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    Sad irony in Aaron Swartz case

    Sad irony in Aaron Swartz case

    This is a follow up to my post yesterday about Aaron Swartz.

    Patterico has the full details and documents.

    It’s somewhat complicated.  I’ll try to summarize Patterico’s research briefly.

    On Friday, the day Swartz committed suicide, papers were filed in his federal criminal case which reflected a possibly significant evidentiary defense.  In an email filed in connection with a motion to suppress evidence on Swartz’s laptop and a flash drive, it was revealed that the federal government had access to the laptop onto which academic papers were downloaded, which was in the possession of the Cambridge police, for a much more extended period than the government previously had admitted.  The significance was that the feds’ excuse for delay in obtaining a search warrant to examine the computer — that they supposedly had no access to the laptop — was inaccurate.

    The unreasonable delay in seeking a warrant, as a matter of law, could have resulted in the contents of the laptop and flash drive being excluded from evidence.  That would be a significant victory for the the defense in a case in which the feds had demanded substantial jail time and were playing very tough in plea negotiations.

    From Patterico:

    [Swartz’s attorney, Eliot] Peters refused to speculate about why Swartz committed suicide. He described Swartz as a “very sensitive and very smart person” who had been “very scared” by the Government prosecution. Peters told me that, in his opinion, the Government had been “awfully unreasonable” in their approach to the case. He said that they insisted that Swartz plead to all 13 felonies. They said that even if Swartz pled guilty, they were going to seek a prison sentence. They told Peters that if the case went to trial and Swartz were convicted, they would seek a prison sentence of 7 to 8 years. They told Peters that they thought the judge would impose that sentence. (Peters told me he didn’t agree; he thought the case was defensible and that even if Swartz lost, Peters didn’t think the judge would have sentenced him to custody time.)

    As Patterico notes, Swartz apparently was aware of this significant new development.  But whatever else was going on in his life and thinking, it didn’t stop him from taking his own life.


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    1. Instapundit has more links, including a post by an expert witness for the Swartz defense.

    2. I thought the era was behind us when the Establishment killed off transformational minds because of the disruption they cause. Apparently not.

    3. It’s almost 60 years since the persecution-induced suicide of Alan Turing at only 46.

    BannedbytheGuardian | January 14, 2013 at 1:22 am

    Ok has no one realized this dude w as with Harvard. Yet he is breaking into MIT where he had no rights at all.

    I think breaking into someone’s email account & distributing the contents is an offense. Even if it was no immediate monetary profit there could well be increased fame & reputation .

    Case – Sarah Palin & the Tennessee senator’s son. He was found guilty. & I do believe he tried a few of the excuses here as defence & appeal. These were federal charges.

    I see irony here aplenty but it ain’t sad at all.

    Maybe actor and Chi Com defender Jackie Chan is right, and America during Obama’s time in office HAS become the most corrupt nation in the world:

    And think: we’ve got another 4 years to go.

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