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Convicted Cyberstalker Granted Resentencing by 9th Circuit

"Cyberstalking" has always seemed like a sort of amorphous, subjective concept to me. Nevertheless, there's a federal statute making it a crime. And the California Appellate Report blog reports today on a case which leads me to believe that one man from Montana made it his mission to show me what cyberstalking is all about.

The opinion is hot off the presses, having just been released today. The defendant, Jeffrey Grob, sounds like a real winner. After his girlfriend a) had a miscarriage; and b) broke up with him, he decided the best way to deal with his grief was to send her a bunch of e-mails and text messages. One of which, reproduced in the opinion, reads as follows:

If you ever come back to Montana again I am going to slit your throat. I am not even kidding. It would make be fill [sic] so good to see you bleed as you gasp for air. I hope your are [sic] ready for retribution, because it is coming. You are going down bitch.

Hmm. I wonder why the girlfriend might have broken up with him. Grob's conviction was based on 22 e-mails and 50 text messages, some of which accused the ex-girlfriend of "killing our baby" and attached photos of dead infants. Yeah, Jeff probably makes a great impression on a girl's parents.

Grob didn't appeal his conviction; he pleaded guilty. But he did appeal his sentence of 37 months. He argued that the district judge erred in including a prior misdemeanor conviction for criminal mischief when it calculated his criminal history category under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

The 9th Circuit held that it was, in fact, improper to include the criminal mischief conviction in the criminal history calculation. That inclusion, the court said, made the guidelines range 37 to 46 months, rather than 33 to 41. Thus, the case was kicked back to the district court for resentencing.

I know the guidelines are just advisory, and not mandatory, these days. So here's to hoping that the judge who resentences Grob, whether it's the same one or a different one (I mean, there are only five!), finds a creative way to sentence this clearly disturbed man to 37 or more months even without considering the criminal mischief conviction. The women of Montana will appreciate it.

Posted by Eric Lipman on November 10, 2010 at 03:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)


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