/ November 17, 2008

Evidence in the MySpace Trial : Suicide Comes In

U.S. District Court Judge George Wu will allow the jury to hear that Megan Meier committed suicide.  Blog watchers will recall that the defendant in this case is Lori Drew – a woman charged with violating the MySpace terms of service with the intent to do harm.  Drew posed as a teenaged boy interested in being online friends with Meier and Meier took her own life when the “friendship” ended.  On May 15, 2008, a federal grand jury indicted Drew under a statute which makes the unauthorized use of computers to inflict emotional distress illegal.  

Defense Attorney Dean Steward argued that allowing evidence of the suicide will make this case about Meier’s death and that jurors would happily convict Drew of the lesser computer abuse charge.  However, Judge Wu agreed with the prosecution’s response that intentional infliction of emotional distress is an element of this crime and that the suicide is powerful evidence of Meier’s emotional state while she was receiving MySpace messages from Drew.
More news on this case is likely to come in the next few days. 
Source: WSJ Law Blog

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