If Only He Had Worked For the NSA

Our two-tiered system of justice at work again:

A former University of Tennessee student who was convicted of hacking into Sarah Palin’s e-mail during the 2008 presidential election has been sentenced to a year and a day in custody.

A federal judge recommended Friday that David Kernell serve his time in at the Midway Rehabilitative Center on Magnolia Avenue in Knoxville, a halfway house, instead of prison.

Kernell was also sentenced to three years probation. The Bureau of Prisons will decide if he is allowed to go to the halfway house.

Kernell’s attorney had asked the judge not to sentence him to custody and instead wanted only probation. The attorney noted that similar cases had resulted in probation.

Court documents showed that prosecutors argued for 18 months in prison.

Illegal wire-tapping, destroying torture videotapes. Oh screw it, I don’t have the energy. I’ll just note he is doing more time than the cop who shot an unarmed man in Oakland and Scooter Libby.

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81 replies
  1. 1
    Michael says:

    You don’t cross Snowball Snooki. Moose-olini will always pull the levers so you draw the maximum.

  2. 2
    jacy says:

    Hey, it’s Friday. I demand more posts that don’t illustrate how totally fucked we are.

    ETA: or you could just institute the BJ suicide hotline.

  3. 3
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    Not that it changes your point at all, but I thought the Oakland transit cop got 2 years.

  4. 4
    Seanly says:

    USA! USA! USA! eleventy!!

    I share your take.

    Another example of this two tiered system is that Bristol Palin is still on that dancing show.

    I’m just going to leave The New P0rnographers song “Challengers” on constant play. It seems to still my rage. Don’t know why…

  5. 5
    Cheryl from Maryland says:

    @Seanly: Dancing with the Stars is dead to me.

  6. 6
    Kryptik says:

    But remember, the real problem with the Justice system is that allowing terrorists to dare enter our courts will leave us open to the total destruction of our society.

  7. 7
    Chris says:

    “I’ll just note he is doing more time than the cop who shot an unarmed man in Oakland and Scooter Libby.”

    That makes it sound like the cop who shot an unarmed man in Oakland also shot Scooter Libby.

    (as per commentary about the NSA, I am making no additional comments on the subject.)

  8. 8
    ruemara says:

    @Quaker in a Basement:

    2 years plus time served. Less than a year and he’s going to appeal.

  9. 9
    Cat says:

    You commit a crime against someone up the social ladder from you and you’ll get the full force of the law on you.

    You commit a crime down the social ladder and you’ll consider yourself martyred if you go to trial.

    You commit a crime latterly on the social ladder and you’ll get a slap on the wrist.

    What he did was obviously wrong, but putting him in prison with violent offenders is cruel and unusual as he’d stand zero chance of surviving.

    I imagine he’s thanking his lucky stars he wasn’t smart enough to downloaded the mailbox and distributed the sure to be found embarrassing and/or incriminating emails as I believe he’d be looking at a much stiffer sentence.

  10. 10
    burnspbesq says:

    No sympathy for this guy. If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.

  11. 11
    lacp says:

    Wow. The wealthy and powerful get treated differently in this country than Joe Schmoe? Why, I don’t believe it. Next you’ll try to tell me it gets dark when the sun goes down.

  12. 12
    mds says:

    Heck, a war criminal who should be rotting in Leavenworth like the human sewage he is will be a member of Congress come January. If only Allen West had overseen the cracking of his unarmed captive’s e-mail account instead of his beating.

  13. 13
    Michael says:

    Of course, unspoken in all this is what kind of dumbass does business out of an email with such an easily cracked password?

  14. 14
    Culture of Truth says:

    Someone shot Scooter Libby??

  15. 15
    Kryptik says:

    @mds:

    No, no, no, you forget. He’s REPUBLICAN.

    The only thing he’ll ever pay a price for is if he’s caught with dropped trou along with another guy.

  16. 16
  17. 17

    Jesus Fuck. HE DIDN”T HACK A GODDAMN THING.

    He figured out that the dipshit governor of Alaska was (illegally) using a Yahoo email account to conduct government business, and used the L33T hacking tool known as Wikipedia to figure out that “Wasilla” was the answer to the security question “where did you meet your spouse?”

  18. 18
    Paris says:

    Do bond traders have licenses? Because if they do, and he had one of those, then this all would have been just an unfortunate misunderstanding. The Grifter will promise to use a password next time.

  19. 19
    GregB says:

    I’m curious as to why this story has evaded the rightwing outrage mill?

    Texas court demands rape victim cheer for her rapist.

    Conservative jurisprudence in action.

  20. 20
    lacp says:

    @Culture of Truth: Lord, lord, they shot poor Scooter down.

  21. 21
    blahblahblah says:

    Also notice how James O’Keefe, arrested for misrepresenting a Federal Official in order to gain entry to Senator Landrieu’s office to place a bug, got his charges dropped from multiple felonies to a kid-glove misdemeanor. Yet this guy, who hacked into a personal email account but did not try to gain physical illicit entry into a Senator’s office, winds up with a felony count and over a year in jail.

    Tell me this so-called ‘judicial system’ isn’t rigged.

  22. 22
    Culture of Truth says:

    get drunk, shoot a man, go back to drinking, demand apology.

    thems cheney rules

  23. 23
    Culture of Truth says:

    Is shooting a game warden terrorism?

    nah the shooter was just a misundertood white guy

  24. 24
    Ash Can says:

    @burnspbesq: It’s not the time and the crime, but the comparison to other cases. It wouldn’t be worth noticing, much less a post, if there were across-the-board consistency in our justice system. There isn’t, not by a long shot.

  25. 25
    wengler says:

    @August J. Pollak

    Exactly. And the punishment for elected officials for using insecure networks in order to subvert records-keeping laws is nothing.

    Seriously. The Chinese and Russians can hack our most secure networks but with great effort. But our dumbshits in power just put it on a plate for them and make them guess their childhood dog’s name.

    I bet amateur operations like al Qaeda are more secure with their information

  26. 26
    trollhattan says:

    I expect one prof. Glenn Harlan Reynolds will be out, picketing the courthouse demanding a reversal of this egregious miscarriage of justice.

    Very soon. Must first link to something and hit the “Heh, indeedy” somebody-else-said-this-not-me shortcut key.

  27. 27
    CJ says:

    If I may suggest a new tag: They hate us for our freedoms.

  28. 28
    trollhattan says:

    @GregB:

    Holy crap.

    Yes, more states should be like Texas.

  29. 29
    Lost Left Coaster says:

    @August J. Pollak:
    That’s how it went down? Oh sweet Jesus. It’s hard to believe that he’s going to serve time for that.

    But the point of this post, of course, isn’t that this guy shouldn’t be punished. And I don’t have a problem with him being punished. But yeah, a cop can shoot an unarmed guy in the back and serve less than a year with parole. And the CIA can destroy evidence pointing to egregious crimes and receive absolutely nothing.

  30. 30
    MattR says:

    @August J. Pollak: I don’t know if it was technically “hacking” but it was clearly authorizing an account without permission. I have no doubt that this guy is getting screwed by the fact it was Sarah Palin and he may not have intended to do anything malicious with that access (though Palin would argue that exposing the truth is malicious), but he still broke into her email account (just like it is still breaking and entering if you use the key you find underneath the front door mat)

  31. 31
    Silver Owl says:

    Tis the difference between rules for the peasantry and no rules for the powerful and rich.

  32. 32
    ann says:

    Not to mention Tucker Carlson “stole” Keith Olbermann’s identity, impersonating Olbermann and perpetuating a fraud, and NOTHING happened to him.

  33. 33
    WyldPirate says:

    Especially for chomper and ruemara:

    I blame Obama. He folded because of spinelessness.

  34. 34
    MattR says:

    Does anyone remember the story from back in 2000 or 2001 of a couple kids who set a fire in a marina? I can’t remember all the details or the extent of the damages, but it was two kids being stupid kids who definitely deserved some kinds of punishment. However it turns out the GWHB had a boat at that marina and they used that fact to bump up all the charges to some ridiculous level. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the end result and my google-fu failed me as I tried to track it down online.

  35. 35
    Shalimar says:

    If only he managed investments for Aspen elite, they would have apologized for wasting his time instead of prosecuting.

  36. 36
    Kryptik says:

    @Shalimar:

    Not to mention that if he did the same thing to a Democratic pol, he’d have been given a fucking medal for ‘journalistic intrepidness’.

  37. 37
    Mark S. says:

    @GregB:

    Jesus, what a horrible story. I couldn’t imagine growing up in some shitball town where:

    In the following weeks, H.S. said, “it was my family against the community” of Silsbee, a town of 6,300 where “football is everything. … They were the star athletes and I was standing up to them.” She said youths shouted “slut” at her as she drove to school with her younger sister, who soon transferred to another school. The only response from school officials, H.S. said, was to advise her to stay away from Bolton.

    Small town values, that’s what Sarah tells me is best about America.

  38. 38
    ruemara says:

    @WyldPirate:

    For a guy who has harped on his progressiveness and seen it all old radical thing, you’re rather infantile. Whatever, I don’t have to live with you.

  39. 39
    Face says:

    I’ll just note he is doing more time than the cop who shot an unarmed man in Oakland and Scooter Libby.

    I had no idea Libby was shot by a cop.

  40. 40
    Culture of Truth says:

    “The rich are different from you and me.”

    “Yes, they’re not in prison.”

  41. 41
    Mnemosyne says:

    Just out of curiosity, is this one of those weird remnants of the 1980s where Congress had a panic attack about hackers and came up with ridiculously strict penalties and mandatory minimums for it?

    Sort of like when they decided that the penalties for possessing crack cocaine should be much higher than possessing much large amounts of powder cocaine even though you use powder cocaine to create crack.

  42. 42
    Mark says:

    Contrast: Track Palin. Dude vandalized a bunch of school buses and essentially shut down the local school district the next day. (Hilarious, AFAIC.) Anyways, did anything happen to him as a result of his prank? Perhaps the records are sealed, but he didn’t do time.

  43. 43
    Jrod the Cookie Thief says:

    @burnspbesq: Yeah, you tell ’em!

    Obviously, this conversation is done. There’s clearly nothing at all worth discussing here about disproportionate punishment, because hey, he did the crime! And there’s definitely nothing to be said about the nearly blanket immunity from punishment enjoyed by the wealthy and Republican operatives.

    Our twisted society is marching steadily back toward the days when the aristos could do absolutely anything under the sun without repercussion while the peasants hang for stealing bread for their starving families. And when this happens, you can bet there will be plenty of shit-gobblers like burns to tell us it’s justice.

  44. 44
    ruemara says:

    This is very OT, but someone needs to frontpage this.

    Cindy McCain (that one’s wife) is doing a web video demanding the repeal of DADT. As her husband has backtracked on the repeal, and is doing his best to get it stripped from the Defense Authorization Bill.
    I hate, hate, hate to cast aspersions, but I think we’re (LGBT) being played. Big Time. Yeah, I doubt gay rights champions who’re republicans, sorry, I’m bigoted that way.

  45. 45
    Shalimar says:

    @WyldPirate: Yeah, but you blame Obama when you get hemorrhoids. So, really, does anyone other than you care?

  46. 46
    Ash Can says:

    @GregB:

    I’m curious as to why this story has evaded the rightwing outrage mill?

    It’s because she must have lied about what happened, and if anything did happen she had it coming to her anyway, and besides, everyone knows Texas athletes never do anything wrong, also too.

  47. 47
    WyldPirate says:

    @Kryptik:

    But remember, the real problem with the Justice system is that allowing terrorists to dare enter our courts will leave us open to the total destruction of our society.

    Good point. It could also lead to the implementation of Sharia law.

    “Ohooo-klahoma, where the wind sweeps away all their brains,
    where they scream and shout, and are big fat louts
    and are absolutely all insane!”

  48. 48
    Jrod the Cookie Thief says:

    crack = inner-city blacks; cocaine = wealthy whites

    It was less panic over something the congresspeople didn’t understand and more old-fashioned blatant racism. And, to this day, the government is very, very concerned with finding plenty of young bucks with their T-bone steaks to lock up in our private prisons.

    Just another case where the wealthy can destroy people with impunity while the poor pay dearly for every offense.

  49. 49
    FlipYrWhig says:

    OT: I feel happier after writing a note telling CREDO Mobile at long last to stop sending me 3,047 emails about how if I use their communication tools I too can easily lend my voice to the chorus complaining about Obama’s many horrible acts of malfeasance.

  50. 50
    Jrod the Cookie Thief says:

    @GregB: Because Republicans are misogynists who see slut-shaming as a venerable and proper part of American society.

    Until it’s their daughter, of course. Then it suddenly becomes evil and wrong it that one case.

  51. 51
    Ash Can says:

    @Mark: No, it’s not “hilarious.” Endangering schoolkids is never “hilarious.” Would it still be “hilarious” if the severed brake cables, or whatever they were, had been discovered too late, after an accident had occurred?

    I’m not keen on kids missing school just because a couple of assholes were assholes, but if that’s all that was involved, it wouldn’t be nearly as big a deal. The fact that things could have turned out far worse than they did saps any humor out of the situation for me.

  52. 52
    John List says:

    What was Scooter Libby doing in Oakland?

  53. 53
    emdee says:

    I agree this is wrong for reasons everyone else stated, but someone should point out:

    A year and a day is the shortest sentence in federal law that makes an inmate eligible for parole. If it’s a year or shorter, there’s no possibility of early release on parole. “A year and a day” is the same sentence the rapper T.I. got for his misadventures; he did seven months behind bars and three more in a halfway house, for a total of ten months in some form of actual non-constructive custody.

    The Oscar Grant shooter got two years under California state law, where inmates get 50% credit for “good behavior” but only once they’ve gone to a state prison and get a job (of which there aren’t enough for all inmates, so there’s usually a wait). If he never gets a prison job, he’ll do 16 months on a two-year sentence, presuming he’s not subject to one of those “must serve 85% of sentence for violent crimes” laws. It seems rather unlikely to me that he’ll be in jail less than a year total for his offense. Still not enough for shooting an unarmed man for no reason (duh), but more time than this Yahoo explorer will serve.

    (edited to fix dumb error and probably introduce other dumber ones)

  54. 54
    Maude says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    I think so. Whenever Congress panics, they do stupid things. Like, 3 strikes you’re out.

  55. 55
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Mark: He joined the Army or the Marines…. you know, to build his character.

  56. 56
    J sub D says:

    Illegal wire-tapping, destroying torture videotapes. Oh screw it, I don’t have the energy.

    It’s called “Professional Courtesy”.

  57. 57
    BR says:

    @Cat:

    You commit a crime against someone up the social ladder from you and you’ll get the full force of the law on you.
    __
    You commit a crime down the social ladder and you’ll consider yourself martyred if you go to trial.
    __
    You commit a crime latterly on the social ladder and you’ll get a slap on the wrist.

    This.

    On this subject, I feel it’s required of me to recommend that folks read Derrick Jensen, specifically Endgame (both volumes), The Culture of Make Believe and A Language Older than Words. He systematically examines this aspect of our culture and really makes it hit home. (I for example had never really connected that domestic violence and violence in the culture at large are really one in the same.)

  58. 58
    Bob L says:

    I’ll just note he is doing more time than the cop who shot an unarmed man in Oakland and Scooter Libby.

    The BART cop shot a middle class non-white in cold blood and on film for the thrill of it, so no biggy and Libby screwed up a major intelligence effort for some political spat. More, who cares?

    Kernell hacked the free Yahoo e-mail account of a REAL person by figuring out their childish public records based proof of identity information. Now that is serious buisness.

  59. 59
    Joseph Nobles says:

    @Face: Why do you think the cop is doing so little time?

  60. 60
    MattR says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I just unsubscribed to some progressive mailing list after they sent me an email trying to convince me to switch to CREDO by telling me all the great ways the company has helped them.

  61. 61
    Culture of Truth says:

    Just think – if baseball had different rules, our criminal laws might be very different.

  62. 62
    BR says:

    @Cat:

    You commit a crime against someone up the social ladder from you and you’ll get the full force of the law on you.
    __
    You commit a crime down the social ladder and you’ll consider yourself martyred if you go to trial.
    __
    You commit a crime latterly on the social ladder and you’ll get a slap on the wrist.

    This.

    On this subject, I feel it’s required of me to recommend that folks read Derrick Jensen, specifically Endgame (both volumes), The Culture of Make Believe and A Language Older than Words. He systematically examines this aspect of our culture and really makes it hit home. (I for example had never really connected that domestic violence and violence in the culture at large are really one in the same.)

  63. 63
    WyldPirate says:

    @ruemara:

    For a guy who has harped on his progressiveness and seen it all old radical thing, you’re rather infantile. Whatever, I don’t have to live with you.

    You must be used to trying to run over people, ruemara.

    That isn’t me and it isn’t happening.

    I directed nothing specifically towards you in the last thread and you decided to make it personal. What you got in this thread and the other was light, joking payback.

    Fuck with me specifically and I promise you’ll get it back in spades. And if you feel froggy and want to escalate–jump.

  64. 64
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @MattR: They may be a fine company. I just don’t want them to use their mailing list to stoke HuffPo-style perpetual outrage. And, for that matter, do email petitions ever work?

  65. 65
    ruemara says:

    @WyldPirate:

    ooooohhh shivering.

  66. 66
    Lit3Bolt says:

    “…and liberty and justice for the wealthy.”

  67. 67
    Morbo says:

    Speaking of people martyred for committing a crime down the social ladder: the witch hunt on America’s sheriff is turning up some dirt. Must a be a frame-up.

  68. 68
    WyldPirate says:

    @ruemara:

    I hate, hate, hate to cast aspersions, but I think we’re (LGBT) being played. Big Time. Yeah, I doubt gay rights champions who’re republicans, sorry, I’m bigoted that way.

    You could have fooled me. You seem as if you rather enjoy it.

    Have you seen the commercial? How on earth you could be so paranoid (if you have seen it or after you have) to think you are “getting played” after watching it escapes me.

  69. 69
    ruemara says:

    @WyldPirate:

    You know, when someone hates to cast aspersions, fully admits that they are bigoted, it does escape you that they are paranoid. And has admitted it. I don’t see people who’ve always been against me as allies, even if they say they are. Where the fuck was she all this time? The LCR? I’m glad she’s & they are showing support, doesn’t mean I think it’s like a light bulb went off in these people’s heads that they think the gays are super fine and now support our rights-this year. Paranoid, hell yes, I’m paranoid. The whole past 30 years and the current deluge of wrong in this country should make any sane person paranoid.

  70. 70
  71. 71
    Meg says:

    The Acorn pimp just got a slap in the hand and then continued with his games.

  72. 72
    liberal says:

    I think the closest analogy is that Republican Congressional staffer guy who monitored Dem emails or whatever. He wasn’t even charged. His excuse was that the systems he looked at weren’t properly protected, which is a garbage excuse because his use was unauthorized.

  73. 73
    patrick II says:

    Out of these various unpunished crime mentioned in this commentary, the CIA destroyed tapes is the most bothersome to me. Exactly what incentive is there for CIA or other federal enforcement agencies to keep possibly embarrassing records when even with egregious destruction of evidence the guy who did it isn’t even charged? The CIA always walks and sometimes crosses the line of legality and there are always turned heads, even after the Church commission. I am not always a fan of the slippery slope theory, but I can’t help but think that inculcating an above the law attitude at the CIA is a very dangerous thing.

  74. 74
    liberty60 says:

    Didn’t he try the “Let’s look forward, not backward” defense?

  75. 75
    bigorange says:

    What can happen to a liberal kid in a very red state.

  76. 76
    HyperIon says:

    @August J. Pollak:

    Jesus Fuck. HE DIDN”T HACK A GODDAMN THING.

    thank you for trying to set the record straight. i don’t see how this is even a crime.

  77. 77
    befuggled says:

    @HyperIon: Unauthorized access to someone else’s email? Of course it’s a crime. Does he deserve a year in jail? That’s another issue.

  78. 78
    shortstop says:

    @burnspbesq: It is almost eerie how consistently you manage to miss the point day in and day out.

  79. 79
    Bill Murray says:

    @burnspbesq: really, you need to know your rights. This is a public service announcement with guitars

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....re=related

  80. 80
    Yutsano says:

    @PurpleGirl: Army. By judge’s order. The Marines wouldn’t touch him.

  81. 81
    drkrick says:

    @Mark: They made him join the Army. Given that he got sent to a war zone, I wouldn’t call that a walk. On the other hand, it went down before his mother hit the big time. Wasn’t there a more recent vandalism incident with the younger daughter that got fixed in a manner befitting Caribou Barbie’s new status?

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