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View Diary: Aaron Swartz Was Going Home With a Slap On The Wrist. Then The Feds Got Involved (274 comments)

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  •  Let's take this from another angle shall we? (8+ / 0-)

    The prosecution was notified that he was at risk and they suggested putting him in jail the thought of which had brought the extreme depression that led to suicide thoughts - and apparently suicide ultimately.  I would agree with you that the mental illness was poorly treated, but I might not point my finger at the mental health professionals as much as the prosecutors who seemed intent on only making the situation worse.

    I believe that these prosecutors deserve every ounce of scrutiny they are receiving.  Not only were they acting cruelly; engaging in selective prosecution rather than applying the laws fairly and productively; but they sought to destroy a person's life entirely - 50 years would have him in his 70s had he gone to jail - that's ridiculous and outrageous punishment for what he allegedly did to bring on their prosecution.  The large majority of rapists and murderers don't face those kinds of sentences and they are dangers to our society.

    Cruel and unusual punishment was not just about torture, it was also about punishment fitting the crime.  These prosecutors were way out of bounds.

    •  Actually, it was deliberately treated poorly in (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      inclusiveheart, eXtina

      the hopes of making it even harder on him.  Want to bet that prosecutor is happy he was able to push Aaron to suicide?

      You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

      by Throw The Bums Out on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 02:34:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I doubt the prosecutors wanted the suicide. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eXtina, Just Bob, mrkvica

        Especially in hindsight.

        But I do not doubt for a second that the prosecutor was putting the screws to him.  Of course, it really begs the question of WHY???

        What purpose did it serve?  

        It wasn't like he knew where terrorists live or anything like that - NOT that would be a justification for cruelty - but it also isn't an excuse for the abuse of power by any stretch of the imagination given the "crime" he allegedly committed.  The prosecutor had nothing to gain as a representative of the people in these proceedings by being cruel to this kid who was clearly fragile.  

        And so we have to ask them to what end?  WHY?

        There is no good answer to support the prosecution's actions and tactics here.

        •  I think they did. After all why else would they (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          eXtina, JesseCW

          suggest/insist on preventative detention in prison instead of psychiatric help once they heard he was suicidal?  Think about the message it sends, "do what he did and we will do everything we can to make you kill yourself".

          You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

          by Throw The Bums Out on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 03:30:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ohhh... You've got little insight as to how (10+ / 0-)

            most prosecutors operate on a daily basis; what motivates them; and how suspicious, paranoid and cruel many of them really are.

            These prosecutors are typical of many of their breed.  They are ambitious - which means they want jail time and lots and lots of it - they want high profile cases thus this selective prosecution even when the State DAs were not interested in more than probation - and they ALWAYS think the worst of the accused regardless of whether or not another "Officer of the Court" like a defense attorney notifies them that the accused has a real problem.

            This paranoia and these hardball tactics make sense when prosecutors are afraid that they will be caught out down the road having offered a plea bargain to a serial killer, rapist or child molester who might offend again, but in this case - it is all about ambition and the hash marks on the wall denoting their win putting someone in prison and the others denoting the jail time they "WON".

            The suicide actually denies these ambitious prosecutors a desperately sought win and jail time to add to their "tough" resumes.  The suicide is the last thing they want.  They need the live body to get their kudos.  A dead kid does them no good, at all - and not because we think they suck for making it happen - but because they don't get the recognition and can't use the kid as their stepping stone.

            It is really disgusting.

          •  By the way, I understand where you are (5+ / 0-)

            coming from, but these people aren't really trying to prevent crime by setting an example - not this way anyway - they want their cake and want to eat it, too.

            They wanted this kid to be a notch in their belt AND to be perceived as "all powerful enforcers".  The suicide denies them of the notch in the belt and that's a big deal to them.  But don't worry - your instincts aren't totally off - I doubt they feel remorse or even care about the kid - especially after having seen the public statement they made about this tragedy and Schwartz' death.

        •  Why? Perhaps sadism. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          eXtina, JesseCW, shenderson

          Perhaps sheer misanthropy.

          There is an answer to your question. It's been suggested repeatedly the government wanted to make an example of him. Paranoia towards the internet and its adepts has been suggested. I'm sympathetic towards those arguments, though I have a hard time with the implicit CT. It's a bit difficult to imagine Obama and Holder sitting down and deciding this kid, this time, for this incident we didn't hear of at MIT. So what's left? What's left is prosecutors are mean rotten bastards in a system that rewards and encourages mean rotten bastards. And if anyone at all, with any position at all, whispered in the prosecutors ear that this kid stymied SOPA and he's a pain in the rear and we'd be better off without him then the prosecutor looses all the dogs.

          To get a precise and satisfying answer to your question you'd have to be able to get straight answers from Ortiz and Heynmann and their associates. Don't  hold your breath.

          •  I think I outlined the basics of why (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            eXtina, mrkvica, oldhippie

            most prosecutors engage in "over prosecution" and "selective prosecution" tend to do what they do.

            I don't think I outlined the rewards that our system gives ambitious prosecutors for this kind of over zealous pursuit, but suffice it to say that the notches in the belt can mean appointments to the judiciary; political opportunities; lucrative gigs with enforcement advocacy groups; and opportunities with high paying law firms for these people.

          •  who killed Socrates? (8+ / 0-)

            who killed Jesus?

            My answer (which may not be the final one) is this: No one person killed them. The system killed them.

            It's occasions like this where you can see that there is such a thing as the system. Every component lines up in precisely the right fashion so as to deprive this person of life. And it isn't by chance; there's an inevitability to it.

            The Obama administration decided to crack down on whistleblowers, creating a culture where this sort of witchhunt was encouraged. They set precedents by going after Bradley Manning, among others.

            A pair of ambitious, glory-hound prosecuters decided they could score brownie points with their bosses and get famous by going after this guy Swartz until he cracked. MIT caved and passed the buck to the feds, rather than following JSTOR's example, in order to appease the government. And I'm sure there are many others whose actions contributed to the death of Aaron Swartz.

            Like those famous martyrs, Swartz radically questioned the very foundations of the state--information should be free, he said, not under the control of the state. And that brought down the wrath of the state on his head.

            Like them, if he had only recanted, he would have been allowed to live at the cost of betraying the ideals he held dear. And like them, he chose his ideals rather than violate himself.

            Thousands of years have passed and we still debate who killed Socrates, who killed Jesus. We're going to be debating who killed Aaron Swartz for a long time.

            "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

            by limpidglass on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 04:36:33 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

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