Take Down a Website, Go to Jail

[article]http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=11065695&BRD=988&PAG=461&dept_id=141265&rfi=6
[slahdot]http://www.slashdot.org

This "article":article reports the case of Patrick Arthur Richard, who created a web site for his local sheriff's department. Big mistake.

Richard apparently set up the site for free, but after 33 months decided that he wanted to be paid for it. When he asked for $300,000, which he claims was a negotiable opening bid, he was flatly refused, so he did what any webhost would have done--he took down the site. The Macomb Sheriff's department responded by seizing his computers and throwing him in jail.

"This is a case of someone trying to get rich quick," said Eric Kaiser, chief trial attorney for the Macomb County Prosecutor's Office. "He was given the privilege of carrying the banner of the Macomb County Sheriff's department and he tried to take advantage of it."
[...]
"He built up the site so that we would rely on it so much and would pay him," Hackel said. "(But) that content belongs to all of us."

I think this guy was an idiot to give them anything for free in the first place, though I doubt he imagined that if he didn't continue to provide this service for free forever, he would be thrown in jail.

Richard, who is free on a $5,000 personal bond, faces a preliminary examination today in 41B District Court in Mount Clemens on charges of extortion, using a computer to commit a crime, larceny by conversion and obstruction of justice. The most serious charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Link via "SlashDot":slashdot

++UPDATE:++ For Patrick Richard's side of the story go his website "Justice 4 Pat":http://www.justice4pat.com/

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Mixed emotions on this one.

Mixed emotions on this one. I always hate to see some poor bastard get The Gun stuck in his back, but what'd he expect the cops to do, bargain with him? They aren't in the business of negotiation, they're in the business of delivering severe beat-downs to anyone who crosses them. The best outcome in my opinion would be for him to get off, but having learned a fundamental lesson in the process.

From the evil attorney:

From the evil attorney: "That content belongs to all of us."

*sigh*

I always hate to see some

I always hate to see some poor bastard get The Gun stuck in his back, but what'd he expect the cops to do, bargain with him?

John L.--exactly. When you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas.

It reminds me of in the end of Sneakers, when Whistler asks for "world peace and goodwill toward men", the FBI agent snaps "We're the United States government, we don't do that kind of thing!"

The article does not state

The article does not state if there was any type of contract between Richard and the department. I would think that there was not, based upon the details provided in the article.

If I am correct in this assumption, even though Richard wanted 300K, he was well within his rights to pull the plug. Reasons include,

""He shut it down because he didn't want to lose any more money."

It was Richard's dimes on the line, not Macomb county's.

And,

"Richard retains authority of the domain name."

The Macomb County Sheriff's Department has NO authority over the domain. In fact, I would think, that in this voluntary arrangement, the department forfeited any right they may have had to the domain name when they allowed Richard to register the domain name.

In the final analysis, I think what you have here is some pissed off cops abusing a private individual who used to be their friend. If a judge doesn't throw out the charges against Richard, the judge, in my opinion, would simply be in collusion with the department, to bend laws for their own benefit while a private individual suffers. Not to mention private property rights.

I bet N.W.A. shifted a lot

I bet N.W.A. shifted a lot of units in good ol' Macomb County.

I live in Macomb county. I

I live in Macomb county. I wouldn't count on him getting a fair shake from a judge here. I have heard too many stories of the old boys network and "your guilty till proven otherwise". The county jail is known as "Sheriff Hackel's Hotel". Everyone who comes out of their owes up too several hundered to several thousand dollars to the county for room and board. Just what you need when trying to get your life back together.

All he did was pull the old

All he did was pull the old "IRS Gambit" on the county. To bad he didn't back it up with armed enforcers. Oh yea, I forgot most "Citizens" have given up their "bad" guns. Can't hardley see that the courts FOLLOW LAWS THEY MAKE UP ON THE SPOT! AND so many of us think the courts will save us.
Drop your government ID papers folks, when nobody votes or pays tribute to "Rome", we may have a chance to become a great nation again.

I read this story locally

I read this story locally and could not believe that they RAIDED this guy's house. Definately not a criminal matter.

We trust the Sheriff's Department to help fight the war on terror. They know nothing of technology, what's involved with a website, and can't even comprehend simple bandwith charges that can go through the roof? Yet the Sheriff becomes a terrorist in the worst way, with the law.

I live in Warren, in Macomb County, and have called it Hooterville for years on the Internet. The city shut down my website with bogus complaints in 1998. That was done by Warren City Attorney George Constance. They all walked away from violating my civil rights. The City Attorney thinking my website was GONE, thought he could lie to a reporter and claimed he didn't know what they were talking about. I had mirrors of the site, the reporter came back with a print out of one of them. "Oh that," he said to the reporter. Caught in a LIE!

Now in 2004 Warren City Attorney George Constance is running for Macomb County Prosecutor. 2 years ago he ran for Macomb County Circuit Court Judge.

Heaven help us all!!!

All of these charges were

All of these charges were dismissed - the judge even said that he wasn't sure this wasn't a civil matter.....