back to article Palin email jury reaches verdicts on 3 of 4 counts

The jury deciding the fate of the man accused of breaching Sarah Palin's Yahoo Mail account has reached a verdict on three of the charges filed against him but can't come to a decision about the fourth, according to news reports. In a note to US District Judge Thomas W. Phillips, jurors wrote: "Some of us feel not all jurors …


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  1. 46Bit

    Well clearly Guilty of at least some of the rest...

    Somehow it seems unlikely to me that they'd struggle to decide if it was Identity Theft if they've already decided he was Not Guilty of the Unlawful Obtaining charge - if Not Guilty of that it's unlikely they'd even need to debate Identity Theft!

    1. /\/\j17

      May not be that clear-cut

      Personally I fail to see your logic in saying Unlawful Access = Identity Theft. It's going to come down to the specifics of how each law is written, in particular how much action/intent is required for each crime.

      If I break in to your mailbox and steal your credit card bill I've unlawfully gained access to it.

      If I then use this stolen bill to take out a mobile phone contract in your name I've stolen your identity.

      What if I steal the bill and then sell it to a national paper? I've not actually made any attempt to pass myself off as you so, depending on how the law is written I may still be guilty or may be innocent of identity theft.

      Or if you are out drinking with friends and you leave your mobile on the table while going to the gents. While you are away one of your mates texts "I have sex with sheep" to everyone in your contacts list. Is that identity theft? They are sending a text from/as you but is there a clear intent to pass themselves off as you? If the law requires intent or the need for the recipient to reasonably believe it's valid then it's probably not guilty. If it's back and white, then probably guilty.

      1. 46Bit

        The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

        You completely missed my point. I was pointing out that it clearly wasn't fully Not Guilty of the other charges, not saying that Identity Theft was a definite.

  2. Matthew Anderson

    Forget the law

    This is a complete waste of USA taxpayers $. He is a very stupid young man but no more stupid than the gazillion other young men and women who break the law in so many various ways. From students stealing traffic cones to plums re-arranging a restaurant sign to say "pe.nis".

    No thought of consequences, no immediate danger. He needs a good stern talking to by the powers that be, community service for being caught and let on his merry way.

    It's a breach of the peace at most or the equivalent in the USA (equiv prolly being 20 years n the slammer)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nothing about the gazillions of stupid laws then?

      Repeat after me "If you've done nothing wrong, you've nothing to fear".

      Keep taking the koolaid.

    2. Apocalypse Later

      It's the law

      Maybe there shouldn't be a law, or at least not one with such dire penalties, against what the guy did. But since there is, it has to be enforced. When the authorities are allowed to pick and choose who they apply the law against, based on their own judgment of who deserves a kicking, you have a tyranny.

      Perhaps after a few dumb and relatively harmless kids are locked away for nothing very much, there will be pressure on lawmakers to make legislation less draconian. I doubt it though. Laws are generally becoming more draconian all the time, here and in the USA. Huge penalties are designed to compensate for the perceived unlikelihood of getting caught, thus providing deterrence, and laws are framed to make prosecution easier- a law against possession of something that could be used in a crime is much easier to prosecute than the crime itself, or as in this case, illegal access being easier to prove than that any real damage was done.

      1. Al Jones

        When the authorities pick and choose who to prosecute

        "When the authorities are allowed to pick and choose who they apply the law against, based on their own judgment of who deserves a kicking, you have a tyranny."

        But isn't that exactly the point - there must be dozens of Yahoo and GMail and Hotmail accounts "hacked" in this way every day, by brothers and sisters and parents and kids, and class mates, etc who know enough about the victim to be able to reset their passwords, (never mind any account hijackings by more nefarious methods by bots and MITM attacks) . But you couldn't get the Feds interested in any of those incidents.

        This kid wasn't prosecuted for hacking an e-mail account. He was prosecuted for purely political reasons.

  3. Winkypop Silver badge

    The only guilty party here is...

    ...Sarah Palin, for extreme HUBRIS.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It would be very cool...

    ...if the dude got 5 years in the slammer. That would be an educational experience.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Good job he didn't just throw an egg at her

    Post 9/11 US law would probably interpret that as an attack with a biological weapon!

  6. Eponymous Cowherd

    I imagine.....

    Gary McKinnon will be watching this with interest.

    If Kernell is convicted, and gets anything close to the 50 years that has been bandied about, it may provide enough evidence that McKinnon would not receive a fair trial in the US and/or may be given a disproportionate sentence.

  7. alien anthropologist


    > It would be very cool...if the dude got 5 years in the slammer.

    > That would be an educational experience

    It would be even cooler if most republican Americans get <insert something equally horrible here> for actually thinking that a hockey-mom like Sarah Palin is capable of serving in high office.. never mind being the fricken 2nd in-command or even president of the USA.

    I mean, if stupidity is a crime (like with this poor hacker sod), then right wing America needs to be on death row or something...

    The true danger in this world is not Middle East extremism. It is some of our American friends that have lost a very basic and fundamental human characteristic - common sense! Why? Because they choose to live in fear and ignorance.. while having tea parties....

    1. Apocalypse Later

      High Office

      Palin served as a state governor, and capably. Naturally that made her a lot of enemies, even before she ran for VP. Those enemies are exactly the kind you want though, the kind that attack you for everything but your policies (yes, I do mean the "hockey-mom" "pregnant daughter" and other "dumb woman" stuff).

      I am always amazed that democrats and other leftists consider themselves more intelligent than anyone who does not share their views, yet they resort to ad-hominem attacks and name calling rather than put arguments about those views. Common sense is on the other side.

      1. alien anthropologist
        Thumb Down

        @Apocalypse Later

        > Palin served as a state governor, and capably

        That's a matter of opinion. Have a look at even Alaskan run websites that speaks vehemently against her conservation and other policies.

        Look at her utterances in public.. Did she honestly thought she has "experience" to deal with Russia? Or that Africa was a country and not a continent?

        So calling her a capable governor is seeing it from one (your?) side of the coin. There's another side too. (as is usually the case)

        > Those enemies are exactly the kind you want though, the kind that attack you for everything but your policies (yes, I do mean the "hockey-mom" "pregnant daughter" and other "dumb woman" stuff).

        The "hockey-mom" quote comes from Palin herself. She choose to portray herself like that. It may go down well in the backwaters of the good US of A, but the rest of the world shudders too think how such a person can voted into a position of power that has a direct influence on the future of this planet.

        1. Tom 13

          Unlike the idiots who attack her,

          Sarah Palin has never been confused about whether or not she is Tina Fey.

        2. Apocalypse Later


          You have mistaken comedienne Tina Fey's shtick for reality: "Or that Africa was a country and not a continent?" That was all Tina, as are many of the "dumb woman" comments attributed to Palin. The look a bit alike, but Tina is the dumb one.

          As for the Russian aspect, Alaska is the only US state that actually has Russia as a neighbour, and as Palin pointed out, that gives her more experience dealing with Russia than any other state governor. Do you think Obama got a lot of experience with Russia as a community organiser in Chicago? Or even in his year and a bit as a senator?

          Discounting my judgment of her performance as capable as only my opinion and one side of the coin does nothing to invalidate it. I will put my view up against your opinion or side of the coin anytime. At least I know when it's actually her and when it's a comic turn by someone else.

      2. Shakje

        Apocalypse Later

        If you're standing for high office in a party that thinks the issues of teen pregnancy are easy to solve with good family values, then having a pregnant teen daughter is relevant, and let's be honest, you know as well as I do that she made some terrible gaffs in interviews. It doesn't mean that she's a dumb woman but it does mean that she probably isn't the sort of person you want as the highest advisor to the ruler of your country. To me she came across as someone who was just bad at interviews, but if she isn't willing to do the research or isn't able to take on board the interview training she would no doubt have received, in the middle of a presidential campaign, then I for one wouldn't want her talking to foreign dignitaries about global issues. I also think it's fair to say that whatever you think about Obama, Sarah Palin's repeated mistakes lost the Republicans votes.

        I'm always amazed that Republicans consider themselves more morally sound than liberals and still end up being caught in embarassing situations. Look, the American right has resorted to name calling of the worst kind, including some of the insults that Fox has thrown the way of the democrats, the quickness to call anyone with liberal leanings a commie, or the birther movement. So suggesting that your "side" has common sense is ridiculous. I mean, let's face it, both sides have their bad elements, and both sides made their mistakes, yet there's this strange belief in America that you have to have one or the other extreme, and nothing in the middle.

        Anyway, back to Palin. I don't think it's sensible to suggest that her mistakes were highlighted just because she "had lots of enemies". She made mistakes, and instead of standing on your high horse and thinking that any attack on a Republican is an attack on the whole party (even if my sympathies do lie more along the Democrat line), why not just accept it, laugh at her for being a bit ditsy, and move on? If she was a democrat are you saying that people wouldn't have highlighted her flaws? I also think it probably doesn't reflect on how she's done in Alaska, but they're two very different jobs, with two very different sets of qualifications. I mean, look at William Hague, I'm not a Tory supporter, but he's a fantastic politician, and some of the work he's done with and for asylum seekers has been top-notch, but he came across in a very bad light when he stood for Prime Minister, because of a series of very bad gaffs (and the legacy of John Major, in a similar vein to the legacy of Bush Jnr).

      3. Chad H.
        Thumb Down

        Cut and run

        Sarah Palin may have served as govenor, but I wouldn't describe it as capably. One, she cut and run, not serving a full term. Two, there's evidence to suggest she used her power to push personal grievences.

      4. Paul RND*1000

        Yes, name-calling is pointless

        The right wing have also thrown plenty of name-calling, ad-hominem attacks and even thinly veiled threats at people they don't agree with, rather than debate views. So don't try to pretend that it's only "leftists" who resort to name calling. That would be a lie and you know it, even if you refuse to acknowledge it.

        That said, instead of name calling, Palin should be attacked for the things which really do point to her being unfit for public office. There are more than enough to choose from without ever having to resort to being childish and they're relevant whether you agree with her policies or not.

        * There's a laundry list of ethics investigations, not all of which are frivolous or trouble-making in their intent. The most recent was filed by a registered Republican, who I doubt is a "trouble-making leftist" somehow. A lot of them relate to illegal use of state resources in electioneering, or illegally using her position for personal gain (like claiming travel expenses when not actually traveling, or drawing her salary as governor while off-duty during the 2008 election campaign).

        * There are various abuses of power, well documented. She basically got away with a slap on the wrist over "Troopergate" but the fact that she even got a reprimand shows that allegation had truth to it. No reason to believe she wouldn't abuse power in other ways too.

        * There's the core of this case: that she used a private email account for state business (which is illegal). The official state email she was supposed to use is traceable and accountable, which is no doubt useful while investigating ethics lapses and abuses of power.

        * Did the RNC ever get all of those expensive clothes she bought with campaign money back?

        * Alaska Independence Party, ties to.

        * Her recent book "Going Rogue", accused by McCain campaign staffers of rewriting history to settle scores. Steven Schmidt, the campaign manager, was quoted as calling it "total fiction". I'm looking forward to his, or indeed McCain's, memoirs of the campaign if they ever choose to write them.

        * Highly inflammatory statements made during the election campaign. There's a fine line between "stirring up the base" and "inciting hatred". Whether she crossed that line is a matter of opinion but she sure strayed dangerously close to it. She acted in a similar manner recently during and after the healthcare debate; gunsight graphics pointing at congressional districts whose representative voted for the legislation? Really? That's quite the statement she made, right there.

        I get the feeling that's the tip of the iceberg, and look! No childish name calling or ad-hominem attacks required. Just verifiable facts which show her to be unfit for office, but admirably qualified to be a talk radio or cable news opinion host.

      5. Tom Maddox Silver badge


        Back under your bridge.

  8. Nimrod


    A fitting punishment would be to make him serve as governor of Alaska

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: Punishment

      Yes. After all, he had access to the tools of power.

  9. No, I will not fix your computer

    *Joe Public*

    Given that Palin isn't allowed to just her Yahoo account for anything official (as it must be archived etc. which is why she has an official email) then her office shouldn't be taken into account (which throws out most of the more serious offences).

    1. Gordon is not a Moron

      I'm not so sure

      If the poor schumck is convicted on those charges then couldn't it be used as the basis of a prosecution for her breaking Alaskan state law's on data retention? Isn't one guy doing a bit of time a price worth paying if it means that Sarah Palin can't run for the Presidency as she's behind bars?

      Also gotta think what are the odds of this guy getting a Presidential pardon sometime in the not too distant future?

  10. Phil Koenig

    Commonplace prank - most people never get prosecuted

    The ONLY reason this kid got such a harsh treatment is who he got himself wrapped-up with. This kind of thing happens every day, and is usually brushed-off as no more than an annoying prank, and everyone moves on.

    Palin had to make a big stink out of it because there were some very embarrassing revelations about her that were revealed as the result of it.

    She has now successfully managed to re-frame the public debate to focus on her as "victim", and nicely deflected attention from the fact that this kid provided some pretty concrete evidence of her unethical and hypocritical nature.

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