She Deserves Worse

I’ve almost finished 40-odd case briefs about United States v. Drew, the criminal prosecution of the Missouri mother whose pseudonymous MySpace harassment of 13-year old Megan Meier led to Meier’s suicide.  Last November a jury convicted Drew of three misdemeanor violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, but in July the trial judge dismissed all of the charges after ruling that the CFAA counts were void for vagueness on the facts of the case.  I agree with the ruling–it was not a close call on the law–but after reading so many times about Drew’s creation of the fictional 16-year old “Josh Evans” and her remorseless, manipulative cruelty towards a barely-teenage girl who Drew knew suffered from psychological problems, I want to believe there is a special place in hell-on-earth for Drew.

8 Replies to “She Deserves Worse”

  1. Doyle

    Usually I do not learn post on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very compelled me to
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    Thanks, quite nice article.

  2. Brian Chin

    I agree with Shadi. What Drew did is definitely wicked. She was playing with the mind of an innocent teenager by impersonating to be a 16-year-old boy on My Space. I think that what she did was wrong but unfortunately she got away with it with the void for vagueness doctrine. Because there was not enough evidence to convict Drew, I think that there needs to be more legislation regarding cyerbullying.

  3. drandall Post author

    Read the case if you want to understand why the court dismissed the charges. You'll find it at the end of this chapter: The first issue was whether Drew's violation of MySpace's terms of service amounted to unauthorized access or exceeding authorized access to a computer, as defined by the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. The second issues was "whether basing a CFAA misdemeanor violation as per 18 U.S.C. §§ 1030(a)(2)(C) and 1030(c)(2)(A) upon the conscious violation of a website’s terms of service runs afoul of the void-for-vagueness doctrine." The court ruled that violating a site's TOS could be the basis for CFAA misdemeanor liability but that on the facts of this case the void-for–vagueness doctrine barred holding Drew criminally liable.

  4. Shadi Ashouri

    There is no argument that what drew is immoral. However, I must agree on the ruling "that the CFAA counts were void for vagueness on the facts of the case." There is no inconclusive evidence of Drew's actions that can be linked to Megan's suicide. Fraud is defined as "the intentional use of deceit, a trick or some dishonest means to deprive another of his/her/its money, property or a legal right." Drew did nothing in that nature. She merely was performing acts are deemed part of the social norm; girls liking a guy and maybe a guy just turns his back on her or whatever. Although, Drew was impersonating a 16 year-old boy, she still didnt commit fraud according to the legal terms. She did fulfill the "deceit, a trick or some dishonest means" aspect but she didnt deprive Megan of anything. Megan could have committed suicide for millions of other reasons. Although, i do feel that Drew was the main reason, in the laws eyes there are many other aspects.

  5. Xinyu Li

    I remember you went over this case in class and I definitely thought that the mother was let off easy. This reminds me of something Jamie Foxx says in the movie Law Abinding Citizen. He says something like "law is not about justice, it is about what you can prove." I definitely agree with what everyone above said. The mother was clearly intentionally attacking Megan with malice and charging her with only three misdemeanors is not justice. However, justice is hard to achieve. Maybe in the future there will be better remedies for cyber bullying because it is definitely a rising issue right now.

  6. Alexa Mauro

    I completely agree with the above comment. Where was the justice for Megan Meier and her family? The line between justice and law must become less blurry. If I were to enter my favorite designer shoe store and buy hundreds of dollars worth of shoes and go up to the register with a stranger's credit card, I would be committing identity theft, and ultimately, fraud. I would be criminally prosecuted for the amount of damage I caused. However, logging on under an alias and posing to be someone that I am actually not, causing not only monetary damage, but death, would allow me to skate by with civil charges. How is this justice? There needs to be some sort of updated remedy for our new mediums of communication. Mothers, teenagers, adolescents, etc. should not see the simplicity of logging on to a social networking sight and posing to be someone they are not. This case, while the law may have been upheld, is setting terrible precedent for the future. The law needs to match the technological advances we have made, and provide proper punishment. That is the only way we can achieve anything close to justice.

  7. Lisa Limb

    I don't understand how her actions could be deemed a misdemeanor (and get dismissed). It sometimes seems like justice and law are completely different things when people such as Drew are allowed to go free because of "vagueness on the facts of the case." I understand that we have to abide by the facts of the case, etc. etc. and that making exceptions to the law would create even more problems, but the point of the matter is that Drew, a MOTHER, manipulated someone else's daughter and drove Megan to suicide. It's pathetic and infuriating.

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