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I haven't bothered to mention the whole sad Aaron Swartz saga, because it's been covered elsewhere. 

But having the involved US attorney then basically lie about it all in a very public statement is something that I find particularly offensive. Compare these two statements - one from July 2011, one from yesterday, and tell me Carmen Ortiz isn't lying..

Yesterday (as reported by the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere):

 "At no time did this office ever seek – or ever tell Mr. Swartz’s attorneys that it intended to seek – maximum penalties under the law."

And July 2011 (as posted by itself):

 "SWARTZ faces up to 35 years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, restitution, forfeiture and a fine of up to $1 million"

Maybe that official and very public PR thing wasn't "telling Mr. Swartz’s attorneys", right?  Because in private, Ms Ortiz was probably talking about how she wanted to pay Aaron for his services, and just hug him. Right?  Anybody?

Ms Ortiz, just admit you were an ass-hat, and apologize. Instead of this kind of crap. Weasel-wording and misleading about your actions is not making your office look any better.

Here are the sources, so that people can compare them for themselves.

(Post edited: it's 2013 now, so "July 2011" isn't "last July". Oops.)
Ying Tan's profile photoSheriff Sarah .Preity Zinta (sarahbanwar943)'s profile photoChris Austman's profile photoDavid B's profile photo
Politicians should take a 101 in public records nowadays.
They could get better at lying...
Amen. Isn't weasel-wording and misleading pretty much the job description though?
This just in, government lawyers good at lying and pursuing their own interests.  Not to minimize this situation at all, but it is par for the course.  The more startling thing is how cavalier the prosecutors office was about destroying an intellectual.  A culture where businesses can be too big to fail or prosecute, but bona fide geniuses can get thrown under the bus for a slight infraction is a culture that is less interested in innovation and more interested in mortgaging everything.  Too bad, because everyone loses; just some lose more than others.  It's the American way.
To be fair, though, a defendant can face up to the maximum penalties for a given crime without the prosecuting attorneys requesting them.  Judges can impose harsher penalties than the prosecutors recommend.  So, it may be true that they weren't pushing for the maximum penalties.  I'd have to do more research, beyond the articles posted.
expecting lawyers not to weasel words ?
Linux' people are so naive sometimes always :(

(I'm slightly wondering if Linus counts as Linux people.)
This is all very tragic and given the end result of this fiasco, there can be little doubt that at least to Aaron the pressure of these maximum penalties weighed very heavily.

However, these sources are not very convincing on their own. An attorney's office statement indicating the maximum penalties faced, should he have been found guilty, is VERY different from a statement in which it was made clear that those maximum penalties would be sought.

No such statement in that direction exists in the public domain, as far as I know. However, it is obviously apparent that, to Aaron the threat was very real.
Carl Knox
All human beings have a breaking point under maximum pressure. Rest in peace Aaron
jack ball
we should be able to hunt lawyers, they are scum every fuckin one of them. liars and thieves, this is what we get for letting them run things instead of honest people.
Bill Main
This is the kind of thing that happens when laws and lawyers become a business instead of a standard in which societies should live by.
+Michael Sarkissian: oh, I'm sure that it's "true" that in private talks they were very much not seeking the maximum penalty. That's how the whole plea bargain thing works. 

But there's no question that Carmen Ortiz' office also made the whole thing very public, and everything that ever got written about that PR statement talked about the "up to 35 years" etc. So the whole "never said we intended to seek" thing is at very best misleading. It was always there very much as a threat. 

It was always there very much hanging over Aaron Swartz.

And trying to say anything else is just lying.
+Jonathan Schultz, one's probably the prerequisite for the other. or the consequence. or both.
and yeah, I know how that works. I have the same ailment.
You can hope for honesty and integrity, but you should never expect it.
Seems you cant expect nothing of politics this days just theyre apathy on cases like this -.-
I'm not shocked or surprised in the slightest by her blatant lies and U-turn on her position from a year ago.
This is what people in the public eye do, they say what they want the public to hear, and when shit goes bad, they say what the public wants to hear.
This whole story is very sad to me, the world has lost a creative genius and as we all know we can't afford to lose even one with the way the world is going.
I hope there is change from this.
The really sad thing is, journalists aren't calling out the US Attorneys office on this. CNET (a tech news source that should know the background) just quotes the thing in an article titled "U.S. Attorney defends office's conduct in Aaron Swartz case". 

So the same sources that happily reported on the 35-year prison sentence possibility now happily spoon-feed people the non-apology, and make it look like it was all reasonable.

I wish journalists were a bit more willing to question these PR things.
By that standard, then, every single news article about a criminal case is a lie, because they all note the maximum possible penalty the defendant faces - regardless of the intent of the prosecutors.

Of course it's a threat.  It should be a threat.  The defendant should always be aware that a judge can choose to ignore what the prosecutors recommend, and should be sweating the whole time until sentenced.

Sorry, I just fail to see the problem here.
The question on my mind is "why was this prosecution happening?"
while the law was broken, how did this particular case become a priority for the government?
+CNET is full of crap most of the time anyway , they are the Windows Vista of tech news.
She should have shut her mouth at the end of the first sentence. Its deplorable to be making an argument for yourself when the other side no longer has a voice.
Probably to make an example on him so no one had the idea of sharing paid knowledge sadly cases like this just make things worse for them
Flow control.   They control the flow of money and information, weapons and drugs.
To be fair, saying what the maximum penalties are and saying that you intend to seek those penalties are two different things.
i expect honesty and integrity from anyone i deal with. if not they are out the door. or in my case off the site. i despise liars or cheats and deal with them as harshly as i'm allowed too. we as a country should do the same. get caught in a lie or cheating the public an your gone. kinda like greenland did. but i guess to many people are afraid of what would happen here if we did that.
+Michael Sarkissian: don't lie about if afterwards, though. Don't try to claim that the threats were "appropriate".  If you use the maximum penalty as a threat (and I agree people do, and it's reality), don't then come out later when people complain that you were over-reacting, and say "oh, but we never meant it".

That's weasel-wording. And it's lying. The words may be "technically true" if you read them in the right light, but they are clearly meant to be misleading to the point of being a lie. 
You make a very valid point. A brilliant young man's life is gone because of some of our stupid laws of greed, and stupid lawyering. How many more lives have been lost because of the same nonsense, and strong arming tactics upon less gifted souls. God only knows.
No statement on the prosecution of Jon Corzine.
"I wish journalists were a bit more willing to question these PR things"
how ironic coming from a defender of someone who pulled off a PR stunt for his friends ideological inconsistencies. 
This is just a thought that I'm sure others have long before me. But should we not discuss the entire lawmaking process.  Why not use a source control system (e.g., git) to review and update laws.  The current laws are old and need review.  But our current process seems not capable to do so.  

For example, the laws about breaking into the wiring closet can be punishable by 1 million dollar fine and 35 years in prison.  Where is that law?  Our laws should be very specific so that they cannot be misinterpreted or misused.
I find the whole incident appalling but not surprising. The Federal Government in general but especially the Justice Department has a culture of incompetence and corruption that frankly boggles the mind.

High profile screw-ups like this one or 'Operation Fast and Furious' make make the news once or twice but it makes one wonder how many hundreds or thousands of lives these imbeciles ruin with their poorly handled investigations and cases.
They did this to look tough on crime. It is the only thing they care about, their image. So if she apologizes, she will seem weak. And even if that is the right thing to do for normal people, she lives in a world where you can't ever be sorry or show weakness. (edit: the world of politics/law)
i've had to buy a lawyer once or twice in my life. and i make it perfectly clear what i expect from them for my money. i also let them know exactly how i truely feel about thier shitty profession. they are bottom feeding scumbags. nothing else.
John Glotzer
I don't know really how to say this without sounding dumb. But if someone decides to kill themselves for whatever reason - does that change the character of what happened before that? It's like the nurse in England who committed suicide over the prank phone call purporting to be the queen but wasn't. The prank phone call was ill advised - I guess - but did it "take the life" of the nurse? In my view, no, it didn't take her life. She took her life. 

Same here. Did the prosecutor over reach? Perhaps, I don't know enough about the case. Certainly prosecutorial over reach is a well known phenomenon. But should the suicide change the way we think about the case? Did the prosecutor "kill" Swartz? No - not in my view. No more than those disk jockeys in Australia "killed" the nurse in England. Ultimately it's Swartz that decided to take his own life.

Mine is a hard argument to make - and probably I'll be flamed for making it. But I think we tend to emotionally overreact when someone takes their own life and say "if only this or if only that." But the primary responsibility for the life lost has to be with the person that took that life. 

Go ahead - flame away!
This incident demonstrates clearly why government (be it local, state or federal) has no place in the enforcement of intellectual property dispute. These are civil matters, not criminal, and should be arbitrated appropriatley (to the tune of the value of the IP copied, multiplied by the number of instances of external duplication) and without any possibility of criminal charges.

The simple fact is that IP infringement is not theft (theft would imply that an entity be taken from its owner, depriving the owner of that entity... not the case in the context of piracy as the entity is duplicated, leaving the owner with their original unaffected). Since IP infringement is clearly not theft, there's no legitimacy for criminal charges.

More-over, the copying of an IP owner's work for ones own personal use does not constitute a loss of profits to that IP owner, and certainly not to the ludacris tune prosecutors claim ($1m for what? How exactly did his copying of their files cost them $1m? It cost them nothing! They lost nothing).
It only becomes damaging if the infringing party then distributes (particularly for a fee) the work, as this does constitute a loss of profits for the owner. In this particular case, no claim was made to even suggest that Swartz was distributing (or intending to distribute) the files.

Also, calling IP infingement "piracy" is in complete ignorance of the defintion of "piracy", an abuse of language intended to convey malicious criminal damages against the owner's property and self... neither of which is true!
I strongly suggest that these prosecutors and so-called "copyright enforcement agents" be sent by boat to Somalia to learn the true definition of "piracy".

Further-more, it is my interpretation of applicable laws that continuing the prosecution of a case where the claimaint has dropped the charges against the defendant is itself a criminal abuse of the system. An abuse for which the Swartz family should be compensated appropriately in response to the unnecessary and unnecessarily malicious pain and suffering this criminal abuse from the prosecution has caused.
Also, since prosecutional overreach appears to be considered acceptable practise in the United States, I'd suggest that (since multiple people within the prosecution service colluded to persue this unwarranted case) the Rico rules be used in prosecuting all those involved in the prosecution for an act of manslaughter through criminal negligence.
Do lawyers EVER apologize.  I thought that they taught them in lawyer school to never apologize because it makes it easier to establish liability.
I'm sorry, I still fail to see where the prosecutors were actively using it as a threat.  Their job is to prosecute criminals for the crimes they commit, not make them feel better about themselves.  

It is the responsibility of news organizations to report facts.  It is a fact that the maximum penalties for the crimes he was accused of were as they were stated.  Those facts were reported.  What was NOT reported, because of confidentiality rules, were any facts about potential plea agreements - including what the prosecutors were actually planning on requesting as punishment.

If Swartz felt threatened by the maximum penalties, then that's on him.  He probably should have taken that into account prior to whatever activities put him in this position.

It's just my opinion, but just because he was a tech guru doesn't mean he gets to break laws and get away with it.
'It isn't a threat because people capitulate' is taramount to saying that there is no right to a fair trial.

The reality of going to trial is that prosecutions multiply up the charges by charging for many similar crimes.  Juries are influenced by this, and 'split the difference', thinking that with this many charges, there must be some guilt.  What happens then is that those charges with insufficient proof for a conviction still count as weight towards a higher sentence.

The effect of this is to reduce the standard of evidence required from 'beyond reasonable doubt' to something like 'balance of probabilities'.  Anyone who doesn't fancy their odds, perhaps because some of the technical details are hard to explain, has no real choice but to plead guilty.  As well as spending traumatic time in prison, they then live the rest of their lives with a 'felony' conviction.

Fancy your odds?
The prosecution was apparently in the business of annihilation. Swartz faced spiritual annihilation and financial annihilation, with no viable means of escape. To my mind, our justice system is out of control. The prosecution took leave of their senses. Unfortunately, this kind of tragedy is all too commonplace, and most of the time goes unreported.

The suicide of Aaron Swartz in the face of the appalling over-reach of unchecked discretionary prosecutorial power highlights a much larger problem that pervades our legal system.

The entire US legal system (including criminal, civil, and family court divisions) is routinely used in an outrageously abusive manner.

Those who are traumatized, stigmatized, or victimized by such shenanigans within the legal system may suffer what has come to be called Legal Abuse Syndrome.
+Jonathan Ballard "Civil lawsuits" also describes disagreements between two parties. When you sue someone who has wronged you in a way that itself does not constitute a criminal act, you file a "civil lawsuit" against them.
I'm sorry but I don't see the lie.  The older post makes a true statement of the penalties that Swartz faced.  The second post is what Ortiz claimed happened.  The only ones that can refute her statements are Swartz's lawyers.  Unless they come out and say that Ortiz lied, I don't see any evidence to the contrary.  None of this excuses what happened but I think claiming that the US Attorney lied is a stretch.
I think Ortiz should have left this matter to the potential plaintiffs to pursue this as a civil case. In other words, a federal prosecutor should not have been involved. 

That said, what little I know about litigation informs me that even in criminal matters, there two sides engage in horse-trading on the potential charges and deals for sentences. It pains me to defend Ortiz , but if we assume for a moment her public statements are not outright lies, I see her earlier statement as part of the negotiation process. Her first statement was a shot across the bow. As the evidence failed to materialize and Swartz failed to agree to earlier offers, it is possible the latest deal Ortiz offered was 6 months in a minimum security facility. 

This is all speculation, and I have as much information on this as any other outsider. If my speculation is accurate, it's a shame Ortiz did not take the opportunity in her press release to discuss and describe the negotiation with Swartz in more detail.
+Jonathan Ballard any non-criminal case brought before a court is a "civil" case... anything else is simply splitting hairs, and doesn't contribute to the discussion at all (the opposite, in fact)
2 comments, binary response- lie or truth.. so boring and expected. didnt you techies  listen to obi wan in star wars...?
This woman wants to be governor and all she is doing right now is trying to play damage control before her actions blow up in her face and her political ambitions are ruined.  I suspect they already are though, because the second she launches a campaign, the internet will be alight with this story, forcing her to focus on nothing else.
I'm not sure what the lie is either because initially they always make it sound super scary and then end up with what they can get. But my understanding is that, even if offered a 6 month sentence, Swartz refused to plead guilty and be labeled a felon. Sadly, this world is not designed for folks who wish to keep their names clean while doing civil disobedience.
+Anthony Fiorito: the lie is how they first make a big deal to journalists and the public how Aaron Swartz faces 35 years in prison. And then come out later with a big statement saying "no, no, we never meant that".

That's a bold-faced lie. You can't first make a big PR splash about how bad something is, and then later (by not using the same exact wording) try to say something completely different.

So yes, it may be "technically true" that in private they never sought the maximum penality, but it is very much lying in public when you put on two such very different faces on the same thing.

I realize that lawyers are brought up (probably from small children) to think that "technically true" is what matters, but when you make public PR statements, they should be more than "technically" true.

They should be honest.

There's a big f*cking difference. 
'I realize that lawyers are brought up (probably from small children) to think that "technically true" is what matters, but when you make public PR statements, they should be more than "technically" true.

They should be honest.

There's a big f*cking difference. '

That's my most favorite Linus Torvalds quote ever.
A wonderful UN-heartfelt, cold, calculated and a simply inhuman statement. "The law is the law" is what destroys so many peoples' lives who aren't necessarily "bad people".  There is no redemption for human error in this country, unless you are very rich, and/or famous, or a politician.  The truth: "The law is the law, unless you write it, enforce it, or purchase it".     
Attorney general's office was directing stricter prosecutions for any internet activity the government wishes to control. 
+Chris Johnson and those who are not normal are supposed to die? No merci ever, break the weak, remove them from the gene pool if they can't take it. F*ck humanity. Is that your message?
+Chris Johnson as many laws are on the books now and as vague as they often are, every one of us commits a crime every day.  while some of us are prosecuted, justice is far from blind.  justice is highly biased to favor the powerful and often, to favor the white person
I think that's a pretty good summary +Michael Gmelin - i agree too. Clean out the gene pool of spineless criminals.
+Chris Johnson normal people aren't harassed to the brink of breaking by overzealous attention-whore prosecutors. Well they are, but not to this level. This is just some wannabe politician taking a minor offense and trying to make a name for herself against a scary big name "hacker."
Linus, thanks for weighing in.  I agree completely!
+Chris Johnson What law did he break?  Also, the word proportionality, check it out, might help you try to pass yourself off as human.

And another thing, normal people are terrible.  This prosecutor, you with your calloused and narrow views; normal.  Mr. Swartz was extraordinary, and he improved the world in his brief time here on it.  _Normal_ people made his work impossible to pursue.  Fuck normal people.
+Paul Graham ..and now that things got out of control she doesn't have the spine to stand by her previous statements.
+Chris Johnson You hold a very narrow and selfish view of the world around you.

Who the hell are you to define what normal people should or should not do?
Who the hell are you to say that you have any understanding of what another person suffers through, or the impact that suffering should have on them?
Who the hell are you to judge the willingness or ability of another individual to cope with "obstacles" that you have no personal knowledge of?

Get off your high horse, you holier-than-thou jackass.
If you are a public official or person of public interest, you must know that everything you say or write is being recorded somewhere (in this case on their own website!) and can be compared with your later statements, making it rather easy to identify contradictions.
Hacking is one thing, cracking is something else entirely. Punishments can be harsh as our society is increasingly dependent on Information Technology. Do unto others ...
It's that damned "up to" phrase. 1 year of prison still technically falls into the category of "up to" 35 years.
+Chris Johnson: yes, he committed a crime. Yes, he committed suicide. And what does that have to do with anything?

Does committing a crime mean that it's suddenly ok for a US state attorney to be dishonest in her public PR statements?

That's what I find personally so offensive. I didn't comment on the whole Aaron Swartz thing before, because I thought it was just sad, and the normal mis-use of legal power. But there are much worse cases of that in the US (look at the existing prison population).

But when the US attorney involved starts making big dishonest PR statements, that's when I personally think it crosses a line. So what's your excuse for thinking that it's ok for the Massachusetts U.S. attorney's office to make misleading PR postings to the public?
The world is so backwards now, Even when people kill themselves the blame gets shifted to others.
+Chris Johnson 
spoken like someone who has never been prosecuted before.  I agree with your premise, but the punishment is "in most cases" is too severe and overblown.  The laws and punishment are written by legislators who (in most cases) have never faced prosecution and are usually sheltered from the laws they write.  Who are the victim(s) of Mr. Swartzs' crime?  Was it violent?  Just defending yourself against the Government can cost you everything you have monetarily.  Mr. Swartz was facing years in Federal Prison, not club fed. It's very easy for an onlooker to see a simple obstacle when it's someone else who has to stare at the abyss.  
+Josh Stromquist I believe one of the objects in life is to never face prosecution. Sheltered from the laws they write? How exactly does that work?
Part of the problem is that lawyers live in their own little world where they have little code words and their own way of knowing.  They haven't a clue about how much they screw up ordinary people's lives when they play their weird little, extremely expensive games.
Perhaps this will be Ms. Ortiz' denouement.
+Paul Frederick 
Take insider trading for an example.  Congressmen can  trade stock with inside knowledge without prosecution.  There is also "the good ol' boy network" and yes, it is real _i.e. Look up Mark Foley please... Plus, don't forget that the majority of the legislature is rich and can afford  very expensive attorneys to pick and prod at the legal system to avoid any type of prosecution.  My hometown Mayor has have a total of 5 DUII's and has never gone to prison nor jail and is still currently mayor.  

 It won't take too much of a google search to figure my hometown out:) 
working for the government means you never have to say you're sorry.
It's not just gov't lawyers who should pay for their mistakes.  I almost took Mr. Swartz's path after trying to use Windows 8 as my primary OS.
The problem is with the laws.  They were written when "Cyber-" and computer were big scary words and the penalties associated with the infractions are disproportionate when compared to other actual violent crimes.  It shouldn't matter if the prosecutor is out of control, the law shouldn't allow the kind of penalties Swartz was faced with for the actions he took.
Thank you for telling it like it is.  I really do appreciate it.
+Linus Torvalds I came to the same conclusions when I first heard about the statement as you  - no way they could lint up what was said and avoid the truth now.

It is what happened next, will they have a investigation or will they try and cover it up as the former will be the only outcome in the end.

I'm also supprised how slow events are comming to the surface media wise upon this, I hope they garner the momentum they deserve.
In an unrelated statement the prosecution also firmly stated "we have always been at war with eurasia".
Lawyers, for the most part, are honest people that want the best for their clients and conversely the worst for their client's opponent.
And you know what a lawyer is before he's a lawyer?
Ordinary person. PLEASE email her MANY times and tell her how you feel.
also, He's a dick too...
In the last 2 posts I had the impression that not Linus is writing...
This was an warning for all anonimus.
Your post makes no sense.

The prior statement in no way negates the latter.
Please email the US Attorneys and tell them how you feel: and
Honesty in political appointees is unheard of around these parts.
but they can and do access your computer and there is nothing you can do about it.
Thanks Linus for this post. In her statement she mentioned that she is there to defend computers and the internet! May be she should start by defending the humans??? Who cares about computers when people are dying? Next time I face a Screen of Death I give a call to Ms Ortiz because I know she cares. People however have become the wave of their careers. Harvard is full of those 'brilliant' coldhearded computer defending lawyers.
Let's kill all the lawyers - kill 'em tonight (get over it, eagles)
Just so you know...

Unless there is something  somewhere in the bowels of the Justice Dept servers that indicate what she said is so, and unless the same somethings are provided by the defense and made fully public...

Unless that is the case... She needs to face prision time for lying. As an officer of the court, she needs to be held to a high standard.  The standard she is at right now is sanitary sewer with all of the other shit.
What about senator MENENDEZ and the child molester he has had in his office in Washington DC seems illegal alien had no papers visa was here illegally screwed 8 year old boy just before NOV 2012 NATIONAL ELECTION seems ICE/DOJ HID FACTS SO LIBERAL won't lose his seat! Child molesters running around WH HOPE illegal gets Obama girls for some fun! Blackobama sure doesn't seem too give a damn for Americans kids only his own
Ugh, ignorance. Please, Google, stop posting the comments of the rabble and their misguided enablers on my feed. 
+Linus Torvalds does Aaron Swartz's suicide make you think about depression and suicide in the Open Source community?

I know three hackers in the last 18 months who've killed themselves (Aaron, Len Sassaman, and Ilya Zhitomirskiy). I know of one kernel hacker, Andre Hedrick, who killed himself last year.

One of the things that worries me right now is that copycat suicides always occur after a high-profile incident. Per ,

"Reports that minimize the impact of psychiatric disorders contribute to copycat suicides whereas reports that mention this factor and provide help-line contact numbers and advice for where sufferers may gain assistance can reduce suicides."

There are hackers out there right now reading about Aaron Swartz and developing romantic and unhealthy idealizations about his story. I hope when people talk about Aaron they remember that he struggled with anxiety and depression.

Finally: people with suicidal thoughts in the USA should call 1-800-273-TALK, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
... +Tyson Coleman we all know the initial pronouncements are designed to intiate wailing an gnashing of teeth in a party of interest, aka the accused.  What we do not know is how much the discussion remained the same or changed.  Unless we see otherwise, we assume the full press was on to force #AaronSwartz  to take aplea.

That is what drives the despair, and that, precisely, is what would drive a persion to suicide.
+Simon Stuart excellent analysis and a brilliant idea. By chance are you an attorney yourself? From the sounds of it, possibly the one honorable lawyer in the bunch that could actually defend and legitimise his profession. If not you should become one for the EFF or other organization fighting the injustices of late. 
Mendacity ... I'm not shocked, but am indeed dismayed.
It's a sad story, but get it right. There is no apology necessary. The criminal process is public. The statute sets out the maximum possible penalty. The law requires that a defendant be told of the maximum possible penalty that a defendant could receive. That does not mean that is the sentence that a prosecutor will ask for our that a defendant will receive. This doesn't say that prosecutors have done anything wrong at all. This doesn't show the prosecutor is lying. Need more evidence to reach that conclusion. 
I think we've gone beyond apologies. I think Ms. Ortiz needs to hand in her resignation.
Not to nit pick, but the statement about the maximum sentence Aaron Swartz could have faced was not a quote attributed to Ortiz. She is quoted in the summary of the indictment, but not where it mentions the possible sentence. It's possible whoever wrote the summary just looked up what the maximum sentence was, rather than Ortiz saying it. Regardless, we don't know what Ortiz said she was going to pursue when she meet with Aaron and his attorney. I would suspect she did say she was going after the maximum, so she would have increased leverage to get a plea deal, but we don't know.
The real problem here is the absurdly draconian punishment he faced and the way prosecutors use the threat of such punishment to pressure defendants into coping pleas. Prosecutors are supposed to seek punishment of those who break the law, Ortiz was doing her job (perhaps she was overly zealous, I don't know). The proper response, however, is to remove (or at least limit) this particular tool (the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act) from the prosecutor's tool belt. Demonizing the prosecutor may be cathartic (because it gives us someone specific to blame), but it doesn't do anything to prevent others from facing the absurd punishment Aaron faced.
If any good can come out of this tragedy, it's that people are finally looking at the extreme punishments that are being handed out for what is close to a victim less crime. That, and that we are finally having a discussion about the justice of locking the world's knowledge away behind a pay-wall and the way we punish those who try to set that information free. This whole sad affair never should have happened, Aaron should still be alive, and we should still be standing in awe of his brilliance and passion, but focusing on the prosecutor neglects the real problem.
She should be charged with murder. When an ordinary citizen causes a death through malicious negligence, they are held legally responsible. Lawyers and police officers, being educated in the law and responsible for its enforcement, should face tougher penalties. There is never proper justice when federal attorneys are at fault. Ortiz will brush it off. In a few years she will run for the senate and win on a platform of being tough on crime. That is justice in America.
I wouldn't say that she lied. It's more like weaseling the truth. The wording looks very carefully done, like a good lawyer can always do.

I believe the issue of this situation is more with the severity of the law that "they had taken an oath to uphold". And they never actually did seek or tell his attorneys they would seek the maximum penalties.

What they wrote in the statement you posted, only "implied" that they could. And as you already pointed out, it's not like his attorneys couldn't read that post.

But I agree, it's still slimy. She may not have lied, but she could have still made an apology and become a better human. But I'm not sure lawyers have that in them.
+Eric Knudson - this isn't Slashdot, and sometimes it actually doesn't make sense to try to contrive the most ridiculously contorted explanation for why someone doing something really bloody odious might possibly be justifiable.
I'm as upset about this as anyone else (The Many Killers of Aaron Swartz, but there is some apparent confusion about the various penalties.  The original DOJ statement was a routine statement of the statutory maximums associated with the charges.  They represent theoretical exposure, but in the vast majority of cases actual penalties are far lower.  The primary factor is federal sentencing guidelines, which (especially for a first-time defendant) would indicate much lower penalties at sentencing.  In this case, the prosecutors were offering a plea package even lesser than federal guidelines (e.g. they offered <= 6 months total low security, with the opportunity to plea for probation at sentencing).  Underlying this all of course is the question of the appropriateness of all the charges in the first place, and whether or not MIT really (as reported) stood in the way of a no-jail plea package.  My view is that there was definitely prosecutorial overreach and grandstanding in the charging phase, but not necessarily very different from what has become typical in these kinds of cases given a very badly written law.   It's bad all around.  Aaron probably would have been better off just being charged with simple breaking and entering (i.e. for planting computers in the MIT wiring closet).  Of course if he hadn't escalated his approach each time he got cut off, this all most likely could have been avoided.  It's all tragic, and the underlying law creates the dynamic that encourages this type of prosecution.
Marty Weinberg, Mr. Swartz defense attorney, by his own statement, informed the press that two days PRIOR to Mr. Swartz's suicide a plea bargain was offered to the effect of 6 months jail time in a minimum security prison if he plead guilty to all 13 counts. This supports Carmen Ortiz's statement. And, Ms. Ortiz is correct in that ultimately, sentencing is up to the judge and unless the prosecution fights for the maximum, he/she can impose the lightest sentence possible.

Subsequent to Swartz's death, Weinberg informed the press that he had reached a new deal with JSTOR whereby Swartz would not have to serve ANY time. Here comes the HOWEVER, MIT refused to sign off on the deal. This act by MIT would pretty much force the Attorney General's hand in continuing prosecution. Which means the original plea deal could then be negotiated.

Weinberg could have fought for probation and fines at that point and there is nothing to indicate that that would not have been the outcome. Accusing the Attorney General for "hanging" a maximum sentence over Swartz's head is ludicrous. His own attorney admitted that a lesser sentence was offered; something I am quite sure Swartz himself was well aware of. The "threat" of a maximum sentence is ALWAYS a possibility when a crime is committed.

What has happened is tragic. But understand this, Swartz was a very intelligent person, nay, brilliant; and if any of you think that he didn't have a full grasp on what he was doing then you're a fool. Even if, on the outside chance he truly didn't know he was violating a specific law, I'm willing to bet that he knew he was walking a VERY THIN LINE that would undoubtedly carry some sort of repercussion.

I'm no legal expert but even I know that hooking into the backbone of any organizations network may carry some form of penalty - even if the door is unlocked. Swartz was an activist and was obviously trying to prove a point with his actions.

As is common with any tragic story, there is a twist of irony. Shortly before Swartz's death, JSTOR announced they would release 4.5 million articles to the public free of charge. So, Swartz's actions, at least to some degree, were successful. If only MIT had seen it the same way and simply agreed to Weinberg's deal...
+Don Johnson I have a degree in Copyright Law (amongst other things) here in the UK, but most of what I wrote before is just plain common sense and a clear grasp of the English language (something the legal profession purposefully omits for the sake of "interpreted English" allowing lawyers and politicians to make up their own definitions as they go).

I wouldn't be opposed to doing my part for the EFF and other organizations fighting for the right reasons... though it's sad to say that no politician is ever going to recognize the facts as I stated previously. It's not in their best interest to do so, because they make so much money from the Copyright lobby.

I do wish, however, that those being prosecuted under these blatant lies (legal fictions) and false interpretations would stand up before the press and each of them proclaim without rhetoric or injections of personal opinion that any dispute arising out of the so-called "infringement of copyright" as pertains to digital information is a civil matter, and that the county/state/federal prosecution service has no moral or socially-justifiable right to serve or seek arbitrary criminal punishment for a civil dispute.

Consider this: when someone burglarizes your property, you are required to prove what posessions were taken, as well as the value of those posessions if you ever want to see a penny of that value returned to you through insurance (or through any subequent civil case against the guilty party).
When a copyright agent claims that your copying of their intellectual property constitutes damages to the tune of $<arbitrary multi-million figure here>, there's NO burden of proof required to validate their figures (because they simply cannot prove non-existent damages).

What kind of "society" would allow for one set of rules to apply to one group, but not another? That's bigotry, and in this case it's pro-corporate bigotry against individuals (note that no representative of any corporation is sentenced to jail time or personally charged with a crime when they violate the intellectual property [or patent] rights of another corporation).

America fought for independance from the British empire because your "founding fathers" despised taxation without representation... yet this same country now provides representation only to those with the lowest rate of taxation.
Did ever you need a clearer demonstration that corporations (and cartels) have more rights than individuals?

I think George Carlin said it best: it's called the "American Dream" because you have to be asleep to believe it
Man suicide a release from those who work for you...this is hell
Destroying people's lives like this over copyright infringement while Banks and Corporations "Too BIG to FAIL" destroy the lives of 1000's says that the laws are completely broken and it is time for the people to begin exercising the "Third Box"!
Legalized theft,torture,persecution,and usury we are home of the debt slaves on global rise of you logged on guilty
Maybe its time to create an organization to protect futurists/techies or at least a band of strong attorneys who provide legal support. 
jack ball - you sure on your comment about lawyers being bottom feeding scumbags - there are good lawyers out there working for people who need protection from the system and they are not money grabbing mouthpieces (maybe the kind of lawyer who would defend a person like aaron swartz). Maybe in some countries those same type of lawyers may get murdered or threatened for daring to defend what the system would consider a threat. Start your own post if you want to bash lawyers or at least be specific about the type of lawyer you dont like
In the name of Truth & Justice as upheld by this one man, Linus T., I am switching to LINUX!

More people may consider it. No use of posting condolences online & doing nothing beyond. Those pussy days killed many truth seekers & made the liars rich & powerful, like JSTOR!
One has to PAY for Scientific Facts, News, Information, and Knowledge? No wonder the world is dumb!

In fact, this is not evidence Ortiz lied.  The statement that Aaron faced 35 years if convicted on all charges was a simple statement of fact, not a statement about what actual penalties would be sought.

+Linus Torvalds is wrong.
Lauren - you're doing the contorted nerd-sniping Slashdot-style justification thing, and frankly you should know better. They repeatedly publicised the maximum penalty.
+SHABIN RAJ And you will not regret it - I switched 18 years ago and have never looked back :)!
+David Gerard You are incorrect.  +Linus Torvalds is claiming that Ortiz was seeking the maximum penalty, but his presented evidence does not back that up.  Stating the maximum penalty is what they always do, whether they will seek that maximum or not.

You may not realize this, but judges can give a penalty greater than what the prosecutor seeks.  So if the prosecutor says Aaron only faces 6 months, and the judge gives 35 years ... does that mean the prosecutor lied?

Yes, it does.

Ortiz told the truth: he faced 35 years upon conviction.  That is just a fact.  Whether the prosecutor would seek 35 years or whether Aaron would get 35 years is a separate issue, period.
+Linus Torvalds is every bit as entitled to creatively interpret Ortiz' statements as Ortiz and the entire legal system seems to be entitled to arbitrarily abuse their interpretation of the law to file frivilous criminal lawsuits against non-criminals for the sake of representing a corporate interest whose soul remedy should reside in a civil lawsuit!
Slav Os
the worlds biggest BULLY (US government ) took
 another life......
Alot of people here are idiots.

If I play the lottery it states I could win a maximum jackpot of 80 million.  Does it mean they lie when I win nothing?  Nope.

All she said was that according to the crimes the judge can sentence him up to 35 years and fine him up to 1 million bucks.  If that fact isn't disclosed before a trial Aaron can get the sentence thrown out.
There's a petition at the Whitehouse that asks for her removal for her excessive prosecution and abuse of power.
Who do you people think defines the maximum sentencing (in terms of jail time and monetary "compensation")?

The prosecution!

If the prosecution in a "piracy" case says "he's facing <x> years and <y> in compensation", that's what the prosecution has decided is the desired sentence for the so-called "crime".
I don't think it's that bad.  Saying you face up to 35 years is a true statement.  Schwartz does face that based upon what he was charged with.  Whether the US Attorney goes after it or not is a whole different issue.
Sometimes, i apply butter to my skin and pretend i'm elvis
+Simon Stuart You're completely wrong.

Who do you people think defines the maximum sentencing (in terms of jail time and monetary "compensation")?

The written law.

The prosecution!


If the prosecution in a "piracy" case says "he's facing <x> years and <y> in compensation", that's what the prosecution has decided is the desired sentence for the so-called "crime".

Incorrect.  That is what the law says the maximum penalty is.
+Chris Nandor no, you are incorrect.

The "Federation Against Copyright Theft" states that the maximum penalty for copyright theft is a fine not exceeding $10,000 and up to 5 years imprisonment. That's as defined in law!

Since no copyright case has ever adhered to the legally-defined penalties, it is abundantly clear that the prosecution defines their own penalty on behalf of the client (the copyright agents)

And this is exactly the same way as they're allowed to specify diminished sentencing in plea bargains. The prosecutor in a criminal case gets to decide what degree of penalty they wish to push for.
+Chris Nandor Two things.

Firstly, as soon as the prosecutor's office decided to persecute Aaron they put him under threat of serving 35 years in prison and paying $1 million in fines irrespective of if they sought the maximum penalty or not (you just said yourself that the judge could decide to give him a greater penalty).

Secondly, I bet you they were not spending their quality time with Aaron and his attorney on patting him on his shoulder and trying to comfort him that it is very unlikely he will get the maximum penalty.  Their viciously bullied that young altruist, activist and freedom fighter.  It does not matter what penalty they sought and we will probably never learn the truth as I do not expect them to admit to what they did and why - what does matter is that they pushed a man who should be rewarded by society to commit a suicide and nothing will change that.

Summarising, I agree with Linus and others that she is lying (or using "weasel" speak and trying to divert attention from the truth which is also lying) - Ortiz's team's unethical deed backfired at them and now they are trying to put out the fire so that they do not have to bare any responsibility for what they have done.  Since it looks so bad their PR advisors can only do so much and hope that the majority of people will be stupid enough to swallow it which will make the whole thing go away (till the next time when the corporate machine tries to abuse the law to crush some idealist).
+Simon Stuart says, The "Federation Against Copyright Theft" states that the maximum penalty for copyright theft is a fine not exceeding $10,000 and up to 5 years imprisonment. That's as defined in law!

So, Simon, you are basically telling us that you don't know what Aaron was charged with.  Because it wasn't copyright violations, as you're claiming.

Please just stop.
What a lie. I dont know what she was trying to protect. I can't lame her for Aaron's death though. Nobody is responsible for someone's action. However, I do believe that she should morally accept the responsibility of harassing Aaron.
+Chris Nandor I refuse to take advice from someone who spends his days watching Pinky and the Brain while commentating on the world around him without contributing to it.

You are now blocked... enjoy bitching and whining to yourself!
Hahahaha nice that's right block him! 
For the less-than-completely informed, the charges that Mr. Swartz was facing had nothing to do with copyright violation - he did not profit from his crime, which was never completed because he was arrested before committing any actual crime other than trespassing - they were   wire fraud, computer fraud, unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer and recklessly damaging a protected computer.
+Tomasz Kotarba says, as soon as the prosecutor's office decided to persecute Aaron they put him under threat of serving 35 years in prison and paying $1 million in fines irrespective of if they sought the maximum penalty or not.

Correct, but that is not what she said.  She said she wasn't seeking 35 years, not that Aaron was not under threat of 35 years.

Secondly, I bet you they were not spending their quality time with Aaron and his attorney on patting him on his shoulder and trying to comfort him that it is very unlikely he will get the maximum penalty.

I don't know, and it doesn't matter.  I only know -- and all that matters to this discussion -- is that there is no evidence that she ever sought, or planned to seek, 35 years.

Their viciously bullied that young altruist, activist and freedom fighter.

I knew Aaron -- not very well, but we had a mostly friendly correspondence going for many months, several years back -- so please stop trying to blow smoke up my ass.  He was no more altruistic than the rest of us, and you'll never convince me that stealing is "fighting for freedom."

That's not to say the law is right, or the prosecution shouldn't have used its discretion to not prosecute, or something.  But please drop the bullshit about him being some hero.

It does not matter what penalty they sought ...

Well, that is what this discussion is about, so you're wrong.

Summarising, I agree with Linus and others that she is lying

Um.  What?  On what basis?  There's no evidence of lying.

(or using "weasel" speak and trying to divert attention from the truth which is also lying)

What weasel words?  It was just a fact, as you said: he faced 35 years due to the charges.  But what is not a fact -- despite you and Linus claiming otherwise -- is that she ever sought 35 years.  There's no evidence presrnted to support that.
+Vikrant Rai Saying that nobody is responsibly for someone's actions is a very bold statement. I'd recommend considering things from a psychological point of view rather than a purely logical one.

People can get others to do almost anything through manipulation.
Wow some people are already showing their asshole side in here, and this isn't about 'them'

This is about Aaron - and this Ortiz bitch ignoring his rights, and stating an out and out lie, about him, after he died, which is wrong in too many ways

Just admit that your words could have troubled him
Ah. The search for a scapegot begins. For once the search is justfied. I hope those responsible are dealt with appropriately.

As with other scapegoating incidents though, I don't hold much hope that those truly responsible will face any censure at all
None of those charges equate to anything near a $1m fine and 35 years imprisonment... further demonstrating that the penalties are simply made up depending on how much of an "example" they wish to make of their victim.
+Chris Nandor "He was no more altruistic than the rest of us, and you'll never convince me that stealing is "fighting for freedom.""

It is bad form to slander the dead.  He was not stealing anything.  He was downloading at a rate that was not expected, but he had a legal right to download the material.
+Jonathan Schultz just ignore Chris "Pudge" (slang for "lazy fat bastard") Nandor... he's a troll. Don't feed the trolls!
Utterly disgusting lack of integrity. It's bad enough she refuses to admit wrongdoing. But then lying about it? And the false sympathy to top it all off. What a wretched piece of work.
I think she lied, but maybe 35 years and what not is not the max. Just saying!
I have to agree with the attorney on this one.  Faced sentences and sought sentences are very different things.

For example, a DWI can result in years in jail, license suspensions for years and fines of tens of thousands of dollars.  But the truth is that anyone with a half decent attorney can settle for much more lenient sentences and almost no one ever gets the maximum sentence.

The maximum sentence statements are made to scare people.  You could face 2 years in prison if you drive drunk.  Maybe that discourages others from engaging is this behavior, maybe not, that's a matter worth studying in my opinion.

I am not aware of Mr Swartz leaving a suicide note saying: "35 years of prison would be too long, good bye cruel world."  So, let's not all dogpile on the prosecutors who were in all fairness just doing their jobs.

The big takeaway from this whole thing is that we need to look around us and help those who are despairing try to put things into perspective.  That sort of thing might have helped Aaron come down off of the proverbial ledge.
+Teodor Spiridon Very well said, we can't say what drove him, I have not heard of yet or seen a suicide letter, so without it, or with one that is empty of blame, we will never know

People who are suicidal are likely to always be, but those who are not, can usually not be pushed into it (experience)
i just think that its a shame that somebody not involved in any really malicious acts has to even face a criminal charge, or at least one that severe... a lot worse crimes have been committed and the perpetrators have gotten far less punishment than this
She shouldn't be allowed to apologize, nor should we. The foolish ownership of x-:$ should be hanged until dead!
+Teodor Spiridon
Wait-wait-wait. There wasn't said "the type of `crime` Mr. Swartz committed can theoretically result in X years, and Y US Dollars". The words were "he faces" which mean that those are somehow reasonable expectations made by the prosecution side for the sought sentences.

It's "weasel-wording" and bullshit and I hope that she and her inquisitor-hound will be removed from office with restriction to work in the Law field for — say — 35 years.
+Jonathan Schultz says, It is bad form to slander the dead.

Yawn.  This is very simple: Aaron's supposed "altruism" to bolster an argument.  I responded to that argument.  And it's something I would have -- and have -- said directly to Aaron.

He was not stealing anything. He was downloading at a rate that was not expected, but he had a legal right to download the material.

Yes, that is what the defense was preparing to say.  I've read the to-be expert witness' claims, and they were bullshit.  Aaron stole.  Saying that because the network was "open" it's not stealing is stupid on its face, but worse when JSTOR and MIT were trying to stop him, and he knew it.  They had, in effect, revoked his permission -- not right -- to access the files, and he went around them.  He stole, and he did it by using fraudulent tactics.
Ms. Ortiz is in full "damage control" mode... So, yes. She's lying.
+Jonns Mostovoys says, The words were "he faces" which mean that those are somehow reasonable expectations for the prosecution side for the sought sentences.

False.  Those words explicitly mean that this is the maximum penalty for the charges.  It has nothing to do with reasonable expectations, or what the prosecution will seek.  You're just making things up.
Probably some people already said it, but what Mr. Linus Torvalds says here, does not make sense. Everyone who reads newspapers regularly, knows, that if there was a crime and you want to tell what the consequences for a suspect are, the maximum possible sentence is mentioned. Sometimes also the minimum possible sentence is mentioned. However, this does not say anything about which sentence the prosecution will go for, once the trail has started! 

Which sentence the prosecution will go for, depends on a lot of different factors. In that case Mr. Linus Torvalds should just admit that he was wrong and apologize. Apologizing for calling Mrs. Carmen Ortiz a liar would be the right thing to do.
+Chris Nandor how can you.. err.. steal information? It magically disappeared from JSTOR servers or what?
When does the arc of a threat begin? If I point an empty gun at you, is it a threat? If I lift my voice, if I ... Maybe you see. The level of threat is a matter of how threatening the world seems.
If you are removed from one world, to be placed into another ...

The ridiculousness of all your arguments, why argue more and make more enemies? This is not what he was about
There's this story by Ursula LeGuinn.. "The Left Hand of Darkness", where it talks about a culture where lying is seen as really undesirable. Kids who have a tendency to lie are removed from the general population and are trained to be... politicians and laywers...

Just thought I'd bring this up since it seems kindof relevant...
+Jonathan Schultz I make good arguments based on facts, and you cannot refute them, so you resort to ad hominem.

+Jonns Mostovoys I don't make the laws, but that is what the law says.  Surely you know this.  There is a concept called "intellectual property."  It was the taking of this property that was part of the basis for the wire fraud charge.
It is the law that is overreacting. Thode penalties are too much.
I dont know the answer to this question, so this isnt an accusation, but how many of these "outraged" polititians publicly voiced said outrage before his death? I hope they actually did, but have a very hard time believing anything that comes out of a govt that repeatedly shows a complete distain to any and all concerns outside of their own. Thats on both sides of the political isle, sadly i firmly believe its just another showing of tactless parasites jumping on a possible vote gathering bandwagon. Wish Terminex had a large enough tent to fumigate our capital and remove the cockroachs in our tarnished halls.
whoever agrees with the feds on this one is totally ignorant of the situation.  He was being tried by laws that did not exactly pertain to his crime; the cyber crimes law was written for entities trying to get gain from their activities, since swartz was downloading content that should have been available to the public (at least from his perspective) and getting no gain from it, what he did should not have been classified under the same umbrella as someone who breaks into mastercard and steals 10 billion credit cards and goes on a spending spree...

the prosecution in this case turned a blind eye to whom they were trying, because "that's their job" and getting maximum "justice" is "just what they do" and they could really care less who or what the human behind the "crime" is.

they seek to deny the human citizen of america their substantive due process by forcing a pea bargain (as was mentioned in the forbes article), and they move on.  This law was broken in this case, and the prosecution didn't have enough intelligence to do the "right thing," because in law, that sets a precedence that can be used to get the guys who do steal 10billion credit cards from mastercard, off the hook.

its a fine line, but they did the wrong thing in this instance.
Her husband said disrespectful things about what Aaron's father said at the funeral on Twitter. So bad, he deleted his Twitter so u can't know. 
+Jonathan Schultz completely agree, slandering the dead is poor form. +Chris Nandor Mr. Swartz was downloading academic journals  from a legitimate site called JSTOR and was completely within his rights to do so. The only reason he was arrested and charged was because someone wanted to make a political example of him. Those with despotic and tyrannical dispositions will always find an excuse to use despotic and tyrannical means to enforce their hegemony.

Such tactics are misuses of power. They are the cowardly actions of morally bankrupt individuals enforcing the misguided and ill-conceived folk ways of a corrupt system. It is never OK for a government to persecute its people for seeking knowledge, and it is never just or right for a dully appointed officer of the court to prosecute an individual for political reasons. Such actions are at the very least impeachable offenses.

Mr. Swartz’s blood is on the hands of those that wrongly imprisoned and prosecuted him, and for that matter, all of us if we allow such inane and despotic interpretations of jurisprudence to stand. I shudder to think that anyone could justify such actions. The principles of liberty and justice must not be held hostage to whims of despots and tyrants.

In order for anyone to be free, we must all be free to learn. We must also be free to express ourselves with out the threat of political reprisal. As individuals, we may not agree with Mr. Swartz's politics or the conclusions he has drawn based upon the information he has attained; such disagreements were not and are not adequate justification to prosecute someone.
+Steve Whitley says, whoever agrees with the feds on this one is totally ignorant of the situation


He was being tried by laws that did not exactly pertain to his crime

Shrug.  He committed fraud on the wire in order to obtain property.  That's a statutory definition of wire fraud.

the cyber crimes law was written for entities trying to get gain from their activities

He was not charged under any "cyber crimes" law.  It was all about wire fraud, which predates "cyber crimes" laws.  You're the ignorant one here, very literally.
+Chris Nandor really?!? 

good lord... blocked.
+Benjammin Miller says, slandering the dead is poor form

Falsely appealing to the altruism of the subject is no better.

Mr. Swartz was downloading academic journals  from a legitimate site called JSTOR


... and was completely within his rights to do so.


Mr. Swartz’s blood is on the hands of those that wrongly imprisoned and prosecuted him


In order for anyone to be free, we must all be free to learn.

So that gives Aaron the right to commit wire fraud?
الستات ميعرفوش يطبخوا رول فراخ بالخضار وجلاش بالموز
The entire world would be a better place if we just told the truth. These sadistic government prosecutors are everywhere because we have allowed them to believe that we all think of them as heroes - far from it. We have to stop the hero worship of government agencies, including the military (I'm a vet), the police, and firefighters. This prosecutor's over-zealous actions disgusts me but she only did it because she thought she had the pass of the people.

However, still thinks that the government is out for your best interests is living under a rock. I say that as a former prosecutor.
hhha winta totbokh ih
OK, so let me try and formulate an analogy:

A is your 16 year old daughter's ex boyfriend.  He was previously welcome in your house but now is not. 
A is aware that your daughter, B, had a series of professional modelling photos taken.
Without your knowledge or consent, A enters your household at a time that you are unaware.  He is carrying a personal scanner for the purposes of scanning photos.  He finds and scans the photos of your daughter's modelling photos with the express intent to disseminating those photos on the internet free of charge.  His justification is that he is doing it to benefit heterosexual males and lesbian females everywhere.  He doesn't steal the photos, he scans them, and leaves the originals where they are.
At a later date, you discover the photos on the internet and surmise that A is responsible.  Unable to legally take a bat or bullet to A without criminal consequences, you make a complaint to the constabulary and ask them to investigate and prosecute A.
The prosecutors do their job.  
They determine that A is guilty of doing what is alleged.  They find the relevant charges in the criminal code.  Remember that the prosecutors didn't write the criminal code, but they are charged with a duty to uphold the law and prosecute the law as written.  They make a statement as to what the maximum penalties are.
A gets nervous about the consequences of his actions.  A is pre-disposed to depression.
Conversations are occurring between A, the prosecutors and you regarding what is an appropriate punishment for the crime. You can not countenance what is being proposed but your spouse / partner is coming around.
A decides to take his life.
The prosecutors without a defendant drop the charges which is standard procedure, and then makes a statement about what penalties were being discussed.
Your partner / spouse then decides that it might be in B's interests of her modelling career that the photos be made public and do so.
So, is a hero to all heterosexual males, and lesbian females?
Has he stolen anything?
At what point has the prosecutor done anything wrong aside from doing what you asked and doing their job?
Do you posthumously condone his behaviour?
At what point did the prosecutor become responsible for A scanning the photos in the first place and then subsequently taking his life?
At what point did the prosecutor lie?  Or be technically true instead of honest?
Too much finger pointing here.  The prosecutor did her job.  A took his life, a decision of his own choosing.  The public expects that laws be upheld.
Disgusting and unsurprising simultaneously, these prosecutors talk tough to further their careers. 
I don't see the obvious lie. "SWARTZ faces up to 35 years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, restitution, forfeiture and a fine of up to $1 million" may very well be a true statement, and it does not indicate what the prosecution has sought for. Each crime that Swartz was charged for has a minimum and maximum sentence (and fines). Add up all the maximums together, and you probably would get 35 years. It is a technical thing, and can probably be verified by anyone willing to read up on the crimes and the charges.

Additionally, which sentence sounds better fitted to the public:

"Ortiz is pushing for 25 years in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release, restitution, forfeiture and a fine of $600,000"

"SWARTZ faces up to 35 years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, restitution, forfeiture and a fine of up to $1 million"

Big numbers = big reaction while still telling the truth. Don't forget about the writers who filter the information. Though the first sentence is most probably not true, if any thing of the sort was said, I would choose the use the latter sentence in an article.
"John Doe faces up to XX years in prison, plus fines not to exceed..." is common-speak in U.S. media for "these are the maximum penalties allowed by law - this is the worst it can get".  This is completely different from saying "We plan to go for the maximum penalty".  

Now, I am the last person to be taking up for lawyers.  But using common phrases in their common meaning is not weasel-wording or mis-leadng (IMHO).
We have a moral duty to fight oppressive and unjust laws. Aaron Schwartz was fighting the good fight and oppressors just hate that. Had he not ended his own life, it's conceivable that he would have suffered torment and oppression for the rest of his life.

Am I using the word oppression too much?

Yes, but justifiably.
Coming from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation I see this all this time, I have a few friends who took plea deals because the US attorneys office was telling them if the case went to trial they would get the maximum sentence. Typical fed behavior...
"As a mother I feel sorry for their family.  But, sorry, our job is much more important than families..."
+Scott Kemp of course it's weasel-wording and lying.

Here's the "explain it like I'm five" analogy: you tell your best friend that you took some candy from your mom, and swear him to secrecy. He then tells your sister, who tells your mom. Your mom now grounds you, and you are angry at your best friend.

Your best friend then says "I didn't tell your mom, I swear!".

See what's going on? He's technically not lying. But that doesn't change the fact that he's a lying little dishonest brat, and you should expect more honesty from your friends.

Ok, now we're all grown-up, and I tell you that you should expect more honesty from a US state attorney, and that she's a lying little brat.

Here in Finland you can rape, murder and eat children and maximum penalty is about 12 years in luxurious prisons with full-hd televisions. And sadly, I am not kidding. 
+Linus Torvalds I comprende amigo.  I just am not sure that you do.  I suspect we will have to agree to disagree on this one.
We live in an age of increasing oppression and people  who complain about it - regardless of political affiliation - are derided as kooks and nuts.
Linus: where is the lie? Your interpretation is incorrect. The earlier statement states the POTENTIAL punishment under the law. The second statement does not contradict the first.
It's such a tragedy when a such a talented person takes their own life. I sure hope the people who drove him to it face some sort of justice.
One of the contributing reasons to why aaronsw didn't take the plea bargain was because accepting it would mean pleading guilty to the charges and to being a felon. So the "well he was offered 6 months" doesn't really matter in the scheme of things... even 1 day, $1.5M in legal fees, and being a felon is a dramatically different life.
It is here here not hear hear.
+Linus Torvalds says, you tell your best friend that you took some candy from your mom, and swear him to secrecy. He then tells your sister, who tells your mom. Your mom now grounds you, and you are angry at your best friend.

Your best friend then says "I didn't tell your mom, I swear!".

That isn't what happened.  What happened is that you took the candy, and then your best friend said, "if you get caught, your mom will ground you."

And then you turn around and say, "you just threatened to get me grounded!"  Even though he didn't.

You're just wrong.
+Chris Nandor He's not creating a direct analogy, he's making the point that you can make statements that are technically correct, but still distort the truth.
If lawing as if lying, biblically, what do you expect from a US Attorney?
this govennment is nothing more than a gang with a flag. this so call attorney of the law is nothing more than a thug
+Chris Nandor: what odd drugs are you on?

This doesn't have anything to actually do with your mom, candy, or your friend. I was trying to explain how you can lie while still being "technically" truthful, which was what people were talking about.

The analogy wasn't about the legal actions themselves, which is what you seem to have completely missed. You're just confused. Forget about trying to equate "candy" with "computer fraud" or anything like that. That wasn't the analogy, for chrissake!

The analogy was about the lying part. Trying to explain how you can lie while not technically saying anything untrue. IOW, you lie by omission, or by misdirecting the audience.

So no. Nobody actually took any candy at all. But the Massachusetts attorney's office first tells how they are saving the world from dangerous criminal scum and point out how horrible the crime is, and what a big deal this is, and how the criminal basically faces a sentence that is harsher than most murders and rapes.

Then, when that backfires on them (because it turns out that the law is crap, and it shouldn't have been a crime at all, and MIT actually asked for the charges to be dropped, and the guy got depressed and killed himself), the same office that was making a big deal about how big a crime it was, now turns right around and says "oh, it wasn't that bad at all, and we were actually being very appropriate and only ever asked for six months".

That is what I think the big deal is. It's dishonesty. And it's dishonesty from exactly the kind of people we should expect more from. If you are a US state attorney, you shouldn't be a dishonest little turn-coat. You should make people trust you, not be a weasel-wording excuse for a human being.
WSJ is a Rupert Murdock rag so why would you expect any truth in their articles.
+Linus Torvalds says, This doesn't have anything to actually do with your mom, candy, or your friend. I was trying to explain how you can lie while still being "technically" truthful

I'm sorry you missed my point.  I'll be more explicit: you incorrectly take the statement about 35 years as being a statement about what the penalty should be.  You are making that assumption, and it's a false one.

The law says what the penalty can be.  The prosecutor lays out the charges, and what the law says the penalty might be.  That is what always happens, and it is not a threat, and does not imply or reflect the prosecutor's wishes for any particular penalty.

You're just wrong.  You say that she sought 35 years as your evidence that she lied, but you failed to provide any evidence that she ever sought 35 years, in any way.  There was no dishonesty, not that you can back up with facts or evidence of any kind.
Wise latina appointed by anointed one dear leader.

Carmen M. Ortiz has dedicated much of her professional career to public service. 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.

As the chief federal law enforcement officer in Massachusetts, Ms. Ortiz supervises the prosecution of all federal crimes and the litigation of all civil matters in which the federal government has an interest. She oversees the work of more than 200 attorneys and support staff in Boston, Worcester and Springfield.

U.S. Attorney Ortiz’s top priorities include terrorism and national security, civil rights, and violent and white collar crime reduction - encompassing public corruption, financial and healthcare fraud. In 2010, she implemented the District’s first civil rights initiative, aimed at reinvigorating enforcement efforts of federal civil rights laws and increasing visibility among affected communities through extensive community outreach efforts. In addition, Ms. Ortiz serves on Attorney General Eric Holder’s Advisory Committee (AGAC). She is also the Chair of the AGAC’s Healthcare Fraud Working Group and a member of the AGAC’s sub-committee on Civil Rights and White Collar Crime.

Prior to becoming U.S. Attorney, she was an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Economic Crimes Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office (Massachusetts), and also served as Grand Jury Supervisor. Ms. Ortiz also served for eight years as a state prosecutor, in Middlesex County, where she oversaw the District Court, and prosecuted homicides, sexual assaults, robberies and other felony cases.

In addition to her public service, Ms. Ortiz was a senior trial attorney at the law firm of Morisi & Associates, P.C., concentrating on civil, criminal, and governmental agency litigation. She also was a Program Associate and Training Coordinator at the Harvard Law School’s Center for Criminal Justice (1989-1991). There she worked on the Harvard/Guatemala Criminal Justice Project, which entailed collaborating with the judiciary of Guatemala and other professionals to implement criminal justice reforms. In 1991, on behalf of the National Football League, Ms. Ortiz investigated allegations of sexual harassment made by a sportswriter against the New England Patriots. In 1992, she was part of a Senate Foreign Relations Committee team that investigated “October Surprise”, the Congressional inquiry into allegations that the1980 Reagan-Bush presidential campaign delayed the release of 52 Americans held hostage by Iran.
+Jonathan Schultz Yes, we all know it is easier to tell me to shut up than to actually address the arguments.  But actually telling me to shut up while explicitly avoiding addressing the arguments just makes you look terrible.
nothing to tell, just find it difficult to believe, too smart, too out going, i think he would welcome the challenge, can't get it ...right
+Josh Stromquist Being able to afford exceptional legal representation is not the same as being, "Sheltered from the laws they write." Just because I argued my way out of the last BS ticket I got doesn't mean I am above traffic regulations due to my heightened reasoning abilities either. All any of that means is we worked within the system as much as we could to insure a positive outcome for ourselves. Perhaps not everyone is capable of that but who ever said that life was fair? It isn't. Deal with it, or expect to be dealt with.
I'd like to know why Carmen Ortiz was compelled to add her personal "heartfelt" sentiments to her statement. They are totally irrelevant, and  can only be construed as self-serving, in my opinion. She is a scumbag. So, the threat of 35 years was, expedite a plea deal? Ultimately that will become the understood purpose of the indictment for sure. And, like hypocrites, we will go on telling our kids that bullying is not OK while our leaders and those in positions of authority continue to be the biggest bullies of them all. Fuck you, Carmen Ortiz.
+Daniel Campbell you'd do Carmen Ortiz? I don't think she really has the MILF look going on personally. I'm thinking she is a 2, maybe a 3.
I am not exhonorating the lawyers, but I think it's a bit harsh to say that his blood was on their hands.  The guy obviously had emotional problems and was probably sufferring from depression, which had as much to do with his suicide as anything else.  It's tragic and we all feel bad for his friends and family, but I consider the suicide either a selfish act or a product of mental illness and it's childish to blame the prosecutors, even if you don't agree with them.
+Garret Hamann To blame the depression but not the undue stress that caused the depression kind of blames the victim, no?  I'm not saying that we are all meant to walk on egg shells with one another, but we need to take responsibility for our cruelty to one another in this culture if we are to minimize it.
+Garret Hamann So what you are saying is that despite the fact that he had reason to legitimately believe his actions were not criminal, he should have just accepted half a year in jail and state that his political actions for the public good were criminal to avoid his family, girlfriend, and friends having the possible hardship of him going to jail for decades? Because he seems to have had only three options. Perhaps things are little bit more complicated than him being 'selfish' in this particular case...
we do not need attorneys, lawyers, and judges. The only law that works is vengeance. You cannot maneuver your way out of retribution, and fear of it keeps people civil. The system we have makes careers not justice. Look at Waco and Janet Reno.
+Chris Nandor the law does not define copyright infringement as theft. Different laws govern property and copyrights. The term "intellectual property" is meant to confuse the issue in support of perpetual copyright and is not the basis of copyright law.

The prosecutor in this case had thrown multiple charges on Aaron, where only one was actually relevant, of course with the aim of increasing the sentence, thereby meaning that she did seek to threaten Aaron with more than 6 months. 
If you make a career out of ruining people's lives as an example to others, you should be required to forfeit your career as an example to others when you fail this seriously.
What you're saying the government lied?  Isn't that conspiracy theory?
I think if I was facing 35 years in jail I'd at least wait until I was convicted and sentenced before killing myself. If you are going to be a "hactivist" then you better be ready to go to jail. Whether you believe the law is right or wrong, he killed himself, not the government. He was either an idiot or he has some other issues going on. 
+Shane Rodgers Have you considered other factors? Did he "really" kill himself? Do you think the investigation of his death has been actually handled properly? It is far easier to slam someone then look at the problems that led up to whatever happened. I hope that he will receive justice at some point in history. Try wishing on all involved their true intentions in spades daily. 
+Barry Kort +100 especially the family court where the goal appears to be the destruction of the family. 
Colin W
too make the planet a better place for us 99 percent we should round up politicians, oppressive bastards and bankers and toss them in a volcano. because really what have they done for us lately? except make life difficult. 
+gayle noble Sounds a little conspiratorial don't you think? Not to say it is impossible and assuming you are talking about the government, what motive do you think they have? 99% of the public had no idea who he was before he killed himself. 95% still don't. As far as I am aware, he never stole anything of significant value to warrant a secret assassination. If the government is authorizing assassinations of those standing up against the status quo then they sure are missing a lot of people.
+Colin Watson Take a lesson from bankers, bastards, and politicians and do for yourself. If you were the last person on Earth life would still be difficult, but then you'd have no one else to blame.
Fair comments, why aren't you in office? We need more fair and honest people!!

Cognitive dissonance and splitting are usually good indicators of a Borderline Personality Disorder.

Glad she's at the helm. ahem
+Linus Torvalds  Doesn't something just seem really outa wack here?  I mean, well, I just don't see it. How many on Google, or that we know are just like Aaron, and sui I can't even type it, but I don't see it. Something doesn't add up at all here. imho
did anyone happen to get copies of what he got? Did they will they be put public. And in the mean time, Maybe we should organize some type of internet protest. like pinging the doj all day? :)
Did everyone just realize how crock the government is!!
We should be careful that she doesn't take the fall for a much larger problem of systemic corruption stemming from collusion between public and private interests. 
+Steven Vaughan-Nichols Fired is too good for her. She hounded him, she should be hounded, ridiculed, picked apart, and we can see how she holds up.
ya she was told what to say its not her fault - it's everyone s.
anyone labeled a hacker is an enemy of the us administration.
and all this breeds is the i might as well fight instead of peaceful arrest mentality....
and how quickly you forget kevin mitnik originally accused of 200+ million theft and 4 years in jail for less then your cars worth in the end...he wanted to hire some of my crew btw...
I deal with federal prosecutors every day of my professional career. Their attitude is that if one violates federal law-- no matter how minimal-- he ceases to be a human being.  
Obama turning out to be worst president ever
And yet, not a single Wall Street banking executive who lied to investors and secured a bailout for activities that have angered the entire US population has been prosecuted by the the US attorney. 
+Evan Prodromou Seeing my old telephone exchange in your comment made me feel nostalgic for home. I grew up where that number goes. I'm in good company because Dennis Ritchie of UNIX and C fame grew up there too! I believe that number goes to the Summit Oaks Hospital (Formerly Fair Oaks) in Summit, New Jersey.

They're more famous for drug rehab than suicide prevention. I can remember when David Crosby and Mackenzie Phillips were there. Just not at the exact same time.
Guys, who think may be it's not her fault or she was forced to say that is not the topic or discussion here. The thing is SHE lied. That's the main point. The question is why she is lying now, even Aron is not anymore in this world.
Of course she lied.  She's a politician!  She was appointed by a politician, and the complete and full extent of her behavior is driven by the desire to keep her political office and someday take a higher office and exercise even MORE power over people.
hey you guys seen that fbi release of 130+ pages all redacted ROFL OH MY the poor trees 
i so feel for the ink person at that place.
ALL regarding surveillance law on citizens they don't want to tell you about....

ya know its time to say WHAT R U hiding 
She really needs to have the state bar that she's licensed to practice in investigate her.
well i am from canada we got our share a crazy stuff too but lately its getting real bad down south of us , i get feeling that the underground railroad needs a modern upgrade to help americans escape injustice of there own land...
This system is screwed as any other developing country. However, here these bastards get away with murder!
The terms mean different things in the legal system-like some things non-programmers might face after posting something on a blog post at github that means one thing to the general population but another to the "in" programmers... ;)

Perhaps an example...

Since Chicago changed the prosecution of marijuana possession, officers can (1) arrest you, (2) give you a ticket, or (3) let you go. Yet, you face the maximum potential penalty (arrest & prosecution) when you are caught smoking until the officer decides ... to let you walk (after, of course, confiscating whatever pot the offender possessed...).

Does that help at all?
+Eyal Lotem says, the law does not define copyright infringement as theft.

Irrelevant.  This case is not about copyright infringement, but about wire fraud.

The prosecutor in this case had thrown multiple charges on Aaron, where only one was actually relevant, of course with the aim of increasing the sentence, thereby meaning that she did seek to threaten Aaron with more than 6 months.

False.  You're just making things up.
I hope we start to learn, in this country, to seek true justice and get rid of this over competitive, us vs them attitude. It might save us all tons of money too.
+Jon Mallin I don't know what you are talking about.  It happens all the time that someone pleads, the prosecution recommends a certain sentence, and the defense requests and is granted probation.  That is normal.

I reported on a case a few years back now where a police chief made a guilty to a gross misdemeanor, was sentenced to a year in jail, and was released on probation.  He never saw any time on that yearlong sentence.  This is perfectly normal, and given the cost of incarceration, a good thing.

And she didn't say "the oath made me do it."  She was not trying to say that she felt prosecution was inappropriate, at all.  She was saying, on the contrary, that her interpretation of the law made her believe that prosecution was appropriate.  That was her point.

+James Stilwell You have to first explain how it does stink.  His actions -- which amounted to committing fraud on the wire to acquire intellectual property -- violated the law.  He was properly prosecuted for it.

Please don't believe the hype that what he did was just fine and dandy because MIT has an open network.  MIT and JSTOR both were attempting to shut down his access -- which means they revoked any implicit permission he had -- and he knew it, and he committed fraud to bypass their attempts.  That's a crime, where you like it or not.
Lawyers 101: how to lie, steal, cheat and get away with it. 
Carmen Ortiz must go. Hers is a professionally unforgivable error in judgement, at the very least.
Gods neither answer nor apologize to people.
You expected a member of Obama's admin to tell the truth????
Proof that good code review skills translate to good editorial skills. Good find, +Linus Torvalds . This whole thing has made me sick.
There can't be any admission or suggestion of wrong doing. No one trusts these people anyway and admitting to what was essentially bullying and scare tactics would set a precedent they would never be clear of. That's all these people are concerned with, "how much paperwork will we have to do?" Anyone of any significance would be fired and new staff would have to be hired and who needs all that stress and paperwork? After all, it was just one hacker right?
It's appalling and nothing will be done about it. But, that's the one positive thing about having consistently untrustworthy government agencies. You never have to consider the possibility that they're being honest.
Oe Ai
+Vitaly Tomilin
doom's day is about people judging themselves
Aaron knew the truth - he made his own choice and it is true for this world not for his, in his own world he probably wouldn't get any accusation and this world maybe is not so perfect, because not so much people are helping each other and actual laws are made in the way that people thought it will be better for them - not for everybody, changing it is not so easy because alot of interests got to be considered, but if you get into agression you'll get it back.
just try to be fair (at least with yourself).
it is more about you to change the reality.
there's a story about russian officer - he killed himslef too because all those who knew him thought that he has stolen clocks, but he just had the same in his pocket and they found other clocks in about 10mins he left the building, but he died already. so it was because of others. and this is what not only young peoples do. something about moral case and society view.
but my own opinion that it shouldn't be discussed anymore - that's what Aaron probably wanted.
The government has too much power and almost no one thinks it is a problem.

This is only one of the more obvious examples of power hungry beuraucrats destroying people to further their career.
Quote of the day from John Tyler (March 29,  1790 – January 18, 1862) was the tenth (1841) Vice President of the United States, and the tenth (1841-1845 President of the United States. – “Patronage is the sword and cannon by which war may be made on the liberty of the human race.” Speech in Congress (24 February 1834)
+Shane Rodgers What I was trying to communicate and obviously didn't, was we don't know all the facts. There may have been other things going on that played into the picture. If you had those facts, they might shed some light on what really happened. It seemed to me you decided he did a very stupid thing before having all the facts and without positive proof he actually did it.   
 I agree that it is not a positive method of dealing with things. But one needs to talk with a person who has attempted or contemplated suicide to understand the other side of that coin. It is easy to judge another. It is harder to walk in their shoes. 
US Attorney's role should be to prove guilt not to intimidate; to prosecute, not persecute.
I think at a certain point politicians belive because they are politicians they are expected to be full of lies. The saddest part is we the public in are complacency accept and expect it....  
If his lawyers told him he was looking at 35 years then they were to blame for his death. Legal tactics like PR saying how many years a criminal is "facing" does not constitute dishonesty. The Feds don't bring charges without evidence to convict. They simply don't have any desire to go to court let alone lose a case. He had plead guilty and ho to jail for 6 months to pay for his crime. The only thing that can be blamed for this tragedy is mental illness. Blaming Ms. Ortiz for doing her job is pointless.
From what I can tell, it's S.O.P. to threaten the max as a negotiating tactic: try to get the accused to cop a plea, or otherwise cooperate, because if he doesn't we'll throw the book at him.  

The prosecutor wants to back-pedal?  Shocka!
+Jon Mallin says, Name one computer offense, cyber crime, where a judge handed out probation to someone who entered into a plea agreement for 6 months or more.

Name one reason why it matters whether it is a "computer offense."

I already gave you one example for a plea agreement of a year (if you like, I can link to the specifics).  Why does it matter that it wasn't a computer crime?  Unless you can give me a good reason to think it matters, I certainly won't bother considering that it might.
"Swartz faces UP TO 35 years..." She never said the prosecution would seek the maximum sentence, only that it was a possibility. Her statement is accurate.
Ms. Ortiz, at least be honest with yourself.
+Chris Nandor "irrelevant" and "you're making things up" are not actually good arguments.

You claimed he was a thief when he didn't steal a thing.
You claimed the prosecution only sought 6 months when the hacking charges brought upon Aaron were frivolous and based on violating the EULA of a publisher who didn't even want charges to be filed. The MIT network is incredibly open, and changing a MAC address is not a federal crime. 
+Jeffrey Herold downloading academic articles at a rate faster than a website allows and changing your MAC address is not and should not be a crime. Claiming he should have just "done the time" is incredibly stupid. They already financially and mentally broke him.

This man had done more for the world in 20 years than you ever will. 
+AOK Usman Linus point has nothing to do with Aaron and what he did. Linus says that the attorney is lying. Even if the office was prosecuting a murderer, she should not said such lies.
I sure hope Ms. Ortiz is sleeping at night...
It is a pretty sad state affairs all  the way around . What a brilliant young mind wasted.
There is no lie here.  The initial statement accurately stated the maximum penalties under the law, that a judge could impose.  The judge can impose that no matter what sentence the government argues for.  The PR statement says that they never intended to try to convince a judge to impose the maximum penalty.  We're talking about 3 potentially different numbers here.

We already know what those numbers were from Aaron's attorney as quoted in The Boston Globe.  The maximum penalty was 35 years, the prosecutor intended to seek 6-7 years in prison, and the plea bargain was 6 months (which, of course, the judge could choose to disregard and stiffen).  Actually there were 2 plea bargains offered, 6 months if you want to argue about how long you should be in prison for, 4 months if you don't want to dispute that.  So nothing Ortiz said was a lie, and all of her figures were previously confirmed by the defense attorney.

Of course having 3 sets of numbers is a problem in and of itself.  The cost of defending one of these averages 1.5 million, and judges do NOT look kindly on parties to litigation bringing publicity to the case.  Aaron was already running out of money, and without bringing publicity he had no way to seek donations.  And if he fought it, even if he thought he had a 90% chance of winning, he wasn't coming out ahead on average.  And if this kind of situation is hard for someone with Aaron's resoruces, imagine how much harder it is when an uneducated poor person is put through the same grinder.

No wonder only something like 3% of cases brought by prosecutors reach jury trial!  I hope that the remaining 97% does not include too many innocent people who didn't think that they could afford to stand on principle to defend their innocence against unjust accusations.  I hope, but must admit to extreme pessimism on that score.
+Linus Torvalds Torvalds, you are overreacting and the process of arriving at punishment isn't as black and white as you may think. It says "FACES up to" - and this is a light year away from "SENTENCED to" when pronounced by a judge after having been found guilty in a court of law by a jury of your peers. Motives, intentions etc all come into play if this young man had ever gone to trial, and hell would freeze over before he actually gets that kind of a harsh sentence over what he did. It would truly be CRUEL and UNUSUAL punishment and my guess is he'd have gotten off on appeal, or possibly have his sentence reduced. This kid was already depressed, whether he was aware of that or not and the heavy arm of the law was the final straw that broke his back, metaphorically speaking. Could the DA's office have been more delicate in handling his case, and taken in consideration his mental history when speaking to him? Yes, and I'm guessing from now on when they prosecute intelligent, sensitive men like this, they will know better rather than throw the kitchen sink at the defendants.  Last but not least, not to sound harsh - Swartz knew the law regardless of whether he approved of it or not, and had the choice of not breaking it as well.
+Linus Torvalds Thank you for speaking out and up advising us all about the 'lies' publicly perpetrated'. Many like myself suspect more nefarious activities at play in this tragedy such as the assault on our constitution's 1st amendment which Aaron fought against mightily as others still do. Surely harassing Aaron is and was not just a case of an over zealous prosecutor seeking personal glory? 
I'm inclined to believe they really never sought maximum penalties, it was highly unlikely the court would have granted them.
They were probably just throwing them around to gently remind Aaron how far were they willing to push if he doesn't plead guilty on all charges.
I'm pretty sure there's a name for such a behaviour, but of course only if you're not US attorney...
The figure of 1.5M being bandied about is a crock, but otherwise i'm in furious agreement with the gist of what ben tilly said. Think, don't accept what the loudest voices are telling you.
Yet they dont chase the fuckers with guns
Alan Turing. We have not learned from the past. 'nuff said.
Simply put, this prosecutor is a coward. In due time, the obvious recklessness of this fool will prevail. One can hope, at least.
Actually having read both Swartz and Ortiz profile I do believe that both have done great in each of his/her own part. Sadly things turned out this way. As for the crime accused, please understand the JSTOR policy on Access and Limitation, prior and after the incident occured, then you can say whether it was a crime or not, and yet u can only "say" not "judge" as I believe it is out of everyone capacity but the court to do so.
It appears the AG was simply doing her job.  If you disagree with the laws, elect better congresspeople.
There is a big difference between a press release and actual legal proceedings.  

Media routinely reports on prosecution by taking all the charges and adding up the max sentencing allowed by law.
Clear case of playing politics. from the start and it pains me what appears to a be a good man (I never met him hence the choice of words.) took his life because of it.
The justice department isn't about justice. It's about the law.

A surgeon makes a mistake and has to pay millions of dollars. Justice?
Downloading a few songs is sentenced with somewhere over $500,000. Justice?
Grow marihuana and spend your life in jail. Justice?

There are no simple solutions like getting rid of Carmen Ortiz. The next one might be even worse.

Why not make the law an open-source project? Look what works and is just and fair in other countries and rewrite the books.

And remember, like software, there's always a trade-off. Sure, the victim  might want the absolute maximum penalty, but is that fair?. Be honest about the crime and why and how it was committed.
 "SWARTZ faces up to 35 years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, restitution, forfeiture and a fine of up to $1 million" - this isn't a declaration of intent. Unless there's something else to contradict her words, she isn't lying.
Interesting left vs right (sides war) debate, is still division, not peace; Even if grace of such law vs grace instead of law vs law is so law law. Perhaps real grace is above, of under/above; Not right of left vs right. Perhaps all talk of decease should cease to have the real peace.
You've all plainly forgotten that she upped the number of charges to 13, making the maximum penalty something like 50 years in prison.  Furthermore, she refused to reduce the penalty below felony status, which is clearly not the action of someone who is considering the accused's situation.

When a lawyer pushes for felony charges on non-violent crimes it's entirely a political game.  They look good if they put a felon behind bars.  It's the same political bullshit that leads to 16-year-olds being convicted as sex offenders for texting nude pictures of themselves to their SOs.  Yeah, it's a dumb idea, but not worthy of felony charges.  The only reason a prosecutor would push for that is because taking a hard stance as a prosecutor makes you look good.

And you're forgetting the fact that felons have a hard time getting employed anywhere.  Swartz is well-known enough that it might not have affected his employability, but just having a felony on record can ruin your life, regardless of what it is.  International travel could be restricted, voting restrictions, etc.  I've visited people in prison on charity work.  Most felons end up back in prison because they no longer have a chance of succeeding outside without criminal activity.  Prosecutors don't give a shit about how to reform these people, because it's not about the people.  It's about money and power.

That's why it's disingenuous, you numbskulls.  It doesn't matter if she pushed the maximum penalty, because you don't need the maximum penalty to destroy someone.  All you need is a note on a record that says "felony."  She wanted to ruin his life to further his career when the "victim" didn't even care about it, and there was no real damage done (the data was directly returned).  She deserves all the fallout she can get, and I hope she gets it so other greedy prosecutors learn some restraint for fear of career destruction.  They certainly don't care about morals, after all.

EDIT: three incorrect words.  It's early, sorry.
She offered him a 6 month plea bargain in a minimum security facility, and he turned it down. Any talk about a "50 year maximum sentence" and "1 million dollars in fines" is a moot point as the actual real threat was 6 months.
The real threat was more than 6 months, because they werent going to ask for just 6 months after he turned down the plea deal.  The real threat is whatever they were going to ask for if he forced a trial.  And then ultimately depends on the judge, so the maximum possible sentence is the true threat.
I'm barely familiar with my local legal system, let alone the US one, but around here, if somebody's given an obviously disproportionate penalty, it seems they can usually get it overturned on appeal to another court; a mechanism which seems designed to protect against vindictive behaviour by particular judges. Is a similar mechanism missing in the US? :-(
+Steven Vaughan-Nichols

Remove United States District Attorney Carmen Ortiz from office for overreach in the case of Aaron Swartz.

It is too late to do anything for Aaron Swartz, but the who used the powers granted to them by their office to hound him into a position where he was facing a ruinous trial, life in prison and the ignominy and shame of being a convicted felon; for an alleged crime that the supposed victims did not wish to prosecute.
1) Judges decide sentencing, not prosecutors.

2) if the threat was larger than 6 months, that was by his own doing. That can't be blamed on the prosecuting attorney who offered him the 6 months that he turned down.
She said they never sought the maximum.

That's not the maximum.

I'm confused where the lie is.
If Aaron Swartz death wasn't threatening her political ambitions, but had died quietly with no public fuss she wouldn't give a damn about or even really think about it.  Same goes if he had been shivved or raped in prison.  These things just never enter her mind.  But now she might just have to take a lobbying job for the IP industry instead of running for Senator first and that does have her and her IBM executive husband upset.  Look, she's a politician, she's good at spin, but the only thing she's actually upset about here is that her politically useful case backfired on her.  

The thing is she shouldn't apologize, because she doesn't actually have any remorse over this.  

Oh, and here's the thing.  They were seeking the maximum penalty, the only stipulation was that was if it had gone to trial.  

That's still seeking the maximum penalty, regardless of spin.  

Never understand why people hold the right to s trial so lightly in the country.  The process goes like this:

1.  You figure you are innocent of the charges as stated, and will prevail at trial.

2.  The prosecution offers a plea deal because they want a slam dunk win.

3.  You turn them down, because you figure you are in the right.

4.  They pile on more charges, because they want to pressure you.

5.  You have second thoughts, because you never know how a jury will react and besides your money to pay lawyers is getting low.

6. Well, too late, that plea deal was a one time offer.  The prosecution may make another, worse offer.  Or they may decide you are right to be worried and they can prevail at trial and offer nothing.

Basically, once you turn down the plea bargain and assert your right to a trial, regardless of second thoughts, the prosecution is now seeking the maximum penalty.  (In fact, Ortiz and Heymann "discovered" a bunch of new charges to charge him with at this point.  Wonder why they didn't figure out those in the first place, har, har, har.)

All because you thought for a moment that you preferred a jury of your peers to determine your sentence rather than a prosecutor who wanted your head for a trophy to mount on her wall.  If we want the justice system to operate that way, why have juries or prosecutors at all?  We can just have street judges like in Judge Dredd who arrest and sentence people immediately.  

So much more efficient.
Linus is right.

Most of the comments seem to be focused on justification of sentencing practise, one way or the other.
Ortiz and her familiars are immune from consequence, and as a result corrupted from the assumption that they can safely threaten extremes, completely removed from common sense, to get what they want, and in this case, that's satisfying personal political and career aspirations.

As a result, the disparity between statements is not just a lie, but one  "safely" used deliberately, sheltered by the umbrella of immunity.

What i find most sad in the actions of Ortiz and her pet razorbacks is their contemptuous arrogant dismissal of a young mind with a brilliant mind, to a sub-human classification of "collateral damage". The ultimate and most horrifically inhuman of elitisms.

A worthless but momentarily useful entity (in their eyes) to be used, and if neccessary, discarded, in the pursuit of personal aspiration by those who are charged with administering law, (which is supposed to carry a responsibility, and grave perception of consequence, greater than most professions), and to satisfy those individual and corporations who perceive themselves to be immortal, immune from the law, and as a consequence, able to use the system THEY built with bribery and corruption to crush dissent.

So Ortiz didn't just lie, she deliberately and knowingly abdicated the responsibility of her position for personal career mileage, and political "Favour", and that angers me most of all.

This carries all the hallmarks of a obscenely disproportionate minority elitist feudal system of justice, and has nothing to do with a universally fair, common sense, and proportional administration of law.
When I clicked this on hnews,I hoped for a Linus-like rant , i.e. ",[fill the blank]!" . But even like this , it's sufficient . I have red most of the rants and obituaries concerning this thing , and all I can say is that someone whos obituary is written by tbl , must have been an extraoridinary human being . He was intentionaly led into suicide . Linus ranting on this , makes me proud of being in his flock.
Big surprise: "up to 35 years" includes "only 6 months". Actually this should be obvious, because it is logic.
Xin Liu
lawyers must hate internet :--) they can't hide anything
You are attributing a press release that includes standard potential sentencing boilerplate to an individual. No evidence of lying here. 
I am waiting to see where the hydra effect happens this time. Injustice does not prevail, ever.
She should be in prison for this. At the very least she should be fired and disbarred. Threatening to throw someone in prison for copying publicly funded research papers?  WTF was she thinking?  She was being "tough on crime" and having zero tolerance for "hackers" when she completely lacks understanding of what he did. She actually publicly called what he did "theft" which anyone who knows the facts can clearly see it wasn't. A lawyer should know what theft means, especially if they are choosing who to charge for crimes. I am livid over this, i hope she gets hit by a bus. Honestly.
Excellent post  - hypocrisy exposed.
the campaign for open access publishing of academic research - which was the essence of Adam Swartz's actions in this instance- must now be accelerated. For one thing it will make less work for useless, careerist lawyers and a little more education and benefit to everyone else.
This sad event should highlight how scientific publishers charge researchers to publish their work, funded largely by public money, relieve the researcher of the copyright and then charge them back for accessing it. Only because an ass of a system was developed in analog age doesnt mean it should continue in perpetuity.
Is both statistical and discussing, will force this chooses to single out an individual without 1st doing their homework this is the man is truly guilty and what he is accused of. From the looks of things this was never about finding true justice as it has been said this is about making an example out of one individual no matter what the consequences
the parties involved in this prosecution should be ashamed of themselves.
I'm not sure I understand. One quote is the DOJ stating what the maximum penalty was, and the other quote is Ortiz stating that they weren't going to seek the maximum. What part is the lie?
Thanks Mr. Torvalds for mentioning this to all you're followers. Her dishonest statement just adds insult to injury. She should feel ashamed of herself and step down. I hope that White House petition does something. =\
+Jim Smyth Your right, technically its not a lie.  Its really just irresponsible prosecuting and reporting.   However, I would like to see proof that she was really going to reccomend that the lower end of the sentence after publicly stating that he "Broke into MIT, thwarted MIT's and JSTOR's attempts to block him..." ect.

In other news, they wont be prosecuting Bank of America or HSBC for laundering money to terrorists, drug cartels, and iran.  Cause distributing science articles is way more menacing than terrorism, drug lords, and another nuclear power...
A lot is being made about prosecutorial overreach in this case, but I think that most people - including you Linus - are missing the point.

This is a case about a kid downloading too many files in a library.  That's what the whole federal operation was born from.

How does the Electronics Crimes Task Force of the secret service and the star US Attorney for computer crimes get involved with a breach of library security?

They got involved because the target of this operation was one of the principal organizers of the Anti-SOPA legislation protests that gave Congress the biggest black eyes.

The problem with prosecutorial overreach is that political dissidence in this country is supposed to be protected.  Freedom of speech is THE most important freedom that we have.  The government is not supposed to retaliate against someone who exercised free speech.  The people are not supposed to fear the government retaliating against them exercising their free speech.

The prosecutorial overreach that was the problem was not that the US Attorney was pushing for a maximum sentence or even an overly harsh one.  The problem is that she was involved at all.

Network admins could have dealt with the problem technically.  School administration could have easily declared Aaron persona non-grata or pushed for a student level punishment at his nearby school.  The local police could have pushed a charge of trespassing. 

But no.  Somehow a federal case needed to be made.  And that needed the resources of a U.S. Attorney and a secret service task force who's responsibility are crimes against our financial and technology infrastructures.

What other case in history involving a breach of library security has ever involved the secret service and a U.S. Attorney?

That's the overreach that we should be upset about.

Shouldn't the US Attornies be focusing on things like organized crime, consumer protection, large scale fraud and other major things that affect large populations of the citizenry?  The fact that they were spending any time at all on a mystery at a library is a problem.
This is a common PR tactic with prosecutors.  They list every charge they could conceivably bring and add up the maximum sentences
to get 4000 years, knowing very well that no judge is
actually going to give such a sentence.
+AOK Usman It seems very wrong to threaten someone with the clear intention of putting them under pressure over a trivial infraction. Sentencing should be up to the judge after a conviction, not threatened by a prosecutor before it. 
+jack ball If you don't even know it was once or twice you needed a laywer, then the rest of your story is probably nonsence too
+Linus Torvalds : The government simply will not apologize because they do not want to look foolish, weak, and wrong.
We should refer to this:  Not admitting you are an ass-hat, not apologizing, weasel-wording and misleading about actions as: pulling a Lance Armstrong.
This is a perfect example of how those that are meant to enforce the laws of the land lack the basic understanding how just how much the world has changed, how quickly information disseminates and how the role that social media plays in aiding the public in catching them in their bullshit.   
Anyone that thinks Carmen Ortiz is the problem is clueless.
She is a cog in a machine that can be replaced if it ever gets weak.
The problem is much bigger than one transient cog.
+Seymour Holz Ms. Ortiz is not the problem. Yet, she is a part of it; as such her culpability can not be expunged in this matter. At the end of day, regardless of the fact that Ms. Ortiz was a part of a corrupt system, it does not change negate her free will. Although we are all cogs in the machine, we our selves are not machines, and we have to account for our actions.

This being said, I agree with you that this incident is only indicative of a much larger problem within our system of justice. In light of such revelations, the appropriate thing to do is to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident. It is also, far past the time that we as a people demanded meaningful reforms to our system of justice. In our current system, justice is dead.

We have delegated far to much power to the officers of the court. We have allowed our political representatives to pass broad and sweeping legislation, and impose further restrictive and oppressive laws on us all. It is time we took a good look at the direction our nation is going. We are becoming cold and authoritarian; we are losing what makes human. In this digital age, I feel we need such ideals even more.
Try to imagine how lawyers laugh about all your silly layperson ideas regarding laws and there application to cases. If this is difficult for you, try to imagine how you would react to a layperson explaining to you how your computer works or how to program the kernel.

People without a clue, that's the whole Aaron story.
Linus, you have become a politician. I think that is good but the idea of an honest politician just doesn't fit the MO -- at least in the US.
It's not enough for her to apologize. There should be an inquiry.
Ms. Ortiz is only the symptom of a much larger problem. The current system is structured in such a way, than only 1 in 40 cases ever sees the light of day in court. If you dare request the right to be judged in court, the Federal Prosecutor will pile on every imaginable charge. This is not how our system is supposed to operate, but has become its SOP. 
Gog bless you, you are insane.
Man I love Linus.  The complete lack of ability to tolerate or work around asshattery is such an asset.  I wish I had never learned to be so agreeable.
always REST IN PEACE Aaron Swartz <3 tank you for Actvism.
The Real Criminal (Murderer, pedofili, and politicians) must have 50.
years of jail not you.
This world are shit! Damn
I woke up crying again and I didn't even know him but I do know that I am now using reditt, creative commons, tumblr when I was stuck on facebook. I have no idea why I have been so touched by his death- maybe because he cared......
Aaron, the RSS guy in Mass? Whattt??!!
Sen. Cornyn asked Holder if intention was to "make an example".  I'm waiting for the day when "making an example of somebody" in prosecution and sentencing is successfully challenged.  It punishes one individual more than they deserve in an attempt to fix larger problems in society.  It finds a person more guilty because of what someone else did that you dislike.  We all must face the consequences of our actions, but there should not be scapegoats upon which frustrated people dump their pent-up emotion and anger about what is wrong in society as a whole.
Making an example of someone is anathema to the whole concept of justice.  Moreover, that's exactly what terrorists do; they go after an easy target in the hopes of changing the behavior of their real target, whom they cannot otherwise touch.
+chronoss chiron
 It took the Canadians 4 years, but eventually they sent me back when I escaped from a corrupt prosecution in the US by the Riverside Country Prosecutor acting for the Scientology cult.  My guess is that Aaron would have been sent back in days if he had tried that.
There are scant true stories in the annals of human history about characters who willingly accept the role of scapegoat in our most compelling exemplar of recurring human drama.
I side with +Linus Torvalds. Those who hold an office should keep a careful watch of what they say, do what they intend, and live a life above reproach.

Unfortunately, politics has become a game where the one who discovered the most dirt about the other candidate gets elected. This has produced weasel-wording officials.
What we all really need is open source government.
lol james its called internet voting and the real way to do this is to have hackers  real ones get paid to break systems and hten tighten them up thus you can in time bring at least the best system to the world and we wont need any politicians....
imagine that world where you get a list of things to vote on at the end of a day and vote and then it gets tallied up by morning and any issues can take another day or so.

the idea that we need these bribable systems is beyond me and i bet you 1 trillion dollars the world would quickly become a better place with out the 1% oil rich crazy nutbar hollywood lawyer types running stuff.

with AES encryption use and a good key system that would be akin to getting another piece of govt id then youd be golden 
What we really need is a high-functioning government.

By that, I mean a governmental regulatory model that employs honest-to-god functions that optimally regulate the complex social systems of modern human society.

Anyone who, in this day and age, still believes that the crime and punishment regulatory model remain the method of choice obviously hasn't studied their mathematics, their science, their humanities, or their theologies.
+Keith Henson  i think aaron was smart enough and considered all options. we will never really know why. but perhaps he wanted die to defend his innocence and his cause than living a wrongfully prosecuted criminal.
+Barry Kort very true; I believe a system of crime and punishment is inherently prone to corruption. It makes the assumption that we all need the firm hand of father figure to keep us under control. I hear so many people talk about what they consider to be the "nanny state"; what about the daddy state? I am not a criminal, and I do not appreciate being treated like one.

Yet, guilt is the assumption of a system of crime and punishment. Under our current system we are all assumed to be guilty of something. It is just a matter of time before we get caught in the act. Read too many books or view to many documents on your computer and behold, the inquisition has you.
Overzealous attorneys like that need to be fired and charged in court themselves. What these public prosecutors do not realize that it is us tax payers that pay their pay checks. Lawyers like that make me sick.
This reminds me of the lod/mod hackers and the persecution of Kevin mitnick, which was really only trespassing.

The intent to violate copyright isn't illegal! Are we now in an era where our thoughts are policed?
+Justin Goldberg but yes, it seems to me like this is the new normal... if one can call it like that. You can't have an opinion different from that of the Law (call it Big-Brother if you want) or the currently-accepted-order-of-the-day, cause as soon as you think about it, thou shall be flogged. It's starting to smell like 50's in Eastern Europe, but it's worse cause now we can't blame it on communism.
As we go through these changes, it becomes evident that the problem is
not "communism" but the inherent dangers in giving power to The State.
All the various "isms" and "acracies" are in danger of becoming
theocracies of The State.
Strangely, everyone keeps clamoring for more State-sponsored
solutions. It seems when your base premise is the problem, we should
be re-analyzing that, instead of building upon it.
Neither the resignation of Attorney Carmen Ortiz, remedied the past, but the future could remedy the competent pseudo rid of are far from being worthy of public office, Sustaining continue as such, with this reality these women say to world that do not serve as mothers, and less to the bed, they are just a menopausal, macho, a brash humanity.
While I won't blame the DA for his suicide, i will say that the penalty for most cyber crimes are far too harsh compared to other white collar or even violent crime. That aside, the only law he broke was that he unlawfully accessed a computer system when he I stalled that laptop. What he did on the network broke no law, only MIT policies at worst... The data from what I read was freely available at the time he copied it. 
So the guys that destroyed our economy can walk away with fat bonuses and a Aaron faces 30 years + a million in fines? Yeah... That sounds fair....
"But having the involved US attorney then basically lie about it all in a very public statement is something that I find particularly offensive."

I feel the same way. I also thought that she dared to outright lie to public after days of science might be a result of confirmed support inside DOJ.
It would be nice to see more posts dropping the whole 'par for the course' resignation to cynicism and more posts about NOT accepting this sort of behaviour from public officials. How can we possibly allow these people to rage against so called cyber crime while handing more money to wall street fraudsters is an abomination of justice and it must be addressed.
David B
People should adhere to certain norms and ethics. Their should be fair judgement over all. +Sandra Minton 
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