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10 Awful Crimes That Get You Less Prison Time Than What Aaron Swartz Faced

The young hacker faced a harsher prison than that for manslaughter, bank robbery, or selling slaves.

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Indeed, if Swartz’s story reveals anything, it is the power of prosecutors to pressure defendants into plea bargains by stringing multiple criminal charges together and threatening outlandish prison sentences. Whatever one thinks of Swartz’s actions, which were  likely illegal and probably should be illegal, it is difficult to justify treating him as if he were a more dangerous criminal than someone who flies into a rage and kills their own brother.

Ian Milhiser is a Policy Analyst and Blogger on legal issues at the Center for American Progress and the CAP Action Fund.
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