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9. Re: Morning Legal Briefs Jan 17, 2013, 08:24 Beamer
SmyTTor wrote on Jan 16, 2013, 22:42:
JoeNapalm wrote on Jan 16, 2013, 12:21:
I can't help but notice that no one mentions that Swartz could have plead out - six months at Club Fed Minimum Security - or that he had struggled with depression and thoughts of suicide for years.

Federal sentencing guidelines are based on the amount of damages - he compromised ("hacked") systems and stole millions of pages of documents that, at the time, were not free.

While I commend the guy's activism and agree his death is sad, he went too far, he broke the law, he was facing REASONABLE consequences for those actions. If he refused to cut a deal and wanted to roll the dice in court, then yes - he was risking a huge sentence.

You can't plead "NOT GUILTY" and expect to get off just because you don't agree with the law. I don't like to drive slow, but that won't get me out of trouble if I drive 200mph through a school zone. He never contested the fact that he DID the criminal acts - if he disagreed on principle, cut a deal for "No Contest" - don't plead "Not Guilty" then off yourself because you're being prosecuted for crimes you actually committed.

But as the old saying goes - if you can't do the time, don't do the crime.

Ifriti Sophist

You are incorrect on the prosecution's actions. The charges deviated widely from the standard and expected charges, which would normally be misdemeanors. Hence the speed at which the whole thing was dropped in the hopes to make it disappear as quickly as possible. You may also want to double check the actual estimation of the alleged damages.

No dog in this one, but still needs to be sorted out properly.

And, unfortunately, that's how prosecution works. A lot gets thrown out there with the hopes of a plea. If the prosecution comes out with "oh, we're only pushing a few minor misdemeanors at you" people will say "well, I have nothing to lose. To trial we go!" If the prosecution comes out with "you're risking decades in jail" then people say "oh crap, I'll plea to something reasonable!"

There are arguments to both sides of that. The strongest one, though, is that we do not have the capacity to take everyone that does something they should not have done to trial. Our courts are overflowing as is. So prosecution is set up to make people feel like they're taking a good deal (in many, if not most, cases they are.) There are some overzealous asshole prosecutors, and this may have been one, but him/her coming out with an enormous amount of charges looking to make a deal far below them isn't a sign of anything out of ordinary for our legal system.
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