Lori Drew Tentatively Acquitted

Judge George Wu has ruled that he is planning to dismiss the charges against Lori Drew, the woman involved in the MySpace suicide case involving Megan Meier.  Background about the case is here.  According to an article by Kim Zetter of Wired, who has provided terrific coverage of the case:

“It basically leaves it up to a website owner to determine what is a crime,” said Wu on Thursday, echoing what critics of the case have been saying for months. “And therefore it criminalizes what would be a breach of contract.” . . . .

Wu told Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Krause that if Drew had been convicted of the felonies, he would have let the convictions stand, and would have already sentenced her. But the misdemeanor convictions troubled him, because of the vague wording of the statute. . . .

To convict Drew of the felonies, prosecutors would have needed to prove two things: that Drew accessed MySpace “without authorization,” and did it for the purpose of committing a tortious act — in this case, to intentionally cause harm to Megan Meier.

But for the misdemeanors, the jury just had to find that Drew obtained the unauthorized access. Wu said that language, standing on its own, was too vague to pass constitutional muster in this case.

“I don’t see how the misdemeanor aspect would be constitutional,” he said. “That is the issue I’m wrestling with at this time.”

Wu also doubted that MySpace provided sufficient notice to members to hold them responsible. If a user didn’t read the terms of service, the judge asked prosecutor Krause, could they still be charged with violating them?

In previous posts (here and here), I argued that the CFAA should be held to be unconstitutionally vague.  I’m encouraged that Judge Wu agrees, though I believe the CFAA is unconstitutionally vague not only in its misdemeanor provisions, but in its felony ones as well.

Congratulations to my colleague, Orin Kerr, who assisted in Lori Drew’s defense.

The AP story is here.

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10 Responses

  1. cj says:

    Its a thin line..i dont where I stand on this…I dont know if u can really blame her for it all.


  2. cjmajor says:

    Another case of American “justice” gone terribly wrong! A A grown woman deceives a young girl and torments her to the point of suicide and one of our federal “judges” acquits her because he doe not have the guts to stand for what’s right. Rulings like this are why the day will come when vigilante justice will prevail in this sick country!

  3. Bruce Boyden says:

    cjmajor, vigilantism has been with us for quite some time now, and has long posed a challenge to the rule of law in the United States, fortunately more in the 19th and early 20th centuries than now.

  4. Robyn A says:

    As a mom of two young teenage boys I know how much it hurts to watch them hurt but to do what “My Space mom” Lori Drew did was just going too far. What is wrong with this world we live in? Where is social and moral responsibility? When will people start being held responsible for their actions? If she had done the things she did to Megan in “real life”, not hiding behind a computer screen she would have at the very least been charged with criminal harassment or something if not more serious. http://myselkie.com/blog/index.php/2009/07/03/when-protective-parenting-goes-too-far/

  5. alex says:

    Vigilantism will exist as long as crimes like that are not punished. Only someone as small-minded as a law professor would consider it a victory that Lori Drew avoided legal punishment. People watch and remember: “this is where the system failed us, again.”

  6. Bruce Boyden says:

    Alex, I’m proud to be “small-minded,” under your definition.

  7. Syd Henderson says:

    The judge is right. Lori Drew may be a creep, but you do have to convict someone of an actual crime, not just make something up.

  8. This Lori Drew needs to get a life! What kinda of mother would be so nosy! Why?
    She did go way to far in this situation. A very cruel act.
    Rest in peace Megan.

  9. James Hunt says:

    If this had been an older man praying upon a younger woman they would have fried him.

    I hope Lori Drew never sleeps a night with out having nightmares of that girl hanging. I hope everytime she sees her daughter for a split second she sees the girl she drove to death.

    I hope the girl she drove to death haunts her day in an day out and drives Lori Drew to the point of insanity and past.

    Lori Drew deserves to suffer for the rest of her days. Plain and simple

  10. Porttia says:

    What goes around comes around. What if…Megan was Sarah, Lori? Let’s think about this because the jury didn’t and the judge surely didn’t. What if…this “low-life” came to your home and started bullying your daughter face to face but just for fun let’s say she said her name was “Josh Evans” instead of “Lori Drew” and then for God knows how long…an adult…yes, a 49 year old woman rips apart a 13 year old’s self esteem…we all know how easy that would be even if that 13 year old was physically, mentally, spiritually and physically mature for 13…a 49 year old could still rip apart a “stable 13 year old”…yet here we have a fragile 13 year old and “LORI KNOWS IT…I mean Josh knows it”…and that’s what bothers me most about all this…LORI KNOWS she is fragile…but she throws caution to the wind and tears poor unstable Megan apart limb for limb…until…later she is found…your daughter hanging by a belt in her closet…is she guilty of putting that belt around your daughter’s neck or is she as innocent as our judge thinks she is??? Hell, yeah…she’s GUILTY !!! Like I said Lori…my mantra in life…what I have seen happen…be it good or bad…what goes around comes around.
    And there were so many inconsistencies in your story…even your hometown people caught you in them. What bothered me is that so many attorneys were upset about other people getting in trouble for doing the same thing…they SHOULD! Anyone, who changes their name with the intent to do another harm like you 3 did…or who changes their identity in real time and lies on the internet ought to pay the damages if any.