In what is perhaps the stupidest use of limited Federal resources, Federal charges have been filed against two men for a phone prank that was laughed about all over the internet, after it got picked up by Deadspin.com. Now, each of the men are facing up to five years in prison on federal felony charges.
Now, it would be one thing if trade secrets ended up causing harm to either of their businesses. But that didn’t happen… it was a harmless prank that may have caused some embarrassment to the victims of the prank, but they didn’t have to make a federal case of out it. A felony in fact. With all the issues going on in the Justice Department right now, you wouldn’t think that prank phone calls would be a high priority.
Frequently, there is a strong defense to charges relating to phone calls, because it is difficult to prove who actually made the calls. Even knowing who owns the phone is insufficient to prove the guilt of whoever actually made the call. Things may be more difficult for the gentlemen in this case, as they posted their exploits on the internet.
However, I can’t get past the question of whether it makes sense to prosecute this case. We are paying for it, it’s our tax dollars that pay the prosecutor who filed on it, and in turn, the judge and all the courtroom personnel that will be involved in the case as it moves through the system. That’s a lot of our money to punish a little prank- and as a felony no less (several states make it a misdemeanor). Lucky for these guys, they didn’t pat anyone on the butt…