Wow. I have been waiting for some good news for the rule of law lately, and after months of inaction, the Judge in the Lori Drew/Megan Meier case did the right thing and throws out the charges.
This is great news for all who use the internet for political and religious speech; despite the odiousness of what Lori Drew did to that poor girl, the act did not constitute a violation of any criminal law. The attempt to muzzle free speech would have had a disastrous effect as a legal precedent.
Lori Drew is acquitted in cyberbullying case
LOS ANGELES — A federal judge in Los Angeles tossed out the case against the St. Charles County mother accused of playing a role in the 2006 death of 13-year-old Megan Meier of Dardenne Prairie.
U.S. District Judge George H. Wu said Thursday that if Lori Drew were guilty of three misdemeanors, everyone who has ever violated a website’s rules would be as well.
A federal jury found Drew guilty Nov. 26 of the three misdemeanor charges of illegally accessing a protected computer after prosecutors accused her of playing a role in the cyber-bullying that led to Megan’s death. The jury could not agree on a felony conspiracy charge, and prosecutors later dismissed it.
Wu’s ruling Thursday comes about six weeks after Drew was first scheduled to be sentenced.
Megan’s parents, Ron and Tina Meier, spoke at the first part of the sentencing hearing in May, asking for the longest punishment possible for Drew – three years in prison.
A pre-sentence report recommended probation and a $5,000 fine.
Prosecutors had also asked for three years, citing the “callousness” of Drew’s conduct “and the extraordinary harm” that it caused. They also said that probation “substantially understated the seriousness of the offense.”
Drew’s lawyer, H. Dean Steward, wanted probation and no fine, arguing that Drew had been harassed and driven from her home after the case became public and could not afford a fine.
Steward has long argued that prosecutors were trying to stretch the law to fit a “crime” that didn’t fit. He has also argued that Drew could not be guilty if she never read the terms of service that she was accused of violating.
For months, Wu appeared to lean toward dismissing the case but never followed through. In May, he said that he needed more time to review the testimony of two witnesses in the case.[…]