In the good news department, a Tompkins County grand jury indicted the two Cornell sophomores arrested in March on suspicion of releasing the MBDF virus. David Blumenthal, 20, and Mark Pilgrim, 19, were both indicted for first degree computer tampering, a class E felony that carries with it a maximum sentence of one to four years in state prison. Arraignment and trial have not yet been scheduled.
As I understand it, and I’m not exactly one of the great legal minds of the Western Hemisphere, the fact that Blumenthal and Pilgrim were indicted means that the prosecution decided that they had enough evidence for a trial and the grand jury concurred. Even if Blumenthal and Pilgrim are found guilty (or plead guilty right off), it’s unlikely that they will receive a prison sentence. Stiff probation, a hefty fine, and lots of community service are far more plausible sentences.
I don’t see much point in throwing these two in jail – the prison system is already overburdened. They worked long and hard to cause people trouble; now they should work even longer and harder to help others, whether they want to or not. There’s not much else to say about the case right now, but we’ll keep you posted.
Mark H. Anbinder — TidBITS Contributing Editor