Carmen Ortiz Refuses To Reflect; Insists Her Office Will Do Everything The Same As Before

from the a-complete-failure dept

Over the weekend, in our post about Aaron Swartz, we highlighted Larry Lessig's quite reasonable anger at US Attorney Carmen Ortiz's failure to even suggest that she and her office might review their actions against Aaron Swartz to see if they were reasonable. He wasn't calling on them to necessarily repudiate their actions -- but to at least admit that they would review what they had done to determine if it was appropriate. Instead, Ortiz's statement took the hard line that what they had done was appropriate, full stop.

And, now, her office is continuing to stick to that hard line. No self-reflection. No review. No admission that it's even worth reviewing. Just a faith-based belief that everything they did was correct and they will continue to treat every case exactly the same going forward.
Ortiz’s spokeswoman, Christina DiIorio-Sterling, said last night the Swartz case won’t affect the office’s handling of other cases. “Absolutely not,” she said. “We thought the case was reasonably handled and we would not have done things differently.

“We’re going to continue doing the work of the office and of following our mission.”
Many others are calling on Ortiz, or her bosses in the Justice Department, to recognize just how much power they have over someone's life, and that this power must be used carefully. The response of Ortiz and her spokespeople seems to show not even the slightest sympathy or recognition that they have the power to destroy lives, and that such power needs to be used judiciously. It strikes me that someone who fails to have humility while in control of such power is someone who is simply not qualified to hold such an office.


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    Jay (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 4:07am

    Background

    It seems that when you've dug yourself into a hole, just keep digging.

    This allows more scrutiny into how she prosecuted others as can be found here . Her political ambitions are becoming all the more prevalent as we watch her actions destroy the lives of others.

     

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      Michael, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 5:52am

      Re: Background

      "It seems that when you've dug yourself into a hole, just keep digging"

      Just because something works for Charles Carreon, does not mean it will work for everyone else.

       

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      Skeptical Cynic (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 5:54am

      Re: Background

      Just wondering...

      What Obama has to say about her actions and why the White House has offered no comments as far I know.

      Nominated by President Barack Obama, as the United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, Ms. Ortiz was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in November 2009. She is the first Hispanic and the first woman to represent Massachusetts as United States Attorney.

       

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        Jay (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 6:05am

        Re: Re: Background

        It really doesn't matter.

        Obama promotes the establishment. His entire administration is run by those that give money to the rich and leave the poor to suffer in misery.

        His drones kill thousands of people in other countries and maintain a self perpetuating war on terror.

        His domestic policies allow for the dismantling ofpublic education against what Thomas Jefferson envisioned.

        And we, the people, are stuck with two parties controlling every aspect of our lives through monopoly rule.

        There may be differences between Democrats and Republicans but there is no difference that they're pushed the country to a far more authoritarian position for the last 30 years.

        We've criminalized the poor through or Drug War, our war on women's rights, and the war on the weak and defenseless over the empowerment of the rich and powerful.

        We have two Americas and a lost republic. That's the hardest thing to accept and what Obama won't talk about.

         

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          Richard (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 6:46am

          Re: Re: Re: Background

          In short you have a bad party and an even worse party.

          Similarly in the UK we had a bad party (Labour) and a worse party (Tories). We thought we had a better party (Lib Dems) waiting in the wings for when the other two failed simulataneously. Unfortunately it didn't turn out like that. They got in to the coalition and revealed themselves to be another bad party quite a lot of the time.

          "Power corrupts..."

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 6:19am

        Re: Re: Background

        When she was nominated by Obama in 2009, she probably was a decent human being with a good track record.
        Odds are she was corrupted by the Republicans around her.
        Wouldn't be the first time.

         

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          Skeptical Cynic (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 6:53am

          Re: Re: Re: Background

          I doubt it was just the Republicans. The Dems have shown themselves to be much more about government control of every aspect of our lives.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 7:25am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Background

            The Dems have shown themselves to be much more about government control of every aspect of our lives.
            Yeah, with their patriot act and their no child left behind and their faith-based initiatives and their defense of marriage act! Argle bargle!

             

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              Skeptical Cynic (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 7:33am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Background

              I did not say that the Republicans haven't shown their own grab for central power, just that the Dems have shown it more.

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 9:45am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Background

              The Republican party does not have a monopoly on stupidity. That would be a huge bonus to America's ability to do genuine positives for societies across the world.

               

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            John Fenderson (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 10:30am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Background

            The Dems have shown themselves to be much more about government control of every aspect of our lives.


            Not more. Both parties are very much in favor of governmental control in every aspect of our lives. The difference between the two is only what their pet issues are.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 1:08pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Background

              and one party wants to attempt to do something about starving children and such; the other one just dont give a fuck and wants it all to go to the top.

              While both partys are just fucked with rights and freedom, the right have gone off the bridge, under the water and drowned anything to resembles a decent humane party.

               

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                John Fenderson (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 3:50pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Background

                I was intentionally not addressing the relative merits of each party's pet issues. Just addressing the commonly stated myth that one party is more "small government" and the other for "big government", when in reality they both want "big government".

                 

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 6:55am

          Re: Re: Re: Background

          Odds are she was corrupted by the Republicans around her.Fucking please.

           

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          Jay (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 7:00am

          Re: Re: Re: Background

          Let me hit back here...

          It's not the parties, it's the establishment. Neither of the two parties truly represent America. While the Republican party is now the Fascist Party, the Democratic Party is still pushing for the money of the ere in Hollywood and elsewhere.

          We have a very divided US which needs more proportionality in Congress and the states. The two-party system is killing us and electoral reform is desperately needed.

           

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            Skeptical Cynic (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 7:07am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Background

            Jay, The Republican party is not the fascist party.

            The Republicans did not pass the largest push to control our lives, also known as the Obama HealthCare law.

            Fascism advocates a state-controlled and regulated mixed economy; the principal economic goal of fascism is to achieve autarky to secure national self-sufficiency and independence, through protectionist and interventionist economic policies.

             

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              weneedhelp (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 7:35am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Background

              Guys please just stop. The whole Republican Democrat argument is a waste of time. Lets just agree they are both crap, and dont really represent the people anymore.

              Appears Skeptical Cynic is a Republican.

              "The Republicans did not pass the largest push to control our lives" - Were you not present during the Bush administration?

               

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                Skeptical Cynic (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 7:50am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Background

                Actually, I am not. I think the Republican party is far worse for privacy. But I do agree that they both are crap.

                I am a Libertarian.

                 

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                nospacesorspecialcharacters (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 7:53am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Background

                Guys please just stop. The whole Republican Democrat argument is a waste of time. Lets just agree they are both crap, and dont really represent the people anymore.


                Here, here!

                Were you not present during the Bush administration?


                *facepalm* alright, carry on...

                 

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              Rick Smith (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 7:54am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Background

              While I agree that the Republican party is not the fascist party.

              I have to completely disagree with your statement about the push to control our lives. That was the "War on Terror" and the creation of the Department of Homeland Defense.

              Obama HealthCare is really just pandering to the large corporate entities (and yes you read that right). Its just a sneaky way to shift the costs out of the big guys pocket. So it forces you to get insurance, which means that those that don't use it support the costs on the company. Also makes states create their own group, so the really unhealthy can "convinced" to change to the private plan, again, so the big companies don't have to pay the bill. I mean you do know that all of the big companies have Self Sponsored plans, which essentially means that the name of your insurance company on your card is just who does the paperwork. The bill is just passed along from the insurance company to the actual company the person works for. So anything that gets them out of having to pay for sick people is money they can funnel somewhere else. They don't mind the healthy, just the sick.

               

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              Jay (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 9:29am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Background

              I stand by my statement. The Republican party is out of touch with US voters and stands at the far right extreme.

              Further evidence can be gained from this recent article:

              http://nutsandolts.com/2013/01/20/time-call-gops-ideology-proper-name-fascism/

              Also, I'm not a huge fan of libertarianism. Sure, we agree that the drones should stop and the military industrial complex as well as fighting copyright laws. But libertarianism is still a very dangerous ideology that promotes a police state and gunboat diplomacy. I'll argue against certain points because I have a different perspective. In my view, everyone should have a voice in government and the government bows to the people's will. In order for that, I would still advocate that everyone has a say in how government and states function and that only happens if we have third parties gain more prominence.

              Right now, for the last thirty years, libertarianism had had a great impact on the Republican party and I don't see why I should support a platform advocating lower taxes on the rich (who use up more resources than those under them), a balanced budget (on the backs of the weak and elderly), and increased spending on the military (when we outspend the next 20 countries combined)

               

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                JWW (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 10:09am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Background

                Libertarianism promotes a police state?

                Do you know what Libertarianism even means?

                 

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                  JEDIDIAH, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 10:17am

                  Re: Background

                  Libertarianism supports a police state. You just trade state ownership of the police with corporate ownership of the police. Pinkertons are the obvious example here. They were the armed enforcers of Robber Barons during the guilded age.

                  Libertarians just place faith in big business instead of big government. It's the same kind of beaurocracy and concentration of power in the end.

                   

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                  Jay (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 10:42am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Background

                  Yes, more laws for police to have freedom than the people they protect.

                  It was founded by the Charles Koch foundation and the John Birch Society and alienated people based on the color of their skin.

                  It had a tremendous influence on the Republican party in the 70s through Nixon which allowed the libertarians to create their ideal society in Chile. And it failed.

                  We tried the Reagan approach which was done thought the Individual Mandate for Leadership that the Heritage Foundation puts out. Lower taxes for all, a balanced budget, and little to no government.

                  Meanwhile all of the jobs go overseas, and the rich get richer. Sure, libertarians want to stop the drug war, but their belief in authority rivals that of far-right conservatives.

                  In essence, libertarians are conservatives that want to smoke weed and get laid. That doesn't excuse their fiscal conservatism which hurts the country through austerity.

                   

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                btr1701 (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 1:14pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Background

                > libertarianism is still a very dangerous
                > ideology that promotes a police state and
                > gunboat diplomacy

                'Libertarian' doesn't mean what you apparently think it does.

                 

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 7:34am

          Re: Re: Re: Background

          "...corrupted by the other POLITICIANS around her and the special interest money that they represent."

          FTFY

           

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          FDSDBS, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 9:37am

          Re: Re: Re: Background

          YOUR RETARDED

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 10:55am

          Re: Re: Re: Background

          sarcasm right? no? jesus teats c'mon man!

           

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          btr1701 (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 1:11pm

          Re: Re: Re: Background

          > When she was nominated by Obama in 2009, she
          > probably was a decent human being. Odds are
          > she was corrupted by the Republicans
          > around her.

          You're kidding me, right?

          This bit of horsecrap gets trotted out every time a Democrat/liberal is caught doing something shitty. The meme goes something like this:

          Conservatives caught being racist and/or behaving badly = proof that conservatives are racists who behave badly.

          Liberals caught being racist and/or behaving badly = proof that conservatives have infiltrated or corrupted them to make them look bad, because god knows, liberals are pure as the driven snow and would never do or say anything bad on their own.

           

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            Jay (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 2:29pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Background

            Do you realize that conservatism and liberalism are right wing ideologies?

            Do you also realize that through a strong persecution of the left wing in America, those are the people that brought forth the ideas that saved capitalism from being to imperialist?

            Do you recognize that liberals are committed to the same austerity as conservatives albeit slower?

            It's the system that's bad. Pointing fingers at Democrats or Republicans isn't going to help much (although, at least the Democrats have a few left of center people while the Republicans are far right)

             

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              btr1701 (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 3:23pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Background

              > Do you realize that conservatism and liberalism
              > are right wing ideologies?

              I realize that you apparently define words in a manner which diverges significantly from the rest of the English-speaking world.

               

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                Jay (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 6:05pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Background

                Nope. Seeing as how liberalism and conservatism are pro-imperialist ideologies, they are right wing. Liberalism is about reforming the capitalist system while conservatism is mainly conserving the individual qualities inherent in the system.

                The radical views are those of communists, socialists, and progressives which are center left to far left respectively.

                 

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      DannyB (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 6:13am

      Re: Background

      > It seems that when you've dug yourself into a hole, just keep digging.


      Yes. But may the variation of that meme that applies to Righthaven or Pretenda Law would apply:

      When you're an A hole, keep digging.

       

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      anonymouse, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 6:15am

      Re: Background

      Actually this is rather a good response, there are aready a few senators questioning the action of the DOJ and they are the ones who can remove their powers and change the laws.
      Maybe her arrogance and lack of humility and her actions in destroying lives by using the power they have given her will encourage them to investigate her and hopefully remove some of the powers she is abusing so much. Yes i know the senate is useless at the moment but when you have senators basically being told to STFU i think you can and should expect some payback from them.
      Hopefully the Senate will start some hearings into this and demand she account for her words and he actions.

       

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        velox (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 7:48am

        Re: Re: Background

        I am in agreement with Jay and anonymouse here. I think Ortiz's stubborn public statements will increase scrutiny of her performance as prosecutor and hopefully of the entire situation wherein overcriminalization invites prosecutorial misbehavior.
        Over the past few decades, judges lost much of their discretion because of instances in which the public, and subsequently lawmakers became furious at apparent abuse of judicial discretion. The loss of discretionary power suffered by judges became a gain for prosecutors. Most unfortunately, prosecutors have not uniformly used this discretion in a wise pursuit of justice. One can only hope that there will be another redirection of our legal system in the near future.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 6:54am

      Re: Background

      Wow. What a cunt.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 10:56am

        Re: Re: Background

        you know what they say big woman big cunt, little woman all cunt. And she is truly a small person.

         

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    John Doe, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 5:33am

    Thomas Jefferson said...

    "It has been said that men cannot govern themselves; so can they then govern others?"

    I think anyone who wants to be in government must be a sociopath.

     

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      Jeremy Lyman (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 5:46am

      Re: Thomas Jefferson said...

      Marcus Aurelius: Do you accept this great honor that I have offered you?
      Maximus: With all my heart, no.
      Marcus Aurelius: Maximus, that is why it must be you.

      Maximus for Congress.

       

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        Richard (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 6:54am

        Re: Re: Thomas Jefferson said...

        A more recent - and not fictional example - from a speech by Patriarch Kyril of Moscow:
        And everyone who really wants to become a bishop, I want to warn: the Patriarch sees it and is unlikely you will become bishops. The Bishopric will be for those who are not seeking it.

        His Holiness said that the consecration of Father Panteleimon was supposed to be performed on Aug. 10 at the Novodevichy monastery, but in those days the capital was covered with the smoke of forest fires and so His Holiness was asked to cancel the Patriarchal Liturgy in order to avoid a large gathering of people and not to endanger people’s health. The Primate called Father Panteleimon and said that consecration would be postponed. “He told me quietly in response:” Maybe it can be canceled? ” – said the Patriarch. – Thank you, Vladyka Panteleimon, for these words – they warmed my soul. “

         

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          Chris Brand (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 11:10am

          Re: Re: Re: Thomas Jefferson said...

          Personally, I'm partial to the Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy version - "To summarize: it is a well known fact that those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it."

           

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      John Fenderson (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 3:55pm

      Re: Thomas Jefferson said...

      Yes. I've thought for decades now that desire for office should be immediate disqualification for office.

       

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    Prashanth (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 5:48am

    Sonia Sotomayor

    I remember the hubbub about Obama vouching for Sotomayor's capability for empathy during her Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Maybe that's something that needs to be applied to federal prosecutors as well.

     

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    Bill, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 5:48am

    Top down situation

    Systemically broken. Time to start over.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 6:38am

      Re: Top down situation

      Government is like an engine, every 3k miles you need an oil change. Our government is at 50k miles.

       

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        silverscarcat (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 10:19am

        Re: Re: Top down situation

        The government is like a diaper. It needs to be changed often and for the same reasons.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 10:59am

        Re: Re: Top down situation

        world culture and enterprise is fundamentally broken, flawed by age. Someone please hit the reset button.

         

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    Skeptical Cynic (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 5:49am

    Never admit you did anything wrong!

    Don't just blame her. She can not admit they did anything wrong because that might mean they have done other things wrong and that might mean that have always done things wrong and wrong people don't get high level political appointments.

    So she is just following her leaders where they lead her by examples they set.

     

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      Ninja (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 6:09am

      Re: Never admit you did anything wrong!

      She's just a symptom of a widespread disease in the US..

       

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      Dreddsnik, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 6:45am

      Re: Never admit you did anything wrong!

      " So she is just following her leaders where they lead her by examples they set."

      So she is just following her leaders where they lead her by the gold ring they set in her nose.

      Fixed that for ya ;)

       

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        Skeptical Cynic (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 7:03am

        Re: Re: Never admit you did anything wrong!

        Thanks.

        Political ambition is sordid, foul beast that demands from you your soul and gives in return a modicum of righteous authority which can be abused with very little fear of consequences.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 7:43am

          Re: Re: Re: Never admit you did anything wrong!

          To be fair, although the expressed characteristic can be applied to most currently in office, it cannot be applied to all. There still are some, albeit few, that actually seek office (and fewer still that are successful) for genuine purposes of serving the public good. Case in point: Senator Widen.

           

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    Lord Binky, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 6:02am

    Why should they change when they are quite content with the outcome.

     

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      That One Guy (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 9:05am

      Re:

      Well, mostly content anyway, because while they got rid of a thorn in their side, they've also attracted a whole lot more attention to things than they'd prefer.

       

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    justok (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 6:08am

    They

    They are just following orders. What harm could come from that?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 6:16am

    Where's your reflection, Mike? When are you going to admit that Aaron did something wrong?

     

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      angelbar (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 6:27am

      Re:

      He do a breach of trust?

      So its ok to nail him a 6 month conviction and felon charges with a 50 year hammer ?

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 6:47am

      Re:

      Downloading too much information from a download service is not a real "wrong"!

       

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      Gwiz (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 6:54am

      Re:

      When are you going to admit that Aaron did something wrong?

      I have been debating this extensively for 3 or 4 days now. Can you point me to this supposed wrong you speak of? I haven't found it yet.

       

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      Lowestofthekeys (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 6:59am

      Re:

      Whatever he did that was wrong is debatable in light of a broken law.

       

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      Richard (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 8:43am

      Re:

      Where's your reflection, Mike? When are you going to admit that Aaron did something wrong?

      Where's yours? When are you going to admit htat he didn't?

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 8:50am

      Re:

      From the ongoing debate over his whether he committed a crime or not, one thing is certain:

      Had his case gone to trial, guilt was not certain as that decision would lie with a jury of his piers and obviously there are a hell of a lot of people (his piers if you will) that have seen the evidence presented from every angle that do not buy the case that the prosecution is selling.

       

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        Gwiz (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 9:13am

        Re: Re:

        Had his case gone to trial, guilt was not certain as that decision would lie with a jury of his piers and obviously there are a hell of a lot of people (his piers if you will) that have seen the evidence presented from every angle that do not buy the case that the prosecution is selling.

        Also add in the fact that a jury of reasonable peers, while it being possible they may have found the facts of guilt convincing, the over the top, unreasonable scale of the charges in this case may have caused them to find for "not guilty" anyways since the punishments seem to far exceed the scope of the supposed crimes.

         

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        nasch (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 9:28am

        Re: Re:

        Your pier is where you dock your boat. Your peer is a person similar to you.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 10:48am

          Re: Re: Re:

          My bad. And I too am usually one of those that points out those sorts of mistakes. Damn it! I hate when I do stuff like that.

           

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        btr1701 (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 1:20pm

        Re: Re:

        > Had his case gone to trial, guilt was not
        > certain as that decision would lie with a
        > jury of his piers

        What do defendants in land-locked jurisdictions do when there are no piers from which to form a jury?

         

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        John Fenderson (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 3:58pm

        Re: Re:

        obviously there are a hell of a lot of people (his piers if you will) that have seen the evidence presented from every angle that do not buy the case that the prosecution is selling.


        And great effort would have been expended to exclude all of those people from the jury.

         

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      JEDIDIAH, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 10:22am

      To those that pine for Sharia Law...

      There are all kinds of "doing wrong". You've got from jaywalking to murder. The idea of "having done wrong" is pretty irrelevant here as the main question is one of basic justice. What's cruel and unusual? What's a clear abuse of power? What's thuggish behavior that should usually be associated with mobsters?

       

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      btr1701 (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 1:18pm

      Re:

      > When are you going to admit that Aaron
      > did something wrong?

      You mean downloading what someone after the fact decided was 'too much' of a free thing?

       

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      Eponymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 1:45pm

      Invoking Godwin's Law

      "Where's your reflection, Mike? When are you going to admit that THE JEWS did something wrong?"

      FTFY

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 6:19am

    this is what happens when you live in a country that, although supposedly democratic, is in fact more or less a dictatorship. the people have no say. they are spied on 24/7, their conversations, messages, mail, every communication is monitored and/or checked. the government and government agencies have near absolute power and use it near absolutely!

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 6:23am

      Re:

      "this is what happens when you live in a country that, although supposedly democratic, is in fact more or less a dictatorship."

      Can you name a country that ISN'T "supposedly democratic, but is, in fact, more or less a dictatorship" by your standards?
      I can't.
      America is FAR from perfect, but it's better than anywhere else on Earth.
      Which may be a sad commentary about the human race...

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 6:40am

        Re: Re:

        "Can you name a country that ISN'T "supposedly democratic, but is, in fact, more or less a dictatorship" by your standards?
        I can't.
        America is FAR from perfect, but it's better than anywhere else on Earth.
        Which may be a sad commentary about the human race..."

        You mean countries that have "elections" for their leadership which are manipulated to give the people the leader they really want even if they don't know it. Like Russia, Iran, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Mexico and Egypt? We have a president that is dismantling the checks and balances built into our government as quickly as possible. We have a president who has encouraged the harshest punishments for anyone who exposes government abuse or mismanagement. We now could easily have tens of thousands of citizens arrested on secret evidence obtained through secret government spying, which is allowed through a secret interpretation of a law that none of us are allowed to see. For our own good.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 11:31am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Can you name a country that ISN'T "supposedly democratic, but is, in fact, more or less a dictatorship" by your standards?
          I can't.
          America is FAR from perfect, but it's better than anywhere else on Earth.


          there are far far better places to live than America, I have traveled their experienced the heartland and the west coast, and while impressive and the people are decent enough, the system sucks, during my visit, the best time in country was when the airplane took off from the runway and i was going home.
          you lot need to reform your system, to acknowledge that the founding were not infaibly, that they got some things wrong. that to make a more perfect union it might be necessary to use some principles used in other countries, seperation of the judicary from the election process, seperation of administration of justice from the election process, if a prosecutor is uses their office to further personal ambition, tha must be recognized for the corruption it is. and an elected politician who heads any government department must accept responsibility for all department failing, and resign immediately, that will focus on their proper job, making sure the depatment operats properly

           

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        The Rest Of The World, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 6:51am

        Re: Re:

        "America is FAR from perfect, but it's better than anywhere else on Earth."

        The former is most accurate, the latter needs evidentiary support!

        Carl Edward Sagan: "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence"

         

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        Richard (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 7:07am

        Re: Re:

        Can you name a country that ISN'T "supposedly democratic, but is, in fact, more or less a dictatorship" by your standards?
        I can't.


        How about Switzerland?

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 8:40am

        Re: Re:

        America is FAR from perfect, but it's better than anywhere else on Earth.


        How can a(I suppose an american though doesn't matter) person say that with a definite straight face in plain 2013 is mind boggling.

        Seriously, if you are American(or even if not) and you believe that, then you sir, are very much a part of the problem.

        Sheep can't and wont fix a problem when they think this is the best pasture around...

         

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          JEDIDIAH, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 10:26am

          American silliness....

          While it may be a bit of a stretch, it is also true that the other potential "escape" candidates also have their problems. You've got places like the UK where you have a pervasive survellance apparatus and the notion of "anti-social behavior". You also have places like Sweden where you can be charged with a sex crime for getting too excited and losing control.

          The idea that there's some better shang-ri-la out there is probably more wishful thinking than reality.

           

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        John Fenderson (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 10:34am

        Re: Re:

        America is FAR from perfect, but it's better than anywhere else on Earth.


        I disagree. I can think of a half dozen nations off the top of my head where, imperfect though they are, their government is much more democratic, fair, and just than the US.

         

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      Skeptical Cynic (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 7:18am

      Re:

      Ahh, but we don't live in a "supposedly democratic" country. See the founding fathers hated Democracy calling it "Mob Rule".

      The USA is a Representative Republic. Unfortunately, the people that the dumb masses have chosen to represent us are raised to that high level of responsibility by a beauty contest instead of actual knowledge and experience. Look at Obama and the experience he had before becoming President. Hell, look at the higher but still low level of experience Bush had before him.

      If the people we chose to represent us are people that we "like" instead of choosing people for their skill and knowledge then the US is getting exactly what they want. Those people that look good and say nice things but do not lead us to a better path.

      The leaders we have in the US are those that we have chosen and the reasons we choose them have become the wrong ones.

       

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        John Fenderson (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 10:37am

        Re: Re:

        The USA is a Representative Republic.


        While the US is not a purely democratic nation, by design, you can't just ignore that fact that democratic principles are and important part of the mix, also by design.

        We are not just a representative republic. We are a democratic representative republic.

         

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        DannyB (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 1:52pm

        Re: Re:

        > The USA is a Representative Republic.

        Yes, but it is a Republic of Corporations. Corporations are people too my friend.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 6:38am

    I want to hear four words: Carmen Ortiz, you're fired!

     

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    Davey, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 6:52am

    She has to tow the public line...

    But I hope she has trouble sleeping at night.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 7:52am

      Re: She has to tow the public line...

      Unfortunately people like her are without conscience for their actions. They only know to hold to their position and keep trying to support it unless they are forcibly held accountable for those actions. So unfortunately, she probably sleeps very well at night.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 6:56am

    Look all these fuckers want a life in politics, so they have to look like they are hard on criminals. Just ask the current and former hooker patron Governors of New York.

    To bad they don't spend a third of the time on violations of the current gun laws on the books.

    But like the Vice President said there are to many to prosecute.

    That's why we need more gun laws, simple huh?

     

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    Bengie, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 7:09am

    Lawyers

    1) Terrorize someone until they kill them-self
    2) Claim you would do it again

    Welcome to the USA Kangaroo system

     

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    Immortal Lucifer, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 7:19am

    I am not sure how things work in the USA, but are not prosecutors tasked with deciding whether it is in the public interest to charge a person which their alleged crime? Taking time to weigh up the cost, the time taken up in court, whether there is a likely hood of conviction and is the likely sentence proportionate to the effects of the crime?

    You have to ask, was it in the public’s interest to charge Aaron Swartz and send him to prison for 50 years? No? Then was it ethical to bully him into admitting to a felony and accepting 6 months in prison, using a 50 year prison sentence? Hell no!

    They should be hanging their heads in shame at this stage!

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 7:56am

      Re:

      Yes you are correct. They art tasked with these things, However there is no built in system of accountability. Combine that with the unlimited resources and incredible amount of power that they are afforded and you can easily see how that responsibility gets lost.

       

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      nasch (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 9:33am

      Re:

      Plus nobody pats a prosecutor on the head or gives them a raise or promotion for dropping a case, even when it's the right thing to do. They get rewarded for convictions, so for many* their calculus is based on whether they can get a conviction, not whether the person is guilty, or deserves the punishment, or the public interest is served.

      * not all of course, but I fear too few prosecutors really have justice as their goal, even if they think they do.

       

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    Gregg, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 7:19am

    We had a story up here in Canada of a similar nature, but no where near as drastic.

    Essentially a student from a Collage in Quebec found a security flaw in their online student services where all students private information could be accessed. Long story short.... he reported the issue to the collage as security flaw, when to check on it weeks later and the flaw was still there and then got a call from the business running the site calling him a hacker. He was then expelled from the collage, but public response to the issue raised awareness and the business (Skytech) ended up giving the young man a full scholarship and a job! The School still has expelled him, but it's a rinky-dink school in the first place.

    With enough voices, you can get justice!

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/story/2013/01/21/montreal-dawson-college-hack-ham ed-al-khabaz.html

     

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      Lowestofthekeys (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 7:32am

      Re:

      I read about that. The school board didn't even give him a chance to defend himself. He also said that if someone else had discovered the security hole, they could have gained access to people's social security numbers as well.

       

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      btr1701 (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 1:25pm

      Re:

      > The School still has expelled him

      This whole 'punish the people who show us security flaws' trend is ludicrous.

      It's equivalent to the Secret Service leaving the gates to the White House wide open, then arresting anyone who noticed it.

       

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    bshock, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 8:52am

    How?

    How do we legally punish Ortiz?

    I know, she's just a symptom of a broken Federal prosecutor system, but maybe that's too big a problem to address right now.

    I just want to see this one person hounded into retirement. I want to see her reviled by the public and by her peers. I want to see her name become an insult.

    What can we do within the bounds of the law to crush this bitch?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 11:01am

      Re: How?

      Well, first we pressure Congress to drag them before them to answer for their actions publicly. Then depending on discovery from that proceeding we pressure the executive branch to take the appropriate available action which at this point appears to be termination for her and the rest of her staff that are responsible. Next we allow the family to procede with civil litigation against them for their role. Finally we spread the word publicly so that their names become synonymous with the abuses of a tyranical government effectively creating a lasting cloud of shame that will follow them for eternity and ending any possible future they have in politics in general.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 1:55pm

        Re: Re: How?

        Finally we spread the word publicly so that their names become synonymous with the abuses of a tyranical government effectively creating a lasting cloud of shame that will follow them for eternity and ending any possible future they have in politics in general.


        Now now, I firmly believe she should lose her job for this, but actually ruining somebody's entire future for something that, while questionable, is not illegal by any stretch, is exactly what caused this situation to begin with. Going overboard with justice and "making examples" out of people is the very flaw in the US justice system that needs to be done away with.

        Carmen Ortiz should have used discretion in Swartz's prosecution, and discretion also needs to be exercised in our reaction. Now, I'm not a law student, but I believe the purpose of justice should be as follows:

        1. To penalize the guilty party, taking into account both the amount of harm caused, and the extent of this person's responsibility for it. This is why accidental manslaughter is not prosecuted the same way as premeditated murder.
        2. To provide compensation to the victim for the damages incurred, at the guilty party's expense. As we often see in copyright infringement cases here on Techdirt, it is a huge problem when the "compensation" far exceeds the actual damages.
        3. To take appropriate action to stop the same crime from happening again. It is plain to see that making examples out of criminals by giving extremely harsh sentences does not deter others one bit, so this can only really be applied to preventing repeat offenses. Whether that be removing an abusive father from his household, revoking a drunk driver's license, or simply removing the individual from society altogether if they are very dangerous.

        In the case of Ortiz, the harm she caused is very great indeed, but she cannot be held fully accountable for Aaron's suicide. As a prosecutor she was overzealous and irresponsible, so it would be best for her to be removed from her position. This would be both a penalty to her and would prevent her from harming anyone else in this way. I also hope Swartz's family has a chance to bring charges against her to be repaid in some small way at least. However, where you say they should be put under a "lasting cloud of shame that will follow them for eternity and ending any possible future they have in politics in general," that is beyond the scope of justice.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 12:05pm

      Re: How?

      Charge 52, Chapter 265 of the Mass. penal code. "Depraved Heart Murder"

       

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      John Fenderson (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 4:00pm

      Re: How?

      I do not believe Ortiz broke any law. I also don't want to see her punished. I think working to get her removed from her position would be sufficient, to protect the people generally, and then use that effort as a springboard to try and fix a criminal justice system that has gone insane.

       

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    mikey4001 (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 9:30am

    But remember, these are lawyers...

    Do not forget that the people involved, Ortiz especially, are lawyers. One must assume that in a lawyer's mind, any admission, implication, or acknowledgement of perceived culpability will be met with the necessary abundance of lawsuits. I am NOT trying to defend her, just suggesting that she might not believe what she says, but is simply afraid of the likely consequences of saying anything different. She may feel absolutely dreadful (I doubt it), but understands very well that her life will be completely ruined (as she does to others) if she concedes even an inch of ground. Lawyers love the smell of blood in the water, especially the blood of their own.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 10:41am

      Re: But remember, these are lawyers...

      If that were the case then the prudent thing for her to do would have been to simply SHUT THE FUCK UP.

      Still though I disagree. In watching the discourse over this, Contrast the actions of Ortiz's office with that of MIT and JSTOR in this case. Since JSTOR officially announced that they had settled their disagreement with Aaron after he delivered the hard drive containing the data and requested that the prosecution drop the charges and MIT issued a sincere apology with a promise to investigate their role in the matter with an intent to address any improper issues that they found, JSTOR and MIT have been largely spared from the backlash currently occurring.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 9:45am

    "It strikes me that someone who fails to have humility while in control of such power is someone who is simply not qualified to hold such an office."

    Best Masnick quote of 2013. I'm calling it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 10:30am

    Perhaps a good place to start before lambasting a US Attorney for doing her job, it would be useful to understand the guidance and direction they have been given by the US Attorney General, Eric Holder. People here hold strong opinions, but this does not at all mean that opinions to the contrary should be dismissed out of hand.

    For those who actually want to delve into the role played by the DOJ, they may wish to read and reflect upon the direction provided to all federal prosecutors by Eric Holder in a memo under his signature dated May 19, 2010.

    I would post a link to the PDF, but certainly expertise exhibited here can be brought to bear to find it quickly.

     

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      John Fenderson (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 10:39am

      Re:

      I don't see how that excuses Ortiz at all. We are all responsible for our actions. That someone in authority may have instructed us to do something immoral does not absolve us of responsibility for actually doing it.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 11:04am

        Re: Re:

        Who said she did anything "immoral". Has it now become immoral to charge an individual with violating US law when there exist facts that are believed to meet all of the requirements associated with such a violation?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 11:44am

          Re: Re: Re:

          If they would have charged him with something even remotely close to being in the same universe in the way of proportionality to the actions that were taken in this case then there would not have been a backlash and the case would likely had gone to trial and we would find out what the determination was as it played out in court. But as it happened they didn't do that. Instead they bullied him and now they are having to deal with the backlash because of it.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 12:18pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "I was just following orders" is not an excuse to avoid morally correct decisions.

           

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          dennis deems (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 12:31pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Just woke up this morning, eh?

           

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          John Fenderson (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 1:18pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Who said she did anything "immoral".


          I did. And I stand by it.

          Has it now become immoral to charge an individual with violating US law when there exist facts that are believed to meet all of the requirements associated with such a violation?


          It always has been in cases like this.

          The problem is that the prosecutor stretched as far as possible to apply any and all conceivable charges, no matter how ridiculous the charges are when you look at what really happened. (Wire fraud? Really??)

          A prosecutor's purpose is to further justice. It couldn't be clearer in this case that his wasn't in the prosecutor's mind at all. They dug and stretched as much as they could to dig up any law they could remotely make the case over, in a cold attempt to bully Swartz into pleading guilty.

          That is immoral. That it's common, even sanctioned, behavior makes it no less immoral. This has been a problem for a very long time, and is one of the many reasons why the legal system, is viewed by most people with fear and suspicion.

          What Swartz actually did, at worst, did not rise to anything even close to the level of severity that the prosecutor was applying. If this level of severity is applied to everything, then pretty much every adult in the US would be in prison right now.

          The prosecutor's behavior was egregious. It was immoral.

           

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            velox (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 4:58pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Many prosecutors are not concerned with morality. They are only concerned with legality.

            Certain lawyers (such as rather average regular here) will argue that is as it should be. The problem is - as was discussed by Orin Kerr a few days ago at The Volokh Conspiracy, there's a lot of poorly written and unwise law out there creating discrepancy between legal and moral.

             

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              John Fenderson (profile), Jan 23rd, 2013 @ 10:22am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              That's right. And all too often, when legislators are defending a poorly written or overly broad law, they publicly claim with a straight face that it's no big deal because of prosecutorial discretion: that we can trust prosecutors to only make use of the law in an appropriate manner, despite the fact that the law could technically be applied in a much wider way.

              In other words, legislators are claiming that we can trust prosecutors to act with morality in mind, not just follow the letter of the law.

              Clearly, we cannot.

               

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          DannyB (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 2:00pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Are you saying you don't believe it is immoral to threaten a kid with 50 years for excessive downloading on a network from from JSTOR which he had legitimate access to, and also for possibly trespassing into a closet to conceal his laptop?

          If the threat wasn't serious, then it should not have been made.

          It is beyond clear they had no concern for justice. I call that immoral. They just wanted to make it look like they were doing something.

           

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          Eponymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 2:32pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Simply stated: when you carry out an injustice to get justice, then yes it is immoral!

           

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          JMT (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 2:36pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Who said she did anything "immoral"."

          If you want to start a list of such people, you can put me on it.

          " Has it now become immoral to charge an individual with violating US law when there exist facts that are believed to meet all of the requirements associated with such a violation?"

          Your question is ridiculously simplistic. The aggressive tactics, abuse of a position of power, and massive overstating of the "harm" supposedly caused were indeed immoral.

           

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    john, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 11:47am

    Like hitting....

    a thumbtack with a sledge hammer!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 2:21pm

    Time to institute an Ortiz Watch?

    I'm thinking it's time to institute a Ortiz Watch; a crowdsourced effort to monitor all the prosecutions moving through her office to catch further abuse of power. Also examinations of past cases too looking for this similar pattern of prosecutorial bullying. If she feels it all well and good to make an example out of someone for what they did, then it only fair we make an example out of her for prosecutorial overreach too. In the end her position does not exempt her from targeting, and hopefully such targeting may help alleviate and/or exonerate others targeted by her office. It is an obvious matter of fact that her wrongs are more damaging to the greater good of society than those of Aaron and others, so some form of check is desperately needed. We have the abillity to do this, we just need the will to and not wait on others to take action like those in Congress.

     

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    Doc, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 2:56pm

    US Attorney is a rep of US Government

    Why would you expect anything different from the most intrusive instance of the US Government to EVER exist? They are working to become a tyranny following the steps faithfully:

    Default Five Steps To Tyranny

    To implement tyranny, the aspiring tyrant should do as follows:

    1. ‘Us’ and ‘them’: use prejudice to foster the (fictional) notion of the existence of superior and dominant in-groups (liberals) and inferior and powerless out-groups (conservatives).

    2. Obey orders: insist that all people under your wing are to obey your orders. (Prosecute and destroy if they don't)

    3. Dehumanize the enemy: emphasize on making inimical factions look less than human.

    4. ‘Stand up’ or ’stand by’: suppress dissenting or opposing opinions to your own.

    5. Suppress Individuality: foster the development of group identities while suppressing/destroying the individual.

     

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    public_servant_watch, Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 2:59pm

    No one is safe when the government is corrupt!!!

    Was MIT perhaps bowing to a corrupt criminal justice system and corrupt federal court system? Aaron's legal download of court records from PACER initiated a watch and government harassment. Further, and again, there was no hacking! There was no stealing! There was abuse of power and purposeful misinterpretation/stretching of the laws with a goal to eventually ban Aaron from computers. The only criminals in this instant matter are the ones being supported by the tax payer who have decided that they and they alone are exempt from the laws of this nation. BTW your corrupt legal community and corrupt federal court system make Bernie Madoff look like a piker. Pretense litigation with civil suits and malicious prosecutions in criminal matters to pad attorneys pockets and the pockets of corrupt public servants is routine! Why has Carmen Ortiz and the FBI/DOJ not taken action with documented proof that public servants use computers paid for by the tax payer to run pretense litigation and that their little capers include the identity theft of Circuit and US District Judges along with fraudulent docket entries and the rendering of bogus opinions and judgments to obstruct justice. Gee if Aaron had been able to continue his efforts on getting ALL court records free to the public the ruses in these courts would be evident and the game would be over. WHY did CARMEN ORTIZ AND MIT go after the one person that could expose alleged criminals that she had no intention of prosecuting. Nothing from our courts or any government agency can be trusted. Never in the history of this country have we needed at the current critical level actual OPEN GOVERNMENT and utilization of the FOIA. Aaron Swartz was a thorn in the side of a corrupt government and a VERY CORRUPT FEDERAL COURT SYSTEM!!! Harassment over the PACER incident simply led Aaron to pursue another form of information release where as an academic he knew common sense would prevail because who in their right mind was going to object to EDUCATION? Well apparently alleged criminals objected because they now had a way to bar Aaron from computers. Carmen Ortiz do your damn job and go after real criminals? ["Decency, security and liberty alike demand that government officials shall be subjected to the rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen. In a government of laws, existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our government is the potent, omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for the law, it invites every man to come a law unto himself. It invites anarchy." (United States v. Olmstead, 277 U.S. 438 (1928). Justice Louis Brandeis] http://www.scribd.com/tired_of_corruption

     

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    Gene Cavanaugh (profile), Jan 23rd, 2013 @ 11:45am

    Remember Kissinger?

    "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely".

     

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