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Megan Meier's neighbor Ms. Drew was found guilty of misdemeanor charges surrounding her allegedly spurring Meier to kill herself, but found not guilty of three more serious felony charges.  (Source: Myspace)
Family and friends search for closure in final verdict

The case of Lori Drew and her role in the suicide of 13-year-old Megan Meier was a controversial one.  Meier was a teenager who suffered from bouts of depression, but was generally characterized and good-natured and outgoing.  When she committed suicide after an argument with her mother, it seemed like nothing more than a tragic case of teenage mental illness gone awry. 

However, then it came out that the argument with her mother was over cruel comments from a boy online who allegedly initially romanced her on MySpace and then turned hostile, eventually dropping a hint that the world might be a better place if she left it.  The only thing out of the ordinary -- the teenage boy, wasn't really a teenage boy; it was neighbor Lori Drew who wanted to allegedly "get Meier back" for supposed mean behavior towards her daughter.

When this came to light, federal authorities sidestepped local authorities, which would likely have delivered no charges.  They charged Ms. Drew with a variety of misdemeanors as well as four felony counts.

The trial was long and heated, with Ms. Drew's attorney arguing that Meier's suicide was less the result of MySpace, and more the result of a history of mental illness and that Ms. Drew could not be held responsible for not reading MySpace’s EULA, because "no one" does.  Meanwhile, prosecutors painted Ms. Drew as a mean-spirited woman who tormented young Meier and drove her to her unfortunate end.

In the end the jury found Ms. Drew guilty of three misdemeanor charges, while clearing her of three of the felony charges and reaching a deadlock in a fourth felony charge.  The result is that Ms. Drew will be sentenced to anything from probation to three years behind bars, avoiding felony sentencing which could have put her in prison for 20 years.

The reason the jury found her not guilty on the felony counts was due to lack of proof that Ms. Drew had typed the MySpace messages that drove Meier apparently to suicide.  The messages may also have been typed by Ms. Drew's employee or daughter, both of which were privy to Ms. Drew's scheme.

Tina Meier, Megan's mother says that despite the mixed nature of the verdict, that it's a victory.  She states, "This is about justice.  It's justice not only for Megan but it's justice for everybody who has had to go through this with the computer and being harassed."

MySpace Chief Security Officer Hemanshu Nigam also praised the decision, stating, "MySpace respects the jury's decision and will continue to work with industry experts to raise awareness of cyber-bullying and the harm it can potentially cause."

The greatest impact of the case may be to spur government officials to enact new cyberbullying laws, which could allow criminal charges for those who goad youth into suicide.  Meier's case is not alone in this respect -- recently a teenager was encouraged by hundreds of onlookers in a video chat room to take pills and kill himself, which he did, dying hours later as the cameras rolled.

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Drew Got Off Easy
By mindless1 on 12/1/2008 1:51:56 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe Megan's parents did a poor job, but I can how it might happen that a child seemed troubled for one of many random reasons, then some social worker or parent decides to take the child to a shrink who does what they're best at - prescribing a bunch of medications.

What normally happens if what the shrink prescribes doesn't work? More and more drugs.

That may've left Megan in a bad state, but remember she was still alive. If you find someone weak standing by the rails at the Grand Canyon, you can't very well argue that you're not guilty of something by pushing them over because they were too weak to resist your push.

Drew deliberately schemed to cause Megan harm. Probably only psychological harm, but is it the degree of harm one intends that our legal system should weigh most heavily, or the actual result?

Considering Drew claims she would've needed to read a EULA to figure out that what she was doing was wrong, that she actually BRAGGED to other people about doing this to a 13 year old girl, the world would've been a better place if she, and everyone like her, were kept away from human beings.

Law is not just about justice, it's a deterrent and a way to remove people from society when they can't seem to get along to the extent that they harm others. With all the trivial things people can be put into jail for, it's only right that Drew stay in a cell for awhile so the other inmates can *let her know* how they feel about what has happened.

I'm not suggesting Drew should spend 20 years or more in prison because I honestly don't know enough about the details of the case or her character to make a guess about what it would take to make her realize her mistakes and effect a change in her actions henceforth.

RE: Drew Got Off Easy
By spread on 12/1/2008 9:47:18 AM , Rating: 2
When you break the law, you go to jail. The justice system does not function based on what's right. Its based on what is written as a law.

The lady did not commit any crime in this case. However, praying on a weak 13 year old girl and bragging about it does sound like she is fit for psychiatric care herself.

RE: Drew Got Off Easy
By MatthiasF on 12/1/2008 2:54:55 PM , Rating: 1
She broke numerous laws and committed a horrendous crime, but the evidence couldn't convict.

If this were done using phones instead of the internet, the bitch would be in jail.

RE: Drew Got Off Easy
By mindless1 on 12/1/2008 11:50:44 PM , Rating: 2
The justice system deliberately leaves laws vague so that they can be interpreted based on the moral standards of the judge and jury. Surely you can recognize this by now? Even whether someone is arrested at all has as much to do with this as the letter of the law.

However, yes she did break laws. Maybe you don't agree with those laws, it's your right not to, but let's consider the opposite requirement, do we really want the law to become even more complex to the point where it continues to try and legislate every single interaction withough again considering the context?

In the end, Drew did something we know was wrong and we know people like her shouldn't be around others if our society is to function without greater harm for having let her do this instead of assigning consequence.

Law has a goal, don't overlook that goal and think loopholes are a good way to live.

"If you mod me down, I will become more insightful than you can possibly imagine." -- Slashdot

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