The Elements

In order to establish that a law has been violated, one must show that all of the elements of the crime have been committed. What are the elements of the Maryland crime of misuse of electronic communication or interactive computer service?

One of the acts prohibited by Maryland Criminal Law § 3-805 is (1) the use of any means of data transmission (2) via a computer or other electronic means (3) to send that data to a person (4) who receives that data (5) for the purpose of engaging in course of conduct (6) that alarms or seriously annoys another (7) with the intention to harass, alarm, or annoy the other person (8) after being told to stop and (9) without a legal purpose.

1. Does Twitter transmit data? Yes.

2. Does the transmission go via a computer or other electronic means? Yes.

3. Is the data sent to a particular person? If @useraccount is used, Yes.

4. Does the user receive the data? Yes. It arrives in his Interactions and/or Mentions pages.

5. Does a course of conduct exist? If no more than an isolated tweet is involved, probably no. If a sustained flow of tweets is involved, yes.

6. Does the data contain anything alarming or seriously annoying? If it’s petty name calling, probably no. If it’s threats to file criminal charges, probably yes.

7. Does the course of conduct demonstrate an intention to harass, alarm, or annoy? If it contains threats to file criminal charges, probably yes.

8. Was the data sent after being told to stop? A warning from the bench by a District Court judge is notice to stop. A peace order is notice to stop.

9. Was the data sent without a legal purpose? Communication or harassment in violation of a peace order is illegal.

The examination of the elements of this crime with respect to the behavior of certain persons using Twitter is left to the Gentle Reader as an exercise.

Speaking of “The Elements” …

13 thoughts on “The Elements

  1. BS sure has reading comprehension problems. Plus, he is so fixated on Monday that he has forgotten the other impending legal peril bearing down on him.

  2. Unbelievable. He’s blathering on about what you just posted as if it has anything to do with either the hearing on Monday or the basis for the PO.

    Predictions: BS will delete or rename his Twitter account by Monday; he will experience a twitch or an itch, ascribe it to PD, and blame WJJH; he will urinate or defecate and blame the dogs or WJJH; his coffee will get cold and he will blame WJJH; Mandela passed away, so he will blame WJJH.

  3. What a drama queen. I haven’t said he doesn’t have PD, nor have you. What I and others have said is that he uses his illness and its symptoms to gain sympathy and insulate himself from criticism for his reprehensible behavior.

    • I kind of did accuse him of that, some because it unhinges him nicely, secondly because it sure does seem like he’s faking it sometimes -one minute he’s hale and hearty and takin a trip and the next he’s a wheezy lil cheese puff a shiverin and a micurating in front of the Law on the porch.

  4. “Your honor, even though I think – AND HAVE PUBLICLY STATED – that you’re an ignorant, bowtie-wearing country bumpkin, who is so corrupt that you would rule in favor of an attorney because of her relatives and because you have the hots for her, I want you to vacate your peace order!”

    Has a nice ring to it. I’m sure the judge will say okey dokey.

  5. Twitter will send your cell phone a text message with every @(mention) if you are using it in the way it was originally conceived. Twitter is an SMS service. Activate it on your cell and let’s see anyone explain how all those texts aren’t contact.

  6. Of course, there is always the element of surprise, “Ah,” and of harassment which is of course “WtF”

    And did you know that Auburn University has its own element, which is “AU.”

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