Sophont
Thursday, August 25, 2005
 
'Kutztown 13' hackers offered deal
The case against the "Kutztown 13" - a group of high school students charged with felonies for tinkering with their school-issued laptop computers - seems to be ending mostly with a whimper.

In meetings with students over the last several days, the Berks County juvenile probation office has quietly offered the students a deal in which all charges would be dropped in exchange for 15 hours of community service, a letter of apology, a class on personal responsibility and a few months of probation.

The probation department realizes this is small potatoes, said William Bispels, an attorney representing nearly half of the accused students.

The 13 were initially charged with computer trespass and computer theft, both felonies, and could have faced a wide range of sanctions, including juvenile detention.">AP Wire | 08/25/2005 | 'Kutztown 13' hackers offered deal: "The case against the 'Kutztown 13' - a group of high school students charged with felonies for tinkering with their school-issued laptop computers - seems to be ending mostly with a whimper.

In meetings with students over the last several days, the Berks County juvenile probation office has quietly offered the students a deal in which all charges would be dropped in exchange for 15 hours of community service, a letter of apology, a class on personal responsibility and a few months of probation.

'The probation department realizes this is small potatoes,' said William Bispels, an attorney representing nearly half of the accused students.

The 13 were initially charged with computer trespass and computer theft, both felonies, and could have faced a wide range of sanctions, including juvenile detention.

In legal terms, the students have been offered an "informal adjustment" - the least severe form of punishment.


Bispels said a few students are thinking about refusing the deal because they don't feel they have broken any laws. "A lot of these parents would like to fight this on principle, but it's hard to put the kids at risk on principle," he said.

......Mike Boland, who represents one student, said his client will likely accept the offer. "It doesn't require my client to acknowledge he is guilty of anything," he said.

"It's about as mild as you can go," agreed James Shrawder, whose 15-year-old nephew was among those offered the deal. "It's more of a face-saving measure."

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