Jerry Brito on How the Threat of Draconian Punishment Drove Aaron Swartz to Suicide


Aaron Swartz, a 26-year-old computer prodigy and Internet activist, was facing decades in prison for violating federal hacking laws when he took his own life earlier this month. Many commentators, including Lawrence Lessig and Glenn Greenwald, have argued that prosecutorial zeal drove Swartz to hang himself. They're certainly right. Yet as Jerry Brito observes, prosecutorial discretion would not have mattered much if the possibility of such draconian punishment did not exist.