January 15, 2013

AARON SWARTZ UPDATE: Petition to boot U.S. Attorney Ortiz in Aaron Swartz case tops 25,000. “A citizens’ petition at Whitehouse.gov launched Saturday demanding the removal of U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz over the prosecution of Aaron Swartz is gaining steam, with more than 26,000 signatures as of this morning — exceeding the 25,000 threshold needed to generate an official response from the White House under the Obama administration’s stated terms.”

UPDATE: Prosecutor’s Husband Defends Push To Jail Internet Activist. “Tom Dolan blasts Aaron Swartz’s family for pointing a finger at his wife, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz. Dolan, an IBM executive, offers the first defense from the prosecution side as Swartz’s defenders demand Ortiz’s firing.” Nothing says professionalism like having a prosecutor’s spouse speak out on the prosecution.

But if it’s true that Swartz was offered a 6-month deal, as the prosecutor’s husband says, it’s support for one of the reform suggestions I make in my Due Process When Everything Is A Crime article: Requiring that all plea deals offered by the prosecution be disclosed to the jury if the case goes to trial. Let the jury wonder why if they were willing to settle for 6 months, they’re now asking, say, 35 years. 34 1/2 years in jail is a high price for putting the government to the trouble of trying a case.