Patterico's Pontifications

10/31/2013

Aaron Swartz Prosecutor and L.A. City Councilman SWATted

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:53 am

They’re both month-old cases, apparently, which are just coming to light now, at about the same time.

The news about the prosecutor comes in a story about the sentencing of a SWATter:

A 22-year-old Athol man was sentenced to serve 30 months in federal prison Tuesday on charges he made hoax emergency phone calls to law enforcement across the country claiming he was an armed fugitive holding hostages.

This is the second time Nathan Hanshaw has been sentenced for the practice known as “swatting.” It was revealed in court proceedings in U.S. District Court in Worcester that Mr. Hanshaw was sentenced to 11 months in prison for the same activity while he was a juvenile.

Apparently, this SWATter is helping the government find the person who SWATted the Swartz prosecutor:

Mr. Hanshaw has already helped the government by testifying in one case involving software used to conduct “swatting” calls. He is also helping officials investigating a “swatting” call received by a prosecutor in the U.S. attorney’s office in Massachusetts.

According to Mr. Bookbinder, that prosecutor was involved in the case against Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide in January while he awaited trial on charges he illegally downloaded millions of academic articles by using the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s computer network.

Mr. Hanshaw’s cooperation was one of the reasons the defense and prosecution agreed to a 30-month sentence.

Note to the geniuses in California who want this to be a misdemeanor unless someone is actually hurt: an 11-month sentence did not deter this guy from repeating his offense.

The exact identity of the prosecutor is not clear.

Meanwhile, we’re also learning that a Los Angeles City Council member was SWATted after trying to do something about SWATting:

Councilman Paul Koretz said he was targeted himself in April, after he asked the city to take action against swatting perpetrators. On April 10, he told the council, multiple police with guns drawn pounded on his front door demanding to be let in just as Koretz prepared to step into the shower.

“I held up my council badge and said, ‘Sorry, I’m not letting you in while I’m naked,'” Koretz said.

They insisted, so he got dressed and the police looked around and then left. But they returned a few minutes later, Koretz said, after receiving a second call that someone in his apartment was being held hostage in a closet.

“At that point, I called [Police Chief] Charlie Beck and said ‘Could you please ask your officers to leave?'” Koretz said.

Isn’t it nice that he has that relationship with the Chief that he can do that.

So prosecutors and city councilmen are victims, and nobody seems to be able to do anything. Lovely.

At least they didn’t get hit with a frivolous RICO suit by a violent convicted criminal for talking honestly about their experiences . . .

The roll call of the SWATted: an unnamed Aaron Swartz prosecutor; L.A. City Councilman Paul Koretz; Corey Feldman; Paris Hilton (again); Miley Cyrus (again); Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom; Anderson Cooper; Magic Johnson; Mike Rogers; Wolf Blitzer; Ted Lieu; Erik Rush; Ryan Seacrest; Russell Brand; Selena Gomez; Justin Timberlake; Rihanna; Sean Combs; Paris Hilton; Brian Krebs; Clint Eastwood; Chris Brown; the Jenners and Kardashians; Tom Cruise; Simon Cowell; Justin Bieber; Ashton Kutcher; Miley Cyrus; Aaron Walker; Erick Erickson; Mike Stack; and me.

7 Responses to “Aaron Swartz Prosecutor and L.A. City Councilman SWATted”

  1. Although that seems like an impressively long list of SWATted victims, I bet a similar list of lightning strike victims could also be drawn up in order to trivialize this pet issue of yours.

    Remember when you used to do that with Balko and his documentation of wrong door raids? Good times.

    Merp (2aa6fe)

  2. Ooooooo, butthurt troll is butthurt.

    SPQR (768505)

  3. What an Athol.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  4. “Although that seems like an impressively long list of SWATted victims, I bet a similar list of lightning strike victims could also be drawn up in order to trivialize this pet issue of yours.”

    Bill Schmalfeldt, is that you?

    PPs43 (0112e8)

  5. I’ve advocated a simple solution to this for a while–SWATing should be treated as meeting the specific intent requirement for attempted murder, meaning that if someone can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to have placed the call under false pretences, they have just committed attempted murder on as many occupants of the house who are home at the time (with a minimum of one if the house is empty at the time by sheer luck). That’d slow this thing to a trickle *really* fast–let the first scumbag convicted under that version of the law try to fight it in the appellate courts.

    M. Scott Eiland (c249e1)

  6. 5- The problem is, that to be a deterrent, there have to be prosecutions, and as we have seen, they seem to be few and far between.

    askeptic (b8ab92)

  7. I still take the position that it is negligent for the police to respond assuming that the facts as stated in the call are true. Particularly when they involve bizarreness like a second call back claiming somebody’s being held hostage in a closet. Particularly in Los Angeles, where there have been, as you’ve reported, such a number of SWATtings, the police are on notice that hoaxes occur.

    That’s not to say they shouldn’t respond, but simply that they shouldn’t respond with guns drawn, beating on the door, ready to shoot anybody with a cell phone in their hand.

    If you look at 4th Amendment law, in order to justify a warrant, an anonymous tip has to have some indicia of reliability. A simple anonymous call saying “Bob’s got drugs in his house,” is not generally enough to justify a warrant to search Bob’s house. If the police don’t have enough facts to justify a warrant, they really shouldn’t be beating on the door demanding entry.

    PatHMV (af8e80)


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