"In her interview, which was memorialized in the below report prepared by the Meier investigators, Grills said she felt 'deep remorse' for her role in the hoax. [Ashley] Grills reportedly received immunity in return for her testimony before the federal grand jury..."
On December 3rd, after his review of the case, Jack Banas announced that no charges would be brought. In Banas’s reckoning, the Drews are conclusively guilty of little except egregious judgment that set off a chain of horrible events, and deep insensitivity in their aftermath. He invoked the Duke lacrosse case as a cautionary example of due process succumbing to the passions of a community inflamed. “Are you going to hug this lady, say she did something great?” he told me. “No. She made a huge, fatal mistake by trusting these kids. But there are undisputed facts and disputed facts, and even if you believe all of them they still don’t give you a criminal fact pattern in the state of Missouri.”
In their eagerness to visit justice on a 49-year-old woman involved in the Megan Meier MySpace suicide tragedy, federal prosecutors in Los Angeles are resorting to a novel and dangerous interpretation of a decades-old computer crime law -- potentially making a felon out of anybody who violates the terms of service of any website, experts say.
"This is a novel and extreme reading of what [the law] prohibits," says Jennifer Granick, civil liberties director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "To say that you're violating a criminal law by registering to speak under a false name is highly problematic. It's probably an unconstitutional reading of the statute."
Grills also said she wrote the message to Megan about the world being a better place without her. The message was supposed to end the online relationship with "Josh" because Grills felt the joke had gone too far.
"I was trying to get her angry so she would leave him alone and I could get rid of the whole MySpace," Grills told the morning show.
"Responding to the suicide of a Missouri teenager who was teased over the Internet, state lawmakers Friday gave final approval to a bill making cyber harassment illegal.
The bill updates state laws against harassment to keep pace with technology by removing the requirement that the communication be written or over the telephone. Supporters say the bill will now cover harassment from computers, text messages and other electronic devices.
It was approved 106-23 in the House and 34-0 in the Senate and now goes to the governor.
Many of the bill's provisions came from a special gubernatorial task force that studied Internet harassment after the media last fall reported on the details of Megan Meier's suicide.
...'Without a good, quality cyber stalking and harassment law, which we don't currently have, we have to go to federal courts in other states to make a stretching leap argument,' said Rupp, R-Wentzville.
State Sen. Harry Kennedy, D-St. Louis, said the law is 'definitely a warning shot for those folks who want to use the Internet for harassment.'
...Under Rupp's bill, repeat offenders and someone who is at least 21 years old could be charged with a felony and face up to four years in prison if they harass a minor. Other instances of harassment would remain a misdemeanor with penalties of up to a year in jail."
So you're annoyed by a 16-year-old who's too loud, and you insult them in front of friends in a way that's "emotionally distressing" — under the new law, you'd be a felon. You're annoyed by what you see as poor service from a 16-year-old employee in a store, and you berate them in front of other customers in a way that's "emotionally distressing," and you'd be a felon if the judge or jury concludes that the public berating is "[w]ithout good cause." And whenever two 13-year-olds distress each other without good cause, they'd both be committing misdemeanors. I hope the governor vetoes the bill, but I have no reason to expect that.
And it's not just cheating, in the sense of illicit sex. The same could be if you have a not-yet-sexual romantic relationship with Alan, and then let yourself be caught kissing Bob in order to distress Alan. The touchstone, after all, is just the intentional infliction of emotional distress.
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