pageok
pageok
pageok
Opening Arguments in United States v. Lori Drew:
Kim Zetter of Wired has the story. I feel compelled to point out the very bottom of the story, which briefly notes the side that has mostly been absent from press coverage of the case:
  Defense attorney H. Dean Steward, delivering his opening remarks, painted a very different picture. He claimed that Drew knew about the plan to create the hoax MySpace profile and manipulate Meier, but neither encouraged nor participated in it.
  Steward told the jury that forensics evidence will prove the account was not created from Drew's computer, and that no messages were sent by Drew.
Joe Bingham (mail):
Will we get to enjoy another MKDP barrage here?

Normally those irritate me, but as a special, rare treat they're sort of fascinating, and it's been quite awhile since I've seen one.
11.19.2008 8:12pm
xyzzy:
Defense attorney H. Dean Steward [...] claimed that Drew knew about the plan to create the hoax MySpace profile and manipulate Meier, but neither encouraged nor participated in it.


According to the November 28th, 2006, St. Charles County Sheriff's Department Incident Report by Edwin Lutz:
Drew stated in the months leading up Meier's daughter's suicide, she instigated and monitored a "my space" account which was created for the sole purpose of communicating with Meier's daughter. Drew said, she, with the help of temporary employee named "Ashley," constructed a profile of "good looking" male on "my space" in order to "find out what Megan (Meier's daughter) was saying on-line" about her daughter. Drew explained the communication between the fake male profile and Megan was aimed at gaining Megan's confidence and what finding out what Megan felt about her daughter and other people. Drew stated she, her daughter and Ashley all typed, read and monitored the communication between the fake male profile and Megan.


If Mrs. Drew testifies that she didn't participate, then the defense will have to contend with Edwin Lutz's testimony.
11.19.2008 8:52pm
Oren:
Anyone that puts scare quotes around MySpace (and succumbs to the spell-checked induced idiocy of breaking into two words) is hardly qualified to investigate this case. (IMHO)
11.19.2008 9:11pm
A law student:

Steward told the jury that forensics evidence will prove the account was not created from Drew's computer, and that no messages were sent by Drew.


Yikes! One of the first things they teach about openings in trial advocacy classes is that, if you're the defense, you should never take on the burden of proof. It sounds like Steward just made a pretty dangerous move.
11.19.2008 10:22pm
Sammy Finkelman (mail):
Those aren't "scare quotes" - those are quotation quotes - to indicate that this is a name of something.

Of course the write couldn't be too familiar with MySpace to spell it that way.

Most likely Lori Drew's lawyer is just claiming something that is not true, but he might feel that's the only defense he has at the trial level, so he makes this pathetic claim rather than just give up. It's a really bad defense.

If an emplyee did the profile, it is quite likely this wsas not done on Lori drew's personal computer, but the accusation is that not only did she endorse this whole schem,me, she even tyoed out some messages (were they only proposed messages?)

The big questioin is what reason should she have expected this to result in a suicide? The intention was probably only to make the teenage girl feel bad. (and I doubt that anyone would really thin of thids as a violation of the terms of service even if literally, it was. But if it was, so weer so many other things.
11.19.2008 10:24pm
xyzzy:
Also, according to this evening's New York Times story about today's courtroom events, ”Arguments in Case Involving Net and Suicide”, the prosecution's first witness testified about Ms. Drew's prior statements:
[The defense] contention that Ms. Drew had no role in setting up the account was called into question by the first witness, Susan Prouty, who manages an interior design shop and did business with Ms. Drew, who runs a magazine coupon business. Ms. Prouty testified that Ms. Drew had said "she created the account" and had intended to print out a thread of flirtatious messages to take to Megan's school to "humiliate her."
11.19.2008 10:30pm
Zipgar (mail):
All right, on the law, Oren is probably right. It does seem that the prosecutor is stretching, and it's probably not the best precedent if she gets convicted.

But still, even if you accept her version -- that she knew about the hoax on Meier but did not participate -- she is still an absolute scumbag. I mean, by her own apparent admission, she let her kid pull a "prank" that humiliated a teenage girl to the point of suicide. And if, as seems likely, she actually participated and encouraged this -- laughed along with it -- she's even more of a scumbag.

Yes, the legal principles involved are important enough to let this scumbag go. But I honestly hope this woman is held up to constant ridicule and torment for the rest of her natural life.
11.19.2008 10:53pm
speedwell (mail):
Zipgar, say that in this case things go as you say (letting the slimeball go on legal principles), but the judge feels as you do. What can be done? May the judge find some wrongdoing, encourage a civil lawsuit for damages, or some other remedy that will result in consequences for her psychopathic behavior?
11.20.2008 8:59am
Bob from Ohio (mail):

Steward told the jury that forensics evidence will prove the account was not created from Drew's computer, and that no messages were sent by Drew.


Does "forensics evidence" modify both clauses? Or is it just bad writing?

I can see that forensics evidence can certainly "prove the account was not created from Drew's computer" but how could it prove that "no messages were sent by Drew"? I assume that Drew and her daughter will testify to the latter.
11.20.2008 11:32am
KeithK (mail):

Zipgar, say that in this case things go as you say (letting the slimeball go on legal principles), but the judge feels as you do. What can be done? May the judge find some wrongdoing, encourage a civil lawsuit for damages, or some other remedy that will result in consequences for her psychopathic behavior?


Since when is being a scumbag criminal or legally actionable? It certainly shouldn't be. Not everything that is morally wrong should have legal consequences.
11.20.2008 1:44pm
ReaderY:
THe question is not whether or not Lori Drew is a nice person. The question is whether she broke the law.

"The law is a causeway upon which, so long as he keeps to it, a citizen may walk safely"

....


William Roper: Arrest that man!
Sir Thomas More: On what law?
Margaret More: Father, that man's bad.
Sir Thomas More: There's no law against that.
William Roper: There is: God's law.
Sir Thomas More: Then God can arrest him.
William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!
Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!

Robert Bolt, A Man For All Seasons
11.20.2008 9:53pm
disgusted in nevada (mail):
Parents should be held legally responsible, this mother knew and encouraged her daughters behavior. This days society is sick and twisted, and parents should be held responsible for poor upbringing. So what if that girl spread rumors, there should have been no reason for mother to get involved in such trivial nonsense. As a mother of a 13 year old, I find this apalling, sick, and cruel. I feel so terrible for that girls parents, regardless if she was so called "boy crazy". I hope people in society can learn from harmful games and come together to grow up and take responsibility for their actions.
11.21.2008 4:29am
Ryan Waxx (mail):
I mean, by her own apparent admission, she let her kid pull a "prank" that humiliated a teenage girl to the point of suicide.

Fixed it for you. Unless you are seriously contending that she knew beforehand that the victim would be driven to suicide, then all any honest commenter could say she knew was that she let her kid pull a prank that would hurt the feelings of the victim.
11.21.2008 11:08am
man from mars:
Looks now like all sides have a face-saving way to dismiss this case: since there was no evidence Lori read or even personally agreed to the terms of service agreement, the necessary mens rea is not there. See wired report. There was a motion to dismiss filed by the defense following the prosecution case, and I think it will be granted.

Now the government is able to show its power to destroy someone's life based on an expansive interpretation of the law, and they won't be subject to appeal (since Lori will not have been convicted). And they themselves will believe they were furthering the cause of justice, since Lori in their view deserves to suffer and the trial itself was punishment.

The government also does not risk an unfavorable construal of the CFAA on appeal this way.

Anyway, you heard it here first.
11.21.2008 9:41pm
just a country lawyer:
you mean "opening statements"?
11.21.2008 10:19pm