A reader recently sent us this email:
Readers who are following the Lori Drew case know that back on July 2Judge Wu "tentatively" ruled that he was going to overturn the jury verdict.
At the time, however, Judge Wu stressed that his decision was not final, and that he would eventually issue an opinion with his final ruling. Late yesterday, Judge Wu finally handed down his opinion. You can read it here: Lori Drew, Final Opinion. Judge Wu did in fact grant the defense motion to dismiss, ending the prosecution against Drew and overturning her misdemeanor convictions.
To my surprise, it seems that Friday's final ruling in the case has been entirely ignored by the press; I couldn't find any reference to it on the web. The reasoning of the opinion is that whatever unauthorized access means, it cannot mean mere violation of Terms of Service without more.
Such a reading of the statute would render the statute unconstitutionally void for vagueness because it would give the government almost unlimited power to prosecute any Internet user and wouldn't give citizens sufficient notice as to what of their Internet conduct was criminal.
I'll probably have some more comments on the opinion soon, but for now I just wanted to post it so others could see it. As you might guess, given all the pro bono efforts I put into this case, I am very pleased by the result.
This was an extremely important test case for the scope of the computer crime statutes, with tremendously high stakes for the civil liberties of every Internet user. I feel fortunate to have been able to argue the motion in Januaryand to have done what I could to bring about the correct result.
Finally, I'm working on a draft article on the use of vagueness and overbreadth to challenge overly broad interpretations of 18 U.
I'll post the draft when I have something ready enough to share.Outside Scholarships. There are also private scholarships offered by various organizations.
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