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Motions to Dismiss Filed in MySpace Suicide Case:
The WSJ Law Blog has the scoop, including links to the motions; the Washington Post also has coverage. The law review article of mine that is quoted in the motions is available here. Full disclosure: As I've noted before, I've provided a bit of advice to the defense counsel in this case on a pro bono basis.
Mad Max:
You really should be ashamed of having anything to do with defending those scum, whether or not they are technically "guilty" of anything.
7.23.2008 4:16pm
Adam K:
You really should be ashamed of having anything to do with defending those scum, whether or not they are technically "guilty" of anything.


When good people sit back and let bad laws be upheld and be precedent be made against unsympathetic defendants, we all suffer. For my part, I think Orin should be proud of his involvement.
7.23.2008 4:21pm
Dan Weber (www):
Please, let's give them a fair trial first, and then convict them.
7.23.2008 4:21pm
Krahling (mail):
If standing on principle were easy, we'd see more of it. This prosecution is classic "Jack McCoy" legal reasoning and I hope it fails - as contemptible as the defendant is.
7.23.2008 4:31pm
Carolina:

You really should be ashamed of having anything to do with defending those scum, whether or not they are technically "guilty" of anything.


I beg to differ. The prosecution's theory -- and I am not joking -- is that violation of the "terms of service" of a website is a federal crime.

I am thankful that people like Prof. Kerr are involved.
7.23.2008 4:56pm
John Jenkins (mail):
I think it is reasonable to hope that: (a) the defendant is not convicted; and (b) that she is hounded and driven out from anywhere and everywhere for being an evil raging bitch.
7.23.2008 4:57pm
Crafty Hunter (www):
I agree entirely with the sentiment expressed by John Jenkins. Bad laws badly used do no justice, but voluntary social ostracism does.
7.23.2008 5:15pm
Bama 1L:
Ostracize the defendant, not the defense lawyer!
7.23.2008 5:19pm
Pat C (mail):
Could they( and should they) have been charged with aiding a suicide?
7.23.2008 5:21pm
Tom Hanna (www):
Really? Well, I guess John Adams defended the British soldiers who massacred the Boston colonists.
7.23.2008 5:26pm
TerrencePhilip:
Bravo, Prof. Kerr. What doofus approved bringing this prosecution? I thought the DOJ was better than this. Hopefully this will end in embarrassment for the people involved in pushing such an absurd prosecution theory in criminal court.
7.23.2008 5:33pm
Hoosier:
Carolina--Indeed. That really is "vague," in addition to being ridiculous. "Terms of Service" are guidlines for usage, and the proprietors should be able to ban repeated violators. But a federal crime? No thanks.

John Jenkins--Stop blogging and get back to work running my (over-rated) alma mater, Fr. Jenkins.

http://president.nd.edu/
7.23.2008 5:49pm
Brett:
I would like to associate myself with the remarks of John Jenkins, above. I think it would be an injustice if the defendant were convicted. I also think it would be an injustice if she were ever again permitted to show her face in polite society.
7.23.2008 6:19pm
whit:
I totally agree that while the woman's behavior was reprehensible...

reprehensible =/= illegal.

And CERTAINLY doesn't make her criminally responsible...

I would (if I was a lawyer), wish to defend this woman. I think far worse than her conduct is an overzealous prosecutor attempting to squeeze the law around to make it fit this case. Jack McCoy'ism...
7.23.2008 6:46pm
John K. Taber (mail):
I for one am quite interested in this case. It is this kind of creative application of the Federal computer crime law that I feared when I opposed the original Ribicoff Computer Crime Bill almost 30 years ago.

I agree entirely with Prof. Kerr and the defense lawyers that if this case is not dismissed this over-reaching will make Federal criminals indicted or unindicted of many internet users for violation of an ISP's terms of service.

In the original version of the bill, according to its proponents (mostly Senate staff and DoJ prosecutors), a judge could well read broad application as the intent of Congress.

"Unauthorized access of a computer" indeed! I objected then and object now to this vague language. Proponents in 1979 argued that we should trust the prosecutors not to over-reach.

I argued then that one could murder somebody by dropping a filing cabinet on the victim's head from an upper story window, but the crime is murder, not the unauthorized use of a filing cabinet.

I most sincerely hope for all our sakes that this over-reaching is squashed.
7.23.2008 7:05pm
Soronel Haetir (mail):
If this case succeeds I'm going to create a website with some incredibly byzantine ToS that can't help but be violated and then press for charges against everyone who visits.
7.23.2008 7:39pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
You really should be ashamed of having anything to do with defending those scum, whether or not they are technically "guilty" of anything.

I vehemently disagree with this, and I do so even though (1) these people may very well be guilty of horrendous conduct, and (2) I might not take their case.

Even the most unpopular among us are entitled to a vigorous defense. Indeed, that defense is often the only thing that stands against our justice system simply becoming a popularity contest.

Prof. Kerr has every right to stand up for whatever principles he feels are or should be applicable here
7.23.2008 9:36pm
ReaderY:
No need for Byzantine terms. One sentence will do, "Access to this site is prohibited," and then and try and get anyone who visits prosecuted. Notice, shmotus!
7.24.2008 12:59am
JohnKT (mail):

If this case succeeds I'm going to create a website with some incredibly byzantine ToS that can't help but be violated and then press for charges against everyone who visits.


And don't forget EULAs. Violation of a program's EULA would make your access of your own computer a Federal crime. See Wikipedia for criticisms of Incredimail's EULA for example.

EULAs afford more opportunity for byzantine terms than ToS's. Why, we could jail almost everybody.
7.24.2008 1:46pm