Missouri Makes Online Harassment A Felony

from the laws-passed-out-of-emotion dept

Laws passed as an emotional reaction to a tragic situation are almost always bad laws. The state of Missouri has signed into law a bill to make online harassment a felony. This is in response, of course, to the infamous "Lori Drew/Megan Meier" case that has received so much attention. Of course, when you look at the facts of the case, it's not even clear if this law would have mattered. Drew didn't set up the MySpace account to harass Meier, but to find out what she was saying about her daughter. The "harassing" messages were actually sent by another teen, and weren't meant as harassment either, but as an (extremely misguided) attempt to get Meier to stop contacting the "fake" person. It's certainly understandable that people feel that something should be done, since a young girl ended up killing herself, but rushing into laws won't necessarily fix the situation at all. Also, it needs to be asked: if the same set of facts existed, but the boy who made Meier angry was real instead of fake -- would he also have been guilty under this law? If so, a lot of angry messages between kids having silly school spats are going to be court material.

Filed Under: lori drew, megan meier, missouri, online harassment


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  1. identicon
    Kevin, 2 Jul 2008 @ 6:05pm

    Shut up ehrichweiss

    You're a fucking idiot.

    You don't live in Missouri, do you? If you do then I apologize. Oh wait, I don't apologize. As it turns out, Missouri doesn't have legal jurisdiction outside of Missouri, which is of course where 99.99% of Internet users reside.

    I wonder how much taxpayer money will be wasted by idiots in Missouri trying to bring charges against people that Missouri can't prosecute. Or more to the point, how long it takes before someone gets the law overturned on the basis that Missouri doesn't have the legal authority to regulate inter-state communications.

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