Judge Overturns Lori Drew Misdemeanor Convictions
A federal district court judge today threw out the misdemeanor convictions of Lori Drew after the judge determined that the federal anti-hacking statute under which Drew was prosecuted was inapplicable to the allegation that she violated MySpace's terms of service. Drew was convicted by a jury in November of 2008 of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) which bars "unauthorized access" to a computer. Prosecutors argued that Drew had violated the CFAA by harassing 13-year-old neighbor Megan Meier through the use of a fake Myspace profile, harassment that prosecutors say directly led to Meier's suicide.
EFF, along with the Center for Democracy and Technology, Public Citizen, and 14 law professors and faculty members, filed an amicus brief in August arguing that the court should dismiss the CFAA claims against Drew because terms of service violations do not constitute crimes under the Act. Regardless of whether Drew could be held criminally liable under a different theory, EFF argued that the theory pursued by prosecutors was inappropriate.
U.S. District Judge George H. Wu stated that his opinion would become final when his written opinion was filed, likely next week.