If justice is always given by books, my god I don't think even a single person will be barred from facing sentence. You always have to look at it from human perspective.
You cannot threaten someone who stole something with life imprisonment of 35 years, that is plain bullshit. I don't understand why people find it difficult to understand.
"...his incentive is not to be fair or find truth, but to convict and incarcerate at all costs."
Really? Does his job description say that bring as harsh punishment as possible to any kind of crime.
Does not matter even if the text says so, I think we can expect people holding such positions be intelligent enough to understand beyond black and white words.
My mom did ten years for a probation violation (granted it was killing my abusive father) but she only did time served on the original charge.
So if six months was a option I'm not sure why he didn't take it. And to be honest I do believe he committed a crime and six months was reasonable. In my eyes masking yourself and sneaking into a server closet isn't different from using SSH.
As valid as those concerns may be, neither of them is a reason to discontinue prosecution...