A federal judge plans to throw out the conviction of a Missouri woman for her role in a cruel Internet hoax on a teenage girl who ended up committing suicide, the Los Angeles Times reports. U.S. Attorney Thomas O’Brien in Los Angeles said the law needed to be strengthened. “We call it cyber-bullying and we don’t have a law to address it,” he said. O’Brien may appeal the anticipated ruling by Judge George Wu.
O’Brien’s decision to prosecute Lori Drew, 50, surprised many because the suicide and MySpace hoax that led up to it took place in Missouri, where local and federal prosecutors found no applicable statute. O’Brien determined that the case could be prosecuted in Los Angeles because MySpace is based in Beverly Hills. Prosecutors invoked a statute more commonly used to prosecute hackers or defendants who have improperly accessed computers for financial gain, to charge Drew for her part in setting up a MySpace account in the name of a fictitious 16-year-old boy.