We previously discussed how the Justice Department hounded Aaron Swartz in a prosecution that sought 35 years in prison for his effort to make academic papers available to the public — even though MIT did not ask for such charges and later released the papers free of charge to the public. United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and the Obama Administration were long criticized for the prosecution but remained committed to destroying Swartz — a move that clearly delighted copyright hawks that have tremendous influence over the Administration as discussed earlier. Given the high-profile nature of the case and the months of criticism, it is clear that Main Justice in Washington had to be monitoring the case. Now it appears that Swartz’s line prosecutor, Assistant United States Attorney Stephen Heymann was connected to a prior suicide of a defendant in a similar case. In 2008, Jonathan James killed himself while being pursued by Heymann in a criminal hacker case. Heymann then moved on to Swartz who also killed himself — complaining of the abusive treatment by the Justice Department. It is worth noting that the Justice Department could not come up with a single charge for anyone associated with the torture program, including the attorneys who facilitated the program. However, it wanted 35 years for a man accused of illegally gaining access to a university site and downloading academic papers to make available to the public for free. Those documents later released for free to the public but the Obama Administration still felt jail time was essential in the interests of justice.
Heymann secured a record by making James the first juvenile jailed in a federal cybercrime case. James insisted in his suicide note that he was innocent but that the prosecutors would not leave him alone. He wrote “I have no faith in the ‘justice’ system. Perhaps my actions today, and this letter, will send a stronger message to the public. Either way, I have lost control over this situation, and this is my only way to regain control.”
Heymann received the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service for “directing the largest and most successful identity theft and hacking investigation and prosecution ever conducted in the United States.”
Heymann is accused by a lawyer of using the Swartz case as a high-profile opportunity for himself and refused to accept a plea that did not involve a confession to all counts and a guarantee of prison time.
The Swartz case remains a serious concern with many of us. The extreme sentence sought in the case is troubling for an individual who was an advocate for public access and did not have a financial motive in his actions. He was a long-standing critic of the Obama Administration for its treatment of information under copyright and trademark laws as well as President Obama’s “hit list” policy.
Of course, it is doubtful that any serious investigation will come from the controversy. The Justice Department is notorious for whitewashing such controversies and the Administration has long followed the directions of industry and lobby groups on these laws, including criminalizing copyright violations. Both Congress and the White House have repeatedly yielded to increasing penalties and power for these groups. Swartz is simply the latest victim of this trend. Thousands of less well known citizens have been pursued for ruinous damages or criminal charges.
91 thoughts on “Prosecutor of Aaron Swartz Linked To Another Suicide Of Defendant”
I like it when people get together and share opinions.
Great site, keep it up!
cerz. Speszony Arnold dolał miodu z dzbana.
– Arnoldo Gdy nie godzi się posłowi zdawać sprawę… – I dodatkowo tak to ale powiesz kiedyś komturowi.
W końcu ledwie po to tu
siedzisz. – Nie inaczej, jakoby zgodność z rzeczywistością.
What about the DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility…. what do they do?
“We need another Watergate to bring Washington in line and to heel, like the dog they are.” John D.
What will it take to bring the truth to the fore…
The DOJ and the Obama Administration have, at the very least, continued all of the bush/cheney policies and, at worse, have doubled down on several policies they claimed they would change or correct upon being elected POTUS. bush/cheney enjoy the badge of honor of being amongst the top 2 most corrupt, incompetent, war profiteering, war criminal cronyistic administrations ever. Nonetheless, Obama is, largely, incompetent and continuing the worst of the policies including the “Patriot Act”, sneak & peak, FISA violations, etc. We need another Watergate to bring Washington in line and to heel, like the dog they are.
The DOJ essentially admits that Swartz prosecution was political.
“A Justice Department representative told congressional staffers during a recent briefing on the computer fraud prosecution of Internet activist Aaron Swartz that Swartz’s ‘Guerilla Open Access Manifesto’ played a role in the prosecution, sources told The Huffington Post.
Swartz’s 2008 manifesto said sharing information was a ‘moral imperative’ and advocated for “civil disobedience” against copyright laws pushed by corporations ‘blinded by greed’ that led to the ‘privatization of knowledge.'”
A damn fine reason why the concept of sovereign immunity needs to go.
You $)^(@&$(#$@ in the DOJ won’t prosecute domestic war criminals but you go after a college student because industry doesn’t like having a light shined on their practices?
Way to go. You should just change your name to Department of Corporate Stoogery.
Malisha, you crack me up. Calling a corrupt prosecutor to remind her of her crime. You have some big brass balls there…..
Steve Hangman indeed. ack
The White House has pledged to respond to petitions that reach 100,000 signatures. Here are two targeted at Heymann and Ortiz, respectively.
What Steve Hangman did was to deprive Aaron Swartz of his life interest.
OMG let this be a test case, let this be a test case.
Former Arlington County Virginia prosecutor Helen F. Fahey did something extremely corrupt and dishonest in 1982. I have proof of it but nobody will do anything about it. So every few years I phone her and she answers. I remind her of it (and every single time she can’t remember what she did but insists she did nothing wrong) and she gets all hot and bothered and screams at me on the phone. I have always politely told her, “I just call you to remind you of what you did and of the fact that I think you never were fit to have a license to practice law,” and she hollers like a harpie and hangs up on me, telling me, “Stop calling me” before she does so. I never curse, raise my voice, use any inappropriate language, or say anything other than, “In 1982 you…” and fill in the factual material. I never threaten her. It’s a lot of fun and at least she knows that her wrongdoing has been noted. Every corrupt and dishonest official should realize that his or her wrongdoing is duly noted, even though 99 percent of the time, nothing can be done to really punish them or correct their behavior.
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