By Linda Deutsch
LOS ANGELES (July 2) — A federal judge on Thursday tentatively threw out the convictions of a Missouri mother for her role in a MySpace hoax directed at a 13-year-old neighbor girl who ended up committing suicide.
U.S. District Judge George Wu said he was acquitting Lori Drew of misdemeanor counts of accessing computers without authorization but stressed the ruling was tentative until he issues it in writing. He noted the case of a judge who changed his mind after ruling.
Drew was convicted in November, but the judge said that if she is to be found guilty of illegally accessing computers, anyone who has ever violated the social networking site’s terms of service would be guilty of a misdemeanor. That would be unconstitutional, he said.
“You could prosecute pretty much anyone who violated terms of service,” he said.
Prosecutors had sought the maximum three-year prison sentence and a $300,000 fine, but it had been uncertain going into Thursday’s hearing whether Drew would be sentenced. Full story.