Sunday, October 13, 2013

My Leniency Letter to Judge Preska

A copy of this letter was removed from pastebin after less than 100 views, so here it is again for anyone who missed it. This is my letter written on behalf of convicted hactivist Jeremy Hammond who is due for sentencing in November.

Dear Judge Preska:

I am a freelance videographer and moonlight as a podcaster covering cyber crime. My interest in cyber crime comes from the fact that I once plead guilty to a count of "unauthorized access to a protected computer" under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. I have since learned from my mistakes, paid my debt to society, and moved on with my life.

I'm not a hacker. Never was and never will be. However, after becoming a convicted "cyber criminal," I quickly became curious about the nature of these shadowy creatures I was being lumped in with. So over the past four years I have been following the different cases involving the CFAA which have made headlines. Jeremy Hammond's case is one that has stood out in particular.

Hammond's case initially caught my eye because of the media attention it received. I had never heard of Jeremy prior and mug shots of a kid in dreadlocks made him look like another "bad guy" who probably deserved what was coming to him. But after closer inspection, I discovered Jeremy is different. He isn't a black hat hacker. He's an ideologue. I watched old YouTube videos of Jeremy playing music and giving presentations at tech conferences. On those videos I saw a creative, talented, and idealistic young mind at work.

After talking with friends and supporters of Jeremy on my podcast over the past year, it has become obvious to me Jeremy is an activist who committed his crimes in the spirit of civil disobedience and not for any financial or personal gain. I believe this should be a major consideration in Jeremy's sentencing. Of course I don't believe Jeremy's motives should excuse his crimes. Facing the consequences comes with the territory when one indulges in civil disobedience.

After being in jail for almost a year and a half, some of which spent in solitary confinement, Jeremy is now looking at possibly a decade in prison. Even for someone with priors, ten years seems a little steep for a crime of this nature, especially considering Jeremy's co-conspirators overseas have received much lighter sentencing. I urge you to consider these factors when it comes time for Jeremy's sentencing. Jeremy did what he did because he wants to make a difference in the world.

Thank you for your time.



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