A federal judge has set aside last fall’s convictions of Lori Drew on misdemeanor criminal charges arising from the cyberbullying and resulting suicide of Missouri teenager Megan Meier. Given the awful consequences of the nasty hoax against Meier, it is hard to exactly celebrate. But I did sign an amicus brief arguing that the prosecution stretched the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act well beyond acceptable boundaries, setting an alarming precedent. Apparently that’s exactly what the judge ruled (a written decision is expected next week). As I did before when I wrote about this, I will just quote Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes:
Great cases, like hard cases, make bad law. For great cases are called great, not by reason of their real importance in shaping the law of the future, but because of some accident of immediate overwhelming interest which appeals to the feelings and distorts the judgment. These immediate interests exercise a kind of hydraulic pressure which makes what previously was clear seem doubtful, and before which even well settled principles of law will bend. Northern Securities Co. v. United States, 193 U.S. 197 (1904) (Holmes, J., dissenting).