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Conviction Thrown Out in MySpace-Suicide Case

Lori-drew We were driving to the beach on Thursday, along with half of the Washington D.C. area, and my husband was reading this story to me on his Blackberry, and I'm all huh?  What?  This is over, done.  I learned about "judgment not withstanding the verdict" in law school but that like, never happens.

Ahem.  I guess it does.

For those of you who I have no idea what I am talking about, Lori Drew was convicted last November of three misdemeanor charges having to do with violating MySpace's terms of agreement.  She essentially lied about her age in order to cyber bully then 13 year old Megan Meier, who killed herself.  Last week the judge threw out the jury's verdict.  Kind of.  

This is a tentative ruling and will not be final until the Judge issues a written decision.  And the Prosecutors can appeal.  When he issued his ruling orally he did note judges have been known to change their mind when writing a decision.  Well, yes, they can, but not normally after they have issued the decision orally.

The judge said that if Lori Drew is to be found guilty of illegally accessing computers, anyone who has ever violated the social networking site's terms of service would be guilty of a misdemeanor. That would be unconstitutional, he said.   "You could prosecute pretty much anyone who violated terms of service," he said.  Judge Wu said he allowed the case to proceed to trial when Drew was charged with a felony, but she was convicted only of the misdemeanor and that presented constitutional problems.

"In my view, it was proper that this case was dismissed, primarily because I simply did not do what the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles accused me of doing," Lori Drew said in a statement.

Megan's mother Tine Meier was stunned by the ruling, and said, "I wouldn't want to be in Lori Drew's shoes and live her life. I think she's already basically living a life conviction right now."

Drew said in her statement, "All members of my family share the Meier's grief in dealing with the loss of Megan. I hope Judge Wu's decision ... will be a turning point for all families involved in returning to a more-normal life."

But Meier, who is still deciding whether or not to file a civil suit against Drew, said that statement falls far short of an apology or true remorse. "Her making the statement that she shares my grief – absolutely not," Meier said. "She can't even come close to it."

source, source

 






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Comments

Sils

I find Drew to be a creature I cannot, and will not, conjure any sort of pity for. She's already been convicted in the court of public opinion, but I'm not sure that's enough. She needs to be punished for her actions in a court of law. She is so much worse than a middlehigh school bully - she is an adult with all the resources and power afforded to adults. This teaches school yard bullies that they can get away with anything - even murder.

This entire case makes me heart sick.

AmyH

I agree with Sils. I have ZERO sympathy for Drew and would love to see her do jail time for her actions. She is an adult who picked on an insecure girl. Ridiculous.

Another example of why mothers should PARENT their children and not try and be their friends. She should not have engaged in this kind of activity with her child.

SciFi Dad

So maybe it's because I'm not a lawyer, or maybe it's because I'm Canadian, but this ruling seems to indicate that all terms of service agreements are unconstitutional. I don't see how not following an agreement previously accepted is a constitutional right, since it is my understanding that any agreement is like a contract. Logically, it would follow that breaking a contract without consequence is a constitutional right.

Or maybe that's just me.

Elaine

I had the same WTF question as SciFi Dad. Why bother to accept service agreements then, and have them in the first place, if people are not legally bound to honor them? I don't get it.

Missie

Making this about a service agreement is ridiculous. The fact is: an insecure teenaged girl committed suicide because she felt her life wasn't worth living due to the ACTIONS of this WOMAN. That is it. Bottom line. And for that, this WOMAN who should have freaking known better, should be spending time as a guest of the state. I feel no sorrow for her or her family at all.

natalie

I think not only this woman but her assistant (who also did the bulk of conversing back and forth with Megan) should face penilties. I hope that Tina Meier does take them to civil court and I hope they are put through the ringer and have all possibility of a 'normal life' taken away from them. I am hella sure Tina Meier, will never have her normal life with her daughter back...she is guilty at least in the court of Public Opinion and while definitly not a court of law, it is way more brutal.

Suzy Q

Not to be all Clinton-esque or anything, but just what exactly does "illegally accessing computers" mean? Wasn't she using her daughter's computer? How is that illegal access?

And, is that the best charge they could come up with for someone who is basically responsible for the death of a teenager? This case has been so sad, and so preventable. I do hope Lori Drew receives some sort of punishment. She doesn't seem remorseful to me, at all. What kind of kids must she be raising?

michele

uh, hrm. i hope she does not ultimately go unpunished. granted i bet even the bagger at the grocery store avoids her like the plague already.




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