drew was soliciting a 13 year old for sex instead of for death.

  • greenish||

    So obviously. a lot of people really dislike this person now, and want to see her suffer, which is, I think, totally cool. But just reaching straight for the prosecution - what a lack of imagination! Whatever happened to vigorous ostracism?

  • ||

    Meier (the dead girl) committed fraud as well. You have to be 14 to sign-up for MySpace.

  • ||

    Wine Commonsewer, the examples you give seem to be cases where federal law prevents you from entering into certain types of contract or punishes behavior whether you've contracted to do it or not. That really isn't the same as punishing someone for failure to comply with the terms of a private contract.

  • B||

    If police are going to claim teasing makes a suicide more closely akin to a homicide, than the jails are going to get a lot more full. Yes it is a shame that some unbalanced kid killed herself over such a triviality, but what this woman did should in no way be criminal.

  • B||

    "This is how joe can destroy us all...

    All he needs to do is kill himself."


    Please, don't get my hopes up.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Oh Woofie, there ya go, blaming the victim. [taps foot insistently]

  • Fluffy||

    I honestly don't really dislike this woman, nor do I see any reason to want her to suffer, to be punished, or to lose a civil or criminal case.

    As I understand the sequence of events in this case, the girl who committed suicide had been involved in harassing/bullying the woman's daughter, so she invented the fake identity to insinuate herself into the online social world this all happened in and indulged in a little harassment of her own.

    I honestly don't have the big problem with that which all of the rest of you seem to have.

    MP, thanks for posting the statute. First of all, I think many aspects of the statute are absurd. For one thing, I don't think speech that would not be criminal if conducted in person can be magically tranformed into criminal speech if it occurs online in violation of some company's EULA, sorry.

    Also, I think this prosecutor's interpretation of the statute is relying on the legal conceit that the EULA violation "resulted in harm to a person", and that seems like an awfully broad interpretation of someone's suicide. Ultimately I think a person's suicide entirely belongs to them and them alone, unless someone mechanically assists them, and being mean to someone cannot in the absence of such assistance can't be said to "cause" a suicide. MAYBE if the fake identity had entered into a fake suicide pact with the girl, I could ALMOST [but not quite] see the prosecutor's case here. But that's not what happened.

    Basically the prosecutor's entire case is relying on the fact that people don't like this defendant to make absurd new case law and stretch an existing statute in a ridiculous and abusive way. This prosecutor is a much more loathsome person than the defendant could ever be, no matter how many 13 year old's she trolled or rickrolled. This prosecutor is the kind of guy who would have prosecuted a black person with no evidence in the Old South, counting on the jury's prejudice to win his case.

  • ||

    I blame the dead girls parents. It was their responsibility to monitor her computer use.

  • ktc2||

    This case REALLY, REALLY made me want this woman punished severely . . . but after much deliberation it simply isn't a criminal matter.

    She's a hateful evil bitch and I'd love to see her face and name widely published along with what she did so everyone who sees her can tell her that.

  • B||

    " think the anti-Obama forces do themselves a disservice when they try to perpetuate the rumor that he is Muslim. How can you simultaneously say Obama agrees with everything said by Rev. Write (a Christian preacher) AND claim he is a Muslim. There seems to be a disconnect there."


    Yeah, ok, because what Rev. Wright said is so indicative of Christianity. Why just yesterday, I opened up to the book of Matthew and read the following passage: "And lo, jesus spake unto his followers and said God Damn America, and may its chickens one day roosteth."
    Please. Nothing Wright said that has made him the pariah he is today was even remotely Christian. And even if it were, it has been demonstrated quite effectively that Obama will do just about anything for political expediency.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Parse, point taken.

  • NP||

    greenish,

    I agree with you on the prosecution part, but at the same time I don't think "vigorous ostracism" is the answer. Remember, Lori Drew (most likely) didn't mean this to happen, and similarly we don't know what people we ostracize--that includes Drew--might do to themselves. If another tragedy ensues then we will have to hold ourselves partly responsible. That would be low and hypocritical on our part.

    Still, Drew deserves all the condemnation she has gotten so far. What's really infuriating about her is that not only has she yet to show any remorse for her actions, but she also had the effrontery to confront Megan's mother to whine about the negative publicity she herself had brought about.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    I blame the dead girls parents. It was their responsibility to monitor her computer use.

    Which, of course, goes to my earlier remark that this probably wouldn't happen to my kids. Cuz we're nosy parents.

    I read the indictment. It doesn't seem to be about breaking the contract per se. It is about BREAKING THE CONTRACT WITH THE INTENT TO SCREW WITH A MINOR in the same sense as lying to a 13 year old to get them to meet you for sex when you're really a fifty year old bald paunchy loser.

    That is somewhat different than just a flat criminal charge for breech of contract. Now, if you want to argue that there shouldn't be *those* kinds of laws, fine.

    Of course we all know that the US Attorney is just trying to finagle a way to shit all over this bitch, even if it means coming up with yet another trick or technicality that the justice system is good at.

    For the record, I tend to agree that vigilante justice would be preferred in this case.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Remember, Lori Drew (most likely) didn't mean this to happen, and similarly we don't know what people we ostracize--that includes Drew--might do to themselves.

    One could only hope and good riddance. Sorry, that woman forfeited her right to compassion when she set out to make a 13 year old girl's life a living hell. For fun.

    I'd be happy to mail her some rusty razor blades with instructions on how to draw a hot bath.

  • Xmas||

    I dunno. Lori Drew knew Meier was suicidal. Her daughter had been friends with Meier and Meier's parents had passed on the knowledge that Meier was suicidal.

    Fraud aside, intentionally doing something that you know will harm an individual seems to me to be some sort of criminal activity.

  • Taktix&#174||

    I blame the dead girls parents. It was their responsibility to monitor her computer use.

    RAmen.

    What if this had been a sleezy, 45-year old child molester rather than a cruel, heartless bitch?

    On that same note, shouldn't this prosecutor be going after the Dateline people for falsely representing themselves (for profit!)?

  • ||

    RAmen

    Yummy!

  • Neu Mejican||

    Frank Towers,

    Would it be that you simply refuse to see it, considering this is another notch in your State-lovin' Totem pole?

    Chill dude...I don't want to be held responsible for your "outrage" induced heart-attack...

    =/;^)

    FWIW, John was more articulate in making the point I was dancing around.

  • Fluffy||

    John did make a good point.

    Of course, I think that the "emotional distress" tort is grossly unjust and tyrannical, so appealing to that tort as an example does not impress me.

    While I can see some limited role for emotions in tort law [for example, the pain and suffering component that goes along with "real" harms], assigning judgments for purely emotional "harms" is absurd. It's absurd because the claim of harm itself is ridiculous, and precisely because of the need to impose a "reasonable man" standard to apply it. The state should not privilege one set of emotional reactions as orthodox, and certainly should not be handing out damage awards in defense of those orthodox reactions.

  • NP||

    TWC - I understand your sentiment, but again aren't we being hypocritical to criticize her but also be willing to wish the same on her? Don't get me wrong, I have no sympathy for Drew, but I still don't think blanket ostracism is the right way.

    Also, just to be equal time I was about to say woofyman does have a point. Two things he should have added: 1) Megan's parents also had the responsibility to teach their daughter that there are more heartbreaking things in life than losing a boy she had never met in person; and 2) nature may have had a bigger role than nurture in Megan's suicide.

  • Neu Mejican||

    Jamie Kelly,

    I don't see good support for this assertion in the constitution nor the subsequent SCOTUS decisions...

    No.
    The federal government is only empowered to enforce interstate commerce as it applies to criminal activity, not civil matters.


    Could you elaborate?

  • ||

    TWC:

    Cuz we're nosy parents.

    I have told my son (turning 12 next month) he should have no expectation of privacy. Ever. Also, we know everyone, everywhere, and if he thinks for a minute he can get away with anything, he is sadly deluded. We have a couple of test cases where he thought no one was watching and it came back at him in spades, so he has no reason to doubt the veracity of my statement.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    NP, no hypocrisy here, I didn't sign up on Facebook and scam Laurie Drew into anything. Preying on the weakness of others, particularly the vulnerable, whether they are 13 or 33 is reprehensible and is a pretty strong indicator of character. Smiling at the thought of someone like Drew getting flattened by a safe dropped from a 12th floor window is not the same as making the arrangements (or giving the movers a frayed rope).

    This isn't some teen age prank gone horribly wrong, this is a grown adult deliberately setting out to inflict a lot of grief on a young girl.

    And, again, to Woofy's point about parenting, as I remarked up thread, this kind of thing isn't likely to happen to my kids, because we're paying attention to what they're doing and who they're hanging around with.

    With the caveat that good parenting sometimes isn't enough. Years ago a little toddler drowned in Lake Elsinore right in front of me on 4th of July. His parents were right there and, in fact, were searching for him in the water the second they noticed him missing. The next day the local rag painted the picture as if those parents deserved a child endangerment charge. I was there and the reporter wasn't. The reporter was a liar. And there was no way those parents did anything wrong. The kid lost his footing and nobody could find him in the murky water.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    Six, I hear that.

    My son, turning 12 in July, still thinks I might be a magic man with eyes in the back of my head. A notion I completely encourage. I WILL ALWAYS KNOW BECAUSE I AM YOUR FATHER

    I have long ago forgotten the circumstances but when he was a wee lad I caught him lying about something to which he incredulously responded How'd you know?

    Cuz I'm your father!

  • ||

    TWC -- well if your son picks a college out here on the East Coast (Long Island), when the time comes, I got your back.

  • NP||

    TWC,

    I agree with you that Drew deserves censure particularly due to her age, which is why I denounced her as "infantile" earlier. I just don't think she deserves the level of your condemnation, especially because it's not clear that she knew Megan had a history of depression. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this one.

    And I think Megan's parents might have gotten a bum rap. From what I've read Megan's mother actually confronted her the night of her death about her crude online messages and told her to get offline immediately, so it looks like there was as much monitoring of computer use as in probably many if not most households.

  • Plant Immigration Rights Suppo||

    Why just yesterday, I opened up to the book of Matthew and read the following passage: "And lo, jesus spake unto his followers and said God Damn America, and may its chickens one day roosteth."

    Rev. Write did not say he WANTED America's chickens to come home to roost. He said that they WERE comming home to roost. There is a difference. Actually, several times either Israel or Judea saw the wrath of God for various reasons. Also the Bible says something about

    From the Bible, Galatians VI (King James Version):

    Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

  • Roosting Chicken||

    "All take the sword, perish by it" (Mat 26:52)

    "Who will render to every man according to his deeds:" Rom 2:6 )

    "God is not mocked, a man reaps what he sows." (Rom. 3:8)

  • SIV||

    In anarchotopia we could just lynch the cunt.

  • Plant Immigration Rights Suppo||

    "In anarchotopia we could just lynch the cunt."

    The views of the above poster do not reflect the views of actual anaracho-capitalists. Actual anacho-capitalists would shun her, disassociate with her, and refuse to buy or sell anything to her refuse to speak with her. But we would not kill her. Though she might kill herself.

  • ||

    This case REALLY, REALLY made me want this woman punished severely . . . but after much deliberation it simply isn't a criminal matter.

    She's a hateful evil bitch and I'd love to see her face and name widely published along with what she did so everyone who sees her can tell her that.


    ktc2 -- so if this woman commits suicide and leaves a note citing your hateful comments above as the final straw, would you be OK with being hauled off to jail or having your statements plastered everywhere so people can ostracize you?

    Irony detector on the fritz today?

  • ||

    One could only hope and good riddance. Sorry, that woman forfeited her right to compassion when she set out to make a 13 year old girl's life a living hell. For fun.

    I'd be happy to mail her some rusty razor blades with instructions on how to draw a hot bath.


    A living hell? If I were to get a nasty email from somebody, I would put the sender on my "throw all future emails into the junk mail folder" filter.

    Is it really that hard to ignore somebody being obnoxious on Teh Intertubez? The girl could have simply, you know, avoided the parts of the internet where this obnoxious woman hung out.

    She CHOSE to commit suicide. No one else is culpable.

  • Yahoo Answerer||

    I have never used MySpace so forgive me if I sound ignorant. Isn't it possible to block another user on MySpace?

  • ||

    Neu,
    Chill dude...I don't want to be held responsible for your "outrage" induced heart-attack...

    Don't worry about me, dude. Worry about yourself and your incapacity to see a very serious encroachment of our civil rights due to one outrageous (but nevertheless non criminal) act.

  • SIV||

    The law aside, this was an adult woman elaborately posing as a child for the express purpose of inflicting deep emotional harm on a specific 13 year old girl.If a parent or sibling of the girl killed the cunt I would no bill any charge whatsoever as a grand juror or nullify as a juror.

  • Plant Immigration Rights Suppo||

    Yes, this would be called Jury Nullification.

    http://www.fija.org/

  • Neu Mejican||

    Francisco,

    Still uptight I see.

    You see it as outrageous...I see it as unlikely to lead to any precedent.

    Let the process work...if it is really that outrageous, it won't stand up in court.

  • ||

    As I understand the sequence of events in this case, the girl who committed suicide had been involved in harassing/bullying the woman's daughter ...

    Got a source for that? The versions I've read say the Meier girl stopped hanging out with the Drew's daughter and they were "afraid she might" be saying something nasty about their kid online, but there was no mention of any such trash talk or harassing/bullying. Would be interested to hear if there are any such actual reports.

  • The Wine Commonsewer||

    If I were to get a nasty email from somebody, I would put the sender on my "throw all future emails into the junk mail folder" filter.

    No Prole, you mischaracterize, it was a scam, a sting if you will, she set the girl up. Deliberately. This was nothing like receiving an obnoxious email. Did you read anything about the case?

    While I might agree that we make our own choices irrespective of how others may try to manipulate us, the girl was 13, the bitch was fifty years old and she deliberately targeted a vulnerable young teen age girl who thought that she was flirting with a 16 year old boy. Drew's whole point was to cause as much grief for this girl as possible by making her believe something that was patently false with the sole intent of fucking with her. That is reprehensible and anti-libertarian (drink).

    I'd gladly provide the rusty razor blades and spit on the Lori Drew's grave.

    That doesn't mean I think she is legally culpable, but it does mean she's a worthless human being and deserves not a dime's worth of compassion.

    Since we live in a relatively free society, you are welcome to contribute to her legal defense fund.

  • ||

    Neu Mejican: Where's all the hate for enforcing a contract coming from?

    So you favor of 20 year sentences for breach of contract? I wouldn't have guessed it from your previous posts.

    It's disingenuous to pretend that this is a matter of contract law. A contract is not something you enter lightly. The TOS of a website is something routinely ignored. The "information" that Drew accessed was information easily available to anyone registered with MySpace.

    Do you thoroughly read the TOS of every website you use? Would you be happy to go to jail for 20 years because you had insignificantly violated a TOS you hadn't read while looking at a member profile? Note that that TOS might contain any ridiculous demand- perhaps it demands that you use only IE. So you would go to jail, for 20 years, for using Firefox to view the site.

    Maybe Lori Drew should be charged with something, but the charge they are hitting her with is ridiculous, and I would be very surprised if a similar charge could not be stuck to you, Neu Mejican.

    Of course no prosecutor is interested in you, so you are safe, but I tend to think it is a bad idea to give prosecutors a charge that everyone is guilty of. That's not a slippery slope- it is the gulch at the bottom of one. If they want to hit Drew with a charge they need to find a real one. Since there doesn't seem to be one, they need to let it go.

  • Brian||

    I'm divided on this because I really do think the woman who did this deserves to suffer, but...

    Ultimately, I have to agree with the article that this is a Federal overreach that would end up setting a bad precedent.

    The ideal outcome would be for O'Brien's charges to be dismissed. And then for Megan's parents to beat the crap of Drew, be charged with assault, but get off with probation. And then sue Drew for every cent she has, take her house, and throw her out on the street.

  • Neu Mejican||

    dpsc,

    I guess you didn't read my post.
    I explicitly mentioned I thought it was more appropriate as a civil case.

    And, of course, there is a difference between violating a TOS, and violating the part of the TOS that says you aren't supposed to use my computers to perpetrate fraud to harass a 13 year old girl.

    So, no, they are not prosecuting her for something that they could pin on me...or very many other people.

  • ||

    And now Missouri is contemplating a law making it a felony to be mean to a minor.

    So...go to jail for being nice to a kid, charged as a child molester, or go to jail for telling the kid to go play in traffic?

    I'd rather go to jail for being mean to the soccer-mom's crotch spawn. Child molesters don't last long in prison.

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