The Lori Drew Case: Why Not Rule on the Motions?

Daniel Solove
Founder of TeachPrivacy

Lori Drew Megan Meier Case

According to Kim Zetter’s account of the Lori Drew trial, Judge Wu has postponed ruling on any of the legal issues until after the jury’s verdict:

When the prosecution rested its case Friday at about 2:00 p.m., defense attorney H. Dean Steward moved for an immediate dismissal, based on testimony that proved Drew never saw MySpace’s contract, and wasn’t the one who set up the account and accepted the terms.

U.S. District Judge George Wu asked both sides to file written briefs on the issue over the weekend, and allowed testimony to continue in the case.

Why not rule on it now? Judge Wu hasn’t ruled on the merits of how the CFAA should be interpreted, whether it is unconstitutionally vague, and now whether or not the prosecution, as a matter of law, has failed to prove the requisite mens rea. Why won’t he rule on any of these issues?

The only reason I can think of is that he’s waiting to see if the jury acquits Drew, which then moots the issues. This is the only scenario I can think of in which he won’t eventually have to rule on the motions.

Why not just issue a ruling one way or the other? That’s what I thought judges are supposed to do. Is there something I’m missing here about his judicial strategy?

Originally Posted at Concurring Opinions

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This post was authored by Professor Daniel J. Solove, who through TeachPrivacy develops computer-based privacy training, data security training, HIPAA training, and many other forms of awareness training on privacy and security topics. Professor Solove also posts at his blog at LinkedIn. His blog has more than 1 million followers.

Professor Solove is the organizer, along with Paul Schwartz, of the Privacy + Security Forum and International Privacy + Security Forum, annual events designed for seasoned professionals.

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