Demand Investigation into Prosecution of Aaron Swartz
[Action Alert] • On January 11, 2013, facing trumped up felony charges and potentially decades in prison, Aaron Swartz made the tragic choice to end his life. He was only 26.
Aaron faced 35 years behind bars for the nerdiest alleged crime in history – downloading too many academic journal articles. Aaron had authorized access to all of these articles through a nonprofit online library called JSTOR. Two years ago he was accused of downloading 4.8 million of these academic articles at once. He never distributed the articles or used them for anything, and he reached a private settlement with JSTOR (the supposed victim here) – who even publicly asked prosecutors to drop the criminal charges.
But US Attorney Carmen Ortiz and prosecutor Steve Heymann decided that the best use of the US government’s resources were to throw the book at Aaron. Aaron's partner, Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, believes that they recklessly persecuted an innocent man because they thought it would advance their careers. She also believes that there may have been serious irregularities, possibly even violations of Aaron’s constitutional rights, in the way that they pursued the case and hounded him to his death.
Join Taren in calling on Congress to conduct a full nonpartisan investigation into the events leading up to Aaron’s death.
A nonpartisan and thorough airing of the facts can help yield the policy shifts we need to make sure that agents of the law use their power to uphold justice -- rather than engage in destructive witch hunts like the one that befell Aaron.
Sign the petition to Congress: Fully investigate the prosecution and death of Aaron Swartz and make sure prosecutors can never abuse their power this way again.
Image by dsearls, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.