Sunday, January 08, 2006

A Felony?

 On Wednesday morning, Forchione filed a felony criminal charge of disrupting public services against Michael W. Stone,  age 18.   “Michael said it was a joke,” Forchione said. “We showed him how we deal with this kind of joke.”  It’s not the first time local officials have investigated situations where students are misusing computers. Forchione noted a 2005 case in which four Jackson High School students were charged with misdemeanors after being caught accessing the school computer system. Some grades were changed.
At Techdirt over 47 replies have hit the page on this subject.  Most are saying that this is a unfortunate event to happen to this boy, the punishment doesn't fit the crime.  One poster says:
Re: dos is dos
by Samuel Walter on Saturday, January 7th, 2006
our assertion that the student's actions constitute an attempted Denial of Service (DoS) attack is ridiculous. The student simply posted a comment on a public blog, not operated by the school, requesting that others go to the site and refresh the content. Regardless of his intentions, all he did was tell people to visit the site. He didn't setup flood bot, he didn't coordinate a distributed attack, and he didn't take advantage of or even mention possible weaknesses to exploit. Again, all he did was ask people to visit the site and refresh the content. At the most, the boy's actions equate to harassment and could have been remedied by simply talking to him.

Charging this boy with a FELONY is reckless, and irresponsible, and illustrates incredible ignorance by the school, the police, and the prosecutor. Furthermore, the actions taken and comments made by the prosecutor demonstrate his own brazen arrogance, poor judgement, and malice. If convicted of the charge this boy, who is just beginning his life, will carry the burden of being a "convicted felon" until he dies or is absolved by a higher court. Here's a sample of the collateral consequences his conviction would bring:

  • Ineligible for student loans and other financial aid.
  • Ineligible for most jobs requiring licensing by state or federal government (i.e. teacher, doctor, architect, lawyer, electrician, real estate broker, stock broker).
  • Ineligible for governmental employment.
  • Prohibited for possessing firearms.
  • Must disclose "convicted felon" status on employment applications.
  • Loses the right to become an elector and cannot vote, hold public office, or run for public office.
  • Potential disqualification from applying for public housing and other social services.
  • Potential disqualification from applying to be a foster parent.
  • Potential disqualification from adoption applications.

    Even if this boy is exonerated and the charges are dropped or dismissed, he will have been put through a process reserved for those accused of the highest order of crime defined by law. The prosecutor's rash decision to file felony charges without first consulting with a technology expert is reprehensible. Regardless of the outcome, it is clear he lacks the sound judgement and integrity that is necessary to competently represent the People of his municipality. He should resign from or be removed from his post, and be replaced by someone who will represent the People with the integrity and consideration they deserve.


    Samuel Walter
    Network Engineer / Security Analyst

  • Thank you Samuel Walter for your post.  I agree totally here.  The police department is prosecuting a boy for a crime that not even the school, police department, or their so called tech savvy people have any knowledge of what they are doing.  Much less could tell any one of us exactly what this boy did that was wrong.  If they had of known exactly what this boy had done, then they never would of filed felony charges against him.  They would of filed mischief charges instead. As I posted a reply on this website below.  They all need to go back to kindergarten instead to brush up on computer skills.

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