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Being punished for willfully breaking the law, whatever your reasons, is not extortion.

It well is if it is over punishment and this case is a clear cut. Pure bullying.

Maybe it's a side effect of plea bargaining. Prosecutors have to push for the highest sentence imaginable to get a strong negotiating position. This is a bigger problem than Carmen Ortiz.

Incidentally, this also affects the idea that they should have gone easy on Swartz because of his history of depression and suicidal ideation, because then that becomes a tool for negotiating leverage as well.

But when the root cause is the systemic effect of plea bargaining on the justice system as a whole, it becomes difficult to find good solutions, and obvious that whatever the solution is, it will be very hard to implement. But our outrage compels us to demand something to be done right now, so let's just designate a scapegoat.

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