Conviction on cyberbullying case ... thoughts?

shesulsa

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This woman deserves to be put away for a long, long time.

Prosecutors said Drew and two others created a fictitious 16-year-old boy on MySpace and sent flirtatious messages from him to teenage neighbor Megan Meier. The "boy" then dumped Megan, saying, "The world would be a better place without you." Megan promptly hanged herself with a belt in her bedroom closet in October 2006.

Prosecutors said Drew wanted to humiliate Megan for saying mean things about Drew's teenage daughter. They said Drew knew Megan suffered from depression and was emotionally fragile.



"Lori Drew decided to humiliate a child," U.S. Attorney Thomas O'Brien, chief federal prosecutor in Los Angeles, told the jury. "The only way she could harm this pretty little girl was with a computer. She chose to use a computer to hurt a little girl, and for four weeks she enjoyed it."

FULL STORY

Thoughts?
 

jarrod

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it was a dirty, disgusting thing that she did. however i'm not sure that she broke the law. in any case, she will have to live with what she's done & the social stigma will follow her always. karm is a *****.

it will be interesting to see what legal precedents this case sets.

jf
 

JBrainard

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My wife told me about this story when it was first released to the public. I agree, this woman should be charged (reckless endangerment maybe?) and put away. Jail time, not community service.
 

zeeberex

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it was a dirty, disgusting thing that she did. however i'm not sure that she broke the law. in any case, she will have to live with what she's done & the social stigma will follow her always. karm is a *****.

it will be interesting to see what legal precedents this case sets.

jf


my thoughts exactly
 

grydth

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With convictions on only misdemeanor counts, don't expect this despicable creature to get any significant federal jail time - if any.

There was no state law, incredibly, at the time which punished this repugnant act. I believe that's been changed.

A federal prosecutor took this one to court, but with a law that had been passed for other purposes. That at least put this monster through the litigation process - a kind of punishment in and of itself - but it may be reversed at the Circuit Court of Appeals.

There's another concern. While most love seeing this monster put on trial, expanding on laws is a trend which generally may imperil our freedoms.

I read somewheres that this **** had also been ostracized in the community and that is a great thing. Criminals need to rediscover shame. They should be shunned. But I also read that family had been subjected to a variety of threats and harassment.... that's criminal, too.
 
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Jade Tigress

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I think she got off too easy. She should have been tried for murder.
 

Big Don

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Exactly what crime did she commit? Last I checked neither being an ***, or a meanie was felonious.
Drew was not directly charged with causing Megan’s death. Instead, prosecutors indicted her under the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, which in the past has been used in hacking and trademark theft cases.
I'm guessing that that is because there is NO WAY that case could be made.
 

Gordon Nore

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Of course, there'll be a civil case-I hope they bankrupt the *****.

This is another instance the technology is a little ahead of the a law. I believe the state of MO has since enacted a law about online harassment as a result of this death. In the last few years there have been cases of individuals using spying on others with webcams; however, their actions were not covered under existing wiretap laws (no audio).

I haven't gone over this story with my students. However we did look at this case in Australia. Equally sickening, minus the suicide:

 
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MJS

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Exactly what crime did she commit? Last I checked neither being an ***, or a meanie was felonious.
I'm guessing that that is because there is NO WAY that case could be made.

I was thinking the same thing. I'm guessing that alot will come down to what was said in the messages. It doesn't say, but I'm wondering if there were any other messages that were mean, or was it just that one time and then the child killed herself?

Had the mother made threats or done things of that nature, then yes, a charge could be filed, but I'm not seeing that in the link.

Oh and yes, I'm sure there will be a civil suit and I hope she goes up the river.
 

jks9199

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With convictions on only misdemeanor counts, don't expect this despicable creature to get any significant federal jail time - if any.

There was no state law, incredibly, at the time which punished this repugnant act. I believe that's been changed.

A federal prosecutor took this one to court, but with a law that had been passed for other purposes. That at least put this monster through the litigation process - a kind of punishment in and of itself - but it may be reversed at the Circuit Court of Appeals.

There's another concern. While most love seeing this monster put on trial, expanding on laws is a trend which generally may imperil our freedoms.

I read somewheres that this xxxx had also been ostracized in the community and that is a great thing. Criminals need to rediscover shame. They should be shunned. But I also read that family had been subjected to a variety of threats and harassment.... that's criminal, too.

Exactly what crime did she commit? Last I checked neither being an ***, or a meanie was felonious.
I'm guessing that that is because there is NO WAY that case could be made.

This is another instance the technology is a little ahead of the a law. I believe the state of MO has since enacted a law about online harassment as a result of this death. In the last few years there have been cases of individuals using spying on others with webcams; however, their actions were not covered under existing wiretap laws (no audio).

This is one of the few instances, I think, where technology enabled a criminal act that wasn't just a different case of an old law. Identity fraud is really just a new way of committing a few different types of fraud; the only difference is that modern technology allows much greater impact because there are many more cases where we do business with people we don't know, and carjacking is just robbery or larceny, with the specific instance of the item stolen being a car.

This isn't really hazing, it's not transmitting threats over the telephone/internet... but the actions of this woman were rather clearly the proximate cause of the girl's suicide. I don't think a manslaughter argument can be made because I don't think that it's a typically foreseeable result of the torment. Ordinary bullying typically includes some form of assault -- but there was none here. What do you call leading someone to commit suicide?

I applaud the federal prosecutor who found a way to charge her -- but I don't know that stretching a code so far is a good idea. Make the laws too elastic, and they cease to have any real meaning.
 

Archangel M

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I agree. I don't know if making this a criminal act is necessarily a good thing. However.. a civil suit should gut her.
 

Jade Tigress

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This was a 49-year-old woman telling a 13-year-old girl suffering from depression that the world would be better off without her. She built her up, made her feel good, gave her hope, then slammed her down. Her weapon of choice was a fragile psyche.
 

grydth

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I doubt there's any serious disagreement as to the dispicability of this woman's acts. She did about the exact opposite of what any parent should have done.

But note the juror's reactions to her intent on even the level of charges which were filed. This jury would not have convicted for a homicide charge on this record.

Now....Change the facts, add some evidence such as a statement, " there - that should push her over the edge" or a statement to the others helping on this that indicated specific intent to produce a suicide.... maybe you get the felony conviction on that record.

I agree with prosecutors that this was a victory. Just making this evil cow stand trial on federal felony charges gave her a strong taste of what she put the victim through.

But enough on cows, I'm signing off to instead pursue turkey. Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!
 

Cryozombie

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See... I just don't know on this one...

Lemme ask you all somthing:

If that woman had been friends with the girl's family IRL, and then found out the girl was being mean to her daughter, walked next door and confronted her out of anger and said "The world would be a better place without you" and the kid decided to hang herself... would the criminal charges ever have been filed, or are we attacking the "evils of the internet"?
 

elder999

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See... I just don't know on this one...

Lemme ask you all somthing:

If that woman had been friends with the girl's family IRL, and then found out the girl was being mean to her daughter, walked next door and confronted her out of anger and said "The world would be a better place without you" and the kid decided to hang herself... would the criminal charges ever have been filed, or are we attacking the "evils of the internet"?

No-it's the craven contrivance of an adult's actions towards a minor that makes it so bad. If it had been one of the girl's peers who set it up-if the woman's daughter had done it on her own, for instance- well, it would be sad, but not necessarily criminal, and we might not even have heard about it. Adults aren't supposed to interact with teens at that level. More importantly, it sounds as though she knew the girl had enough personality problems that she might be setting something like the girl's suicide off, so there's an implied intent, if not proof of actual intent.
 

Cryozombie

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No-it's the craven contrivance of an adult's actions towards a minor that makes it so bad. If it had been one of the girl's peers who set it up-if the woman's daughter had done it on her own, for instance- well, it would be sad, but not necessarily criminal, and we might not even have heard about it. Adults aren't supposed to interact with teens at that level. More importantly, it sounds as though she knew the girl had enough personality problems that she might be setting something like the girl's suicide off, so there's an implied intent, if not proof of actual intent.

Of course its easy to be angry at what the adult did... But that doesn't answer my question... would charges against the adult have been pursued if the situation had occurred offline?

Trust me, I don't condone the woman's behavior twords the child, but I do question the actions as taken simply because being, wel basically, mean to someone IRL doesn't seem to carry the same type of penalties, and I wonder what makes the net different?
 

Cryozombie

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Or perhaps I should rephrase the question:

Should being mean and rude to someone online carry a more significant weight then doing it in real life?

And if it is ok to regulate what amounts to social grace, (i.e being mean or rude becomes a crime) where does regulation end and freedom of thought begin?
 
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