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Cyber Harassment Could Soon Be A Crime In New Jersey

January 4, 2014 Comments off

 

By David Madden

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — A New Jersey senate committee cleared a measure this week that tightens laws against harassment over the Internet.

Camden County State Senator Donald Norcross wants to create the crime of cyber harassment.

“If a threat was being made person to person, it was covered. If a person made it over the phone, it was covered,” Norcross said. “But the cyber loophole was still there.”

Parents have often tried to take legal action to protect their kids online, only to find there is no law to hang their complaint on.

Norcross said his measure would be quite specific about what constitutes as cyber harassment.

“When the threats occur, they’re not accidentally being made,” he said. “They go to a certain condition that goes knowingly, with the intent to emotionally or physically harm. So no one will accidentally do this.”

Offenders could face up to 18 months in jail and/or a fine up to $10,000.

While the bill is aimed primarily at protecting children, Norcross believes it could be equally effective for adults. But he has asked for a legal clarification on that from the Attorney General.

Full senate action is pending and a similar bill in the Assembly has yet to move.

Attorney General Biden and Lt. Gov. Denn Announce Plan to Combat Cyberbullying

March 28, 2012 Comments off

General Beau Biden and Lt. Governor Matt Denn announced a plan to put in place an effective statewide policy to combat cyberbullying in Delaware’s schools.  The plan includes statewide public hearings to gather information to be used in developing the cyberbullying policy, and legislation designed to help school districts enforce the new policy.  The plan consists of four steps:

1.      Statewide public hearings in April to gather factual evidence from school administrators and parents about the type of off-campus activity causing disruption in our schools.

2.      The drafting of a statewide cyberbullying policy based upon the evidence gathered at the hearings.

3.      Issuance of a regulation by the state’s Department of Education requiring adoption of the statewide cyberbullying policy by public school districts and charter schools.

4.      A new state law that will allow the Attorney General’s office to defend school districts and charter schools if their good faith enforcement of the statewide cyberbullying policy is subject to legal challenge.

Read More Here: Attorney General Biden and Lt. Gov. Denn Announce Plan to Combat Cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying Personal Stories: Coming Soon

March 23, 2012 Comments off

A Balance of Convenience: Burden-Shifting Devices in Criminal Cyberharassment Law

March 22, 2012 Comments off

1-1-2011

A Balance of Convenience: Burden-Shifting

Devices in Criminal Cyberharassment Law

Aimee Fukuchi

aimee.fukuchi@bc.edu

This Notes is brought to you for free and open access by the Law Journals at Digital Commons @ Boston College Law School. It has been accepted for 

inclusion in Boston College Law Review by an authorized administrator of Digital Commons @ Boston College Law School. For more information, 

please contact emick@bc.edu

Recommended Citation 

Aimee Fukuchi,A Balance of Convenience: Burden-Shifting Devices in Criminal Cyberharassment Law,

52 B.C.L. Rev. 289 (2011), http://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/bclr/vol52/iss1/5

Boston College Law Review

Volume 52|Issue 1 Article 5

1-1-2011

A Balance of Convenience: Burden-Shifting

Devices in Criminal Cyberharassment Law

Aimee Fukuchi

aimee.fukuchi@bc.edu

This Notes is brought to you for free and open access by the Law Journals at Digital Commons @ Boston College Law School. It has been accepted for

inclusion in Boston College Law Review by an authorized administrator of Digital Commons @ Boston College Law School. For more information,

please contactemick@bc.edu.

Recommended Citation

Aimee Fukuchi,A Balance of Convenience: Burden-Shifting Devices in Criminal Cyberharassment Law,

52 B.C.L. Rev. 289 (2011), http://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/bclr/vol52/iss1/5

289

A BALANCE OF CONVENIENCE: THE USE

OF BURDEN-SHIFTING DEVICES IN

CRIMINAL CYBERHARASSMENT LAW

Abstract: As communication using the Internet and electronic media be-

comes more prevalent, incidents of online harassment have likewise in-

creased. In recent years, the U.S. Congress and state legislatures have en-

acted new legislation and amended existing criminal statutes to target

cyberharassment, also called cyberstalking or cyberbullying. The definition

of cyberharassment consequently varies between jurisdictions, particularly

with regard to statutory emphasis on the mental state of the accused and

the reaction of the victim. This Note argues that the reasonableness and

specific intent standards employed by most cyberharassment laws are in-

adequate to balance the safety interests of victims and the First and Four-

teenth Amendment rights of electronic speakers. The Note proposes that

cyberharassment statutes be supplemented with burden-shifting devices

such as affirmative defenses and nonmandatory presumptions, which have

historically been employed in other contexts where the prosecution is pro-

cedurally disadvantaged and the details of the crime are peculiarly within

the knowledge of the accused. After surveying statutes that have success-

fully incorporated burden-shifting elements, the Note concludes that real-

locating evidentiary burdens increases the efficiency and fairness of cyber-

harassment law while reconciling the interests of both the victim and the

accused. Continue to original article.

States Look to Enact Cyberbullying Laws

March 21, 2012 1 comment

By Yamiche Alcindor, USA TODAY

Lawmakers in at least five states aim to stiffen or enact cyberbullying laws as national concern grows over electronic harassment and its deadly consequences.

The states — Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine andNew York— want to put penalties on the books for the types of digital bullying that led students in several states to commit suicide. Among the victims was Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old Rutgers University freshman who jumped to his death in 2010 after his roommate used a webcam to spy on his gay encounter. The roommate, Dharun Ravi, was convicted Friday on 15 counts in a case that drew national attention.

North Carolina passed a law in 2009 to criminalize cyberbullying, making it a misdemeanor for youths under 18.

The trend in legislation is “bringing our laws into the digital age and the 21st century,” said New York state Sen. Jeffrey Klein, sponsor of a bill to criminalize cyberbullying. “When I was growing up, you had a tangible bully and a fight after school. Now you have hordes of bullies who are terrorizing over the Internet or other forms of social media.”

Under Klein’s proposed law, anyone found guilty of using electronics to stalk or harass someone could face a misdemeanor or felony charge that could carry a prison sentence.

Forty-eight states have anti-bullying laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The move now is to strengthen those laws and add specific consequences for electronic intimidation and harassment:

In Indiana, a proposed bill would give schools more authority to punish students for off-campus activities such as cyberbullying from a computer not owned by the school.

In Maine, a proposal would define bullying and cyberbullying, specify responsibilities for reporting incidents of bullying and require schools to adopt a policy to address bullying.

In Delaware, meetings are underway to decide how a new cyberbullying policy would regulate off-campus behavior.

Legal experts say the laws can possibly infringe on free speech, particularly if a student is accused of using a computer that is not on school grounds. Five states — Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Georgia and Illinois — limit school jurisdiction over cyberbullying behavior to acts that are committed using school-owned or -leased computers, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

Opponents of cyberbullying legislation in Indiana, South Dakota and Montana have criticized the laws as vague, too punitive and counterproductive.

Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center, based in Arlington, Va., said the movement in the legislatures and the courts is focusing on the disciplinary system and is shortsighted. “You’re not going to be able to punish people into being more tolerant,” he said.

(© USA Today.com 2012 All Rights Reserved)

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