May 142014
 May 14, 2014  Posted by  Court, Online, U.S.

Scott Greenfield has a great post over on that I’d encourage you to read, especially if you’re interested in online harassment:

That there hasn’t been huge interest in the trial and appeal of Raphael Golb remains a mystery to me.  Aside from Eugene Volokh and I, interest in the blawgosphere has been nearly non-existent, which is sad given that the case is fascinating.  The facts underlying the caseare quite remarkable, and the legal implications of the case for the rest of the internet are huge. There was even a Streisand moment in the middle.

Yet, it hasn’t sparked the level of interest and debate that it should have.  Now that the New York Court of Appeals has decided Golb, we’ll live with the consequences.  The Court, in an opinion by Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam, upheld Golb’s misdemeanor convictions for five counts of criminal impersonation in the second degree, Penal Law §190.25, which to the unknowing eye would make it appear a win for the prosecution. But not so fast.

A New York County grand jury charged defendant with 51counts of identity theft, criminal impersonation, forgery, aggravated harassment and unauthorized use of a computer. He proceeded to a jury trial, where 31 counts were submitted for the jury’s consideration. The jury convicted on 30 counts: two counts of identity theft in the second degree; 14 counts of criminal impersonation in the second degree; 10 counts of forgery in the third degree; three counts of aggravated harassment in the second degree; and one count of unauthorized use of a computer.

After this decision, Golb stands convicted of only five out of 51 charges, and only misdemeanors after the felonies were tossed. For the New York County District Attorney’s office, this is nothing to write home about.  And to add to the mess, the Court also held the crime of aggravated harassment unconstitutional.

Read more on SimpleJustice.

  One Response to “Golb Decided, and the Sockpuppet Dies”

  1. Greenfield’s view on this persecution is convincing and puts Eugene Volokh to shame. Making a stand on principle, Golb has embarrassed Manhattan prosecutors by getting New York’s aggravated harassment statute declared unconstitutional (something civil rights groups had been trying to do for years without success); the felonies are both gone, revealed for the farce that they were; and the remaining counts are also rubbish, a judicial sleight of hand that absurdly resuscitates criminal libel in face of the logic of the chief judge’s dissent. That dissent will clearly form the basis of a compelling appeal, either to the Supreme Court or to the federal district court, and the ultimate result, whichever way it comes out, will define American criminal law for decades to come. For documentation of the case, see:

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.