Defense asks for dismissal of MySpace case

Lawyers for Lori Drew, a Missouri woman who allegedly harassed a 13-year-old neighbor who later killed herself, say prosecutors are using a flawed and vague law.

Defense lawyers for Lori Drew, a Missouri mother who allegedly used a MySpace account to bully a 13-year-old neighbor, filed three electronic court documents Wednesday asking for the case to be dismissed, according to the Washington Post.

The Post said Drew's lawyer H. Dean Steward wrote that the law being used to prosecute his client is flawed, unconstitutionally vague, and tries to criminalize behavior committed by millions online every day. The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act has so far been used to prosecute alleged hackers.

In the documents, he argued that the prosecution's case means anyone who violates the "terms of service" at a Web site could be prosecuted under the law, and that includes failing to read the "terms of service" when accessing Web sites. He wrote the law is "ripe for discriminatory enforcement."

Megan Meier, Drew's neighbor and a former friend of her daughter, committed suicide after Drew allegedly used a fake persona, "Josh Evans," to befriend and then break up with her.

Drew was indicted in May on a felony conspiracy charge and three counts of intentionally accessing a protected computer without authorization. She pleaded not guilty in a Los Angeles federal court in June. Conviction on all charges could result in up to 20 years in prison.

Missouri state law did not apply to the case, which caught the attention of the mainstream media a year after Meier's suicide. Soon after, the city where Meier lived passed a cyberbullying law. Members of Congress and some state legislatures are considering similar laws .

Prosecutors will have their chance to respond before a hearing scheduled in September.

 

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