Now, the charges against Aaron were reported …poorly…insofar as individuals don’t tend to get all the charges piled onto one another when it comes time to sentencing. But still, he was looking at upwards to ½ the time the rapists are facing.

He was facing up to 35-years in prison. What are you talking about?

Orin Kerr walks through (see: how the charges likely would have unfolding had Aaron’s defense…and appeals…failed. My comment on sentence was a reference to the plea that was on the table (3 months, then 6 months).

(As a note: my comment isn’t meant as either supporting the prosecution of Aaron or the sentencing of the rapists.)


Once your life is inside a federal investigation, there is no space outside of it. The only private thing is your thoughts, and even they don’t feel safe anymore. Every word you speak or write can be used, manipulated, or played like a card against your future and the future of those you love. There are no neutral parties, no sources of unimpeachable wisdom and trust.

The lawyers tell you: take no notes.

The lawyers tell you: talk to no one.

It is the loneliest of lonely things to be surrounded by your loved ones, in danger, and forced to be silent.

May you never experience a Federal investigation. I did, and it consumed me, and changed everyday that will come after it for the rest of my life.


TarenSK: Thank you


I’m being very careful not to generalize from this grieving experience. Someday other people close to me will die. It will not be like this. But this once, it can be and is like this, and I am grateful.

Along with all the multitudes of lessons to draw from Aaron’s life and death, I hope one can be an ongoing commitment to unconditional support for each other in times of great personal crisis.

The truth is, Aaron was very bad at asking for support. He didn’t want to be a burden on others. He believed he ought to be able to make it on his own. He demanded independence from those who loved him. He was eager to help anyone else, but to ask for help for himself was terrifying. That made his 2-year ordeal much harder in many ways.

I’ve learned what I believe are the right lessons from this, and I hope you all will as well. The world is often — though not always — naked and cold. Confronting it on our own is sometimes merely difficult, sometimes downright impossible. We have a responsibility to help each other through the hard times, and an equal responsibility to ask for help from each other.



It saddens me that America’s so-called government for the people, by the people, and of the people has less compassion and enlightenment toward their fellow man than a corporation. Having been a party myself to subsequent legal bullying by other entities, I am all too familiar with how ugly and gut-wrenching a high-stakes lawsuit can be. Fortunately, the stakes in my cases were not as high, nor my adversaries as formidable as Aaron’s, otherwise I too might have succumbed to hopelessness and fear. A few years ago, I started rebuilding my life overseas, and I find a quantum of solace in the thought that my residence abroad makes it a little more difficult to be served.


Aaron was part of an army of citizens that believes democracy only works when the citizenry are informed, when we know about our rights—and our obligations. An army that believes we must make justice and knowledge available to all—not just the well born or those that have grabbed the reigns of power—so that we may govern ourselves more wisely.

When people try to restrict access to the law, or they try to collect tolls on the road to knowledge, or deny education to those without means, those people are the ones who should face the stern gaze of an outraged public prosecutor.

* Carl Malamud, “Aaron’s Army

Lessig Blog, v2: A time for silence


A week ago today, Aaron gave up. And since I received the call late Friday night telling me that, like so many others who were close to him, I have not rested. Not slept, really. Not connected with my kids, at all. Not held my wife except to comfort her tears, or for her to comfort mine.


I am still struggling to come to terms with Aaron’s death. I was first incredibly depressed. Then mad. I’m still at that point.

I was one step removed from him in more ways than I can count and, based on my grief, I can’t imagine the pain experienced by my friends and colleagues. His causes overlapped with my own. His principles often as well. I can understand and sympathize – and, to a large extent, support – his advocacy tactics. I can impose my own understandings on why he took his life and be saddened, but not necessarily surprised and certainly unable to lash out at him for his decision.

What is perhaps most significant to my mind, now, is that the challenges that faced Aaron similarly bear down on many of the members of the digital and civil rights community. Threats of outlandish prosecution. Warnings of how advocacy will be treated as criminal behaviour of the highest sort. Attempts to legally force and coerce colleagues to turn on one another.

Aaron can, and does, serve as a focus for some of the problems that some members of this community experience on a sadly common basis. We need to move forward to better help, support, and uplift our own. We need to work harder to make sure that suicide isn’t seen as a way to resolve the problems that some of our community experiences. To this end we have to buttress against the despondency, isolate, and fear imposed by elements of government with the hope, togetherness, and laughter that makes this community so important and productive.