Following the aftermath of the late Aaron Schwartz, who took his life last month after the increasing pressure of going to prison on accusations of stealing millions of academic articles to distribute them for free, many were upset over how he was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Heymann.
Heymann, who’s blamed for Schwartz suicide with his “overzealous prosecution”, has been the target of an online petition signed by over 25,00 people that’ll force the White House to make a decision whether to fire him or not.
The Obama Administration must now decide what to do about Heymann’s position as a prosecutor. Those behind the petition want to make sure Mr. Heymann gets the boot ”before his reckless prosecutions claim any more lives.”
Whether or not the petition will be effective, like most petitions in general, is up for debate. Schwart’z death has been making headlines for the past month, and there’s been a lot of outrage following his suicide. Many can agree that Heymann’s prosecution went “too far”, and it was too much for Schwartz to handle. All of it over “minor and non-violent electronic crime.”
We’ll have to wait and see if the White House does make a decision, although, as implied earlier, the chances they’ll ignore the petition are quite likely.