My Space Hoax Conviction Thrown Out

This is the case of the mother who impersonated an adolescent boy on MySpace in order to hurt a girl who was a rival of her daughter by leading her on and then rejecting her.  They succesfully prosecuted her on the grounds that she violated MySpace’s terms of service.   But the judge’s reasoning in overturning the verdict sounds wise:

U.S. District Court Judge George Wu threw out the misdemeanor convictions of Lori Drew, the Missouri woman blamed for precipitating the suicide of a 13-year-old girl by assisting a cruel MySpace prank, under the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Taking a cue from critics such as George Washington University law professor Orin Kerr (who ended up serving as a pro bono attorney for Drew), Wu said he was worried that the legal theory underlying U.S. Attorney Thomas O’Brien’s prosecution of Drew could make any violation of a website’s terms of service a federal crime. “It basically leaves it up to a website owner to determine what is a crime,” Wu said, “and therefore it criminalizes what would be a breach of contract.”

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