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Criminal Law #1 Vagueness

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by

Thaddeus Hoffmeister

on 11 January 2016

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Transcript of Criminal Law #1 Vagueness

Criminal Law
Class #1
Prof. Hoffmeister

Chicago v. Morales
Morales
Arbitrary and Discriminatory Enforcement
GOVT: Okay if you are moving or have an apparent purpose
No arrest if you obey the dispersal order
Police must reasonably believe that you are a gang member

SCT: Allows the police to determine what is an "apparent purpose." This is too much discretion.



FACTS: D charged with violating 18 USC 1030(a)(2)(C) the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. D set a up a bogus profile and pretended to be Josh Evans. Through Josh Evans, D interacted with Megan Meier. They started off as friends but eventually Josh told Megan that "the world would be a better place without her in it." Later that same day, Megan commits suicide.

CFAA
The jury found the D guilty "of [on the dates specified in the Indictment] accessing a computer involved in interstate or foreign communication without authorization or in excess of authorization to obtain information in violation of Title 18, USC, Section 1030(a)(2)(C)
Morales
ISSUE: Is the statute vague?

HOLDING: Yes, the statute does not meet the "constitutional standards for definiteness and clarity."

RULE: (1)Provide adequate notice; and (2) Not encourage arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement

ANALYSIS: "to remain in any one place with no apparent purpose" what does that mean?

GOVT: Does not matter because police will tell you to disperse.

SCT: If the loitering is harmless the dispersal order is unjustified.
--How do the police know that the individual has "no apparent purpose"
--What happens after the order is issued?
PRO: Juy convicts on three counts of violating the CFAA. Judge overturns the jury's verdict.

ISSUE: Did Drew violate the CFAA?

HOLDING: No

ANALYSIS: The CFAA as applied to Drew was unconstitutional.

Sufficient notice
--As written, the CFAA does not specifically state that it covers "criminal breaches of contract" in the context of a websites terms of service

--It is unclear whether any or all violations of terms of service will render the access unauthorized e.g., disclosing your password to a third party

--Allows the website owner in essence to define criminal conduct e.g., some websites say you can't post sexually suggestive imagery

--K law invariably vague e.g., "any dispute"



Drew
Insufficient Guidelines to Govern Law Enforcement

--Transforms CFAA into an overly broad statute e.g., police could have prosecuted Meier or anyone who is less than honest on a web site.

--No clear guidelines or objective criteria as to the prohibited
FACTS: Chicago City Council holds hearings about public loitering by gang members. City Council then passes a law that prohibits "criminal street gang members" from "loitering."

--Police must reasonably believe that one person is a gang member
--Person must loiter
--Police must order all to disperse
--Person must disobey the order
Morales
Drew
Concurring Opinion:
You can fix the statute if you limit it to unlawful purposes or gang members. In addition, it might pass judicial review if you place limits on the area and manner by which the statute may be enforced.

Dissenting Opinion:
Is this like a traffic law or gawking at an accident scene?
U.S. v. Lori Drew
Full transcript