Taren's quote portrays him as ruthless. I concede that we don't know exactly what went through his mind, but based on the facts in evidence, I think that that appears to be an accurate characterization. I, at least, cannot imagine how anyone with any compassion or principles could have looked at what Swartz did and concluded that it deserved to be treated as a felony worth years in federal prison.
Anyway, as I said upthread, the point is not so much what happens to Heymann as it is publicly making the point that Federal prosecutors in general have too much power and inappropriate incentives.
I, at least, cannot imagine
Try harder. Yeah, maybe they should have sent Aaron off for counselling. He sounds like he was becoming steadily more and more unhinged. Anyway, Aaron was pretty tenacious in his illegal behaviour at MIT. He wouldn't back down, and he got his hand slapped. That happens when you don't back off.
Aaron fits into a class of young men who believe that, because they have lofty principles which they are sure are correct, and because they are exercising their skill in a novel domain in which they are experts (computers) they are or should be above the law, and society should bend to their desires. Heymann was a critic of this trend - he wrote legal papers on it - and I assume he saw Aaron as an important case in proving a principle - that headstrong young white men with lofty ideas are subject to the same laws as the rest of us. So, his prosecution would have been primarily driven by the deterrence rationale.
Deterrence eh? Seems to be fairly well-established as a prudent rationale for prosecution in law. Lol. Nah, forget that, Heymann was an ego-driven careerist monster! Off with his head!
Or maybe some lithium. First he decides that it would be nice to liberated all the world's documents and actually tries to do it. Second his totally irrational "plan" predictably fails, as in smoking crater fails. Third he collapses mentally and commits suicide.
That sure walks and quacks like manic depression.
I keep saying that the prosecutors are a red herring. This case is about Swartz's lunacy first and foremost, and secondly about the digital freedom opinion leaders who knew how the Feds like to make an example of people and egged Swartz on anyway.
And I've said many times that there are red herrings all over the show with this affair. Those who focus on Aaron's explicit ideology are falling for a major one, I believe. Similarly with the focus on the DOJ. The only relevant issue here is Aaron's psyche, and the trend of reckless, idealistic data-vigilantes trying to place themselves above the law.
Seriously, this is getting out of control. I have no idea whether an investigation will turn up evidence of misconduct, but I doubt you do, either.