Friday, July 08, 2005

German Teen/Worm Sentenced.

I ran across this stroy at The Tribune and slashdot. Here is the meat
The BBC is reporting that Sven Jaschan, author of the Sasser Worm, has been found guilty of computer sabotage and illegally altering data. He received a 21 month suspended sentence, as he was tried as a minor. He was 17 years old when he wrote the worm.
Both stories contain this quote
"Sven Jaschan avoided a jail sentence by the skin of his teeth because he was arrested within days of his 18th birthday," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for anti-virus vendor Sophos PLC. "In many ways, Sven Jaschan was lucky that the police caught him when they did."
Now Graham isn't in law enforcement, but it is an interesting point. Should it be the age when the crime is committed or the age when arrested? The first reaction is when the crime is committed. However, suppose it was another 10 years before he was caught. Clearly he was living through his adult life not taking responsibilty for his actions, so why try him as a minor? On the other extreme, why is a crime committed 1 week before your 18th birthday dramatically different then 1 week after? It seems arbitrary, but almost any alternative would be equally arbitrary. I leave it as an open question.

2 Comments:

Blogger littleboxes said...

People might also be more willing to commit crimes before their 18th birthday. When this is the case, they should be tried as adults for being so obviously cold and calculating.

10:51  
Blogger Roy said...

True, but is that sort of cunning due to naivity or a mean spirit? I've thought a little more about this, and I think setting an age-limit and using the date the crime is committed is at least fair and transparant. Perhaps the solution to the aforementioned senario is to remove the disparity. As kids like to say these days, "raise the roof" on maximum punishments.

16:20  

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