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A woman who harassed a teenager via MySpace wants probation and fine

A Missouri woman who was convicted of three misdemeanors related to the MySpace harassment of a teenager who committed suicide will likely face probation and a $5,000 fine, according to a report.

The attorney for Lori Drew filed a pre-sentence report urging the court to go with probation and a fine.  Furthermore, her lawyer, H. Dean Steward, also wants the convictions to be dismissed.  Steward said MySpace wasn't to blame, and the girl's alleged history of mental illness and bouts of depression were more to blame than anything else.

Drew reportedly created a fake MySpace account posing as a teenage boy and sent flirtatious messages to Megan Meier, one of her neighbors.  Shortly after, the fictitious teenage boy dumped Megan while also saying the world wouldn't miss her.  The girl hanged herself after reading the messages sent through MySpace.

After originally being convicted last November, Drew faces three years in jail and a fine up to $300,000 related to the three misdemeanor counts of accessing computers without authorization.  She originally was charged with four felony counts, though she was cleared of three of them and the jury was deadlocked on the final felony count.

"This is about justice," Megan's mother said after the verdict.  "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."

Drew reportedly can't pay the $5,000 fine since she lost her job when she stopped working in November 2007.  In addition, several neighbors have harassed and threatened her, leading up to a brick being thrown through one of her windows.  The family eventually had to move out of the neighborhood.

She is expected to be sentenced on May 18, and Steward has asked that Megan's friends and family not speak at the sentencing, as it's "still a computer fraud case."



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RE: Problem with this is....
By Motoman on 5/5/2009 5:11:54 PM , Rating: 2
You cannot possibly be that stupid.

Free speech ends at the point where it is said with the result of the expectation of harm.

You might be able to say something like "I think that girl is hot and I want to do her." But the first amendment doesn't give you the right to scream "I'm going to tie this schoolgirl up, beat her, rape her, and then kill her!"

This law essentially enforces the same rules on electronic speech as already exists in spoken word and in the press.


RE: Problem with this is....
By psece on 5/5/2009 5:41:17 PM , Rating: 2
No, it doesn't enforce the same rules on electronic speech. Why don't you look up Reno vs. ACLU, or ACLU vs. Ashcroft. The Supreme Court has said that the same laws that apply to books, magazines, films, and spoken expression to materials published on the Internet. The Judicial system does not treat the Internet differently than any other form of speech. So I ask you, if the Supreme Court already applies the same Freedom of Speech tests to the Internet as it does all other forms of expression, then why is this bill needed?


RE: Problem with this is....
By Motoman on 5/5/2009 6:16:48 PM , Rating: 2
...so you're going from "we need to protect free speech" to "this stuff is already illegal?"


RE: Problem with this is....
By psece on 5/5/2009 6:56:55 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe you are too emotional to discuss this? Again, why is this bill needed?


RE: Problem with this is....
By Motoman on 5/5/2009 7:38:00 PM , Rating: 2
...nice strawman.

Again, why are you flip-flopping?


RE: Problem with this is....
By psece on 5/5/2009 7:55:09 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, so you can use philosophy of logic but you cannot bring yourself to see this bill will add extra restrictions to freedom of speech on the internet. Why do you support more restrictions of the internet than that which is applied to all forms of speech?

While I believe what this woman did is despicable, what she did is still considered a form of harassment. And while I would have no problem supporting a bill that added extra punishment to adults that harass children in whatever form, adding restrictions to speech in not the answer.


"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings

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