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In late July 1995, a trial jury convicted Randal L. Schwartz of three felony counts under Oregon's Computer Crime Law. The charges related to his activities while working as a consultant at an Intel Corporation facility in Beaverton, Oregon. His sentence issued in September includes 5 years of probation, 480 hours of community service, 90 days of deferred (cancellable) jail time, and $68k of restitution to Intel. His legal bill exceeded $170k by the end of 1995. In July, 1998, the deferred jail-time sentence would have taken effect. Due to excellent compliance with terms of probation the judge converted the deferred jail time to suspended jail time.
Schwartz appealed the conviction. A decision by the State of Oregon Court of Appeals in April 2001 upheld the convictions on all counts, but reversed the restitution order and sent this issue back to the original court for reconsideration.
In early 2007, the Court ordered an expungement (pdf). The order states: ".. the defendant, for all purposes of the law, shall be deemed not to have been previously convicted or arrested." The order seals the court records and eliminates some lingering effects of the conviction.
Mr. Schwartz is known and respected on the Internet for his contributions to the progress of the Perl programming language through two books, long-time participation in the comp.lang.perl(.misc) newsgroup, moderation of the comp.lang.perl.announce newsgroup, and training courses.
The purpose of this archive is to help prevent what happened
to Randal Schwartz from happening to any other well-intentioned
computing professional. That requires insight into this
unforeseen application of a law that is intended to protect
organizations against thieves, spies, and casual intruders to the
enforcement of a corporation's internal rules of operation. The
contents are contributed by members of the Friends of Randal
Schwartz, a mailing list including computer security, law,
and education professionals interested in exploring why and how
that could happen. Your comments and questions
Hits since 15 April, 1996:WWW site contact: Steve Pacenka, firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks to host ISP Lightlink.