One outside expert, Joseph V. DeMarco, an Internet lawyer and former head of the cybercrime unit in the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan, said in a recent interview that beyond its sensationalism, the Valle case highlighted the fact that there were “dark corners” of the Internet “where a whole range of illegal and immoral conduct takes place, and the general public has only a vague and fleeting knowledge that these places exist.”IN THE COMMENTS: Nonapod said: "Real space? The term meatspace is often used as a silly antonym to the cyberspace, but this gives it a whole new meaning."
He noted that the Internet, as a medium of expression and communication, also made it possible for people with interests as benign as stamp collecting or as grisly as cannibalism to find and validate one another in community forums.
“If you were someone mildly interested in cannibalism 30 years ago, it was really hard to find someone in real space to find common cause with,” Mr. DeMarco noted. “Whereas online, it’s much easier to find those people, and I think when you have these communities forming, validating each other, encouraging each other, it’s not far-fetched to think that some people in that community who otherwise might not be pushed beyond certain lines might be.”...
Ms. Gatto, Officer Valle’s lawyer, said in her opening statement that if the jurors had been scared by what the prosecution had described, “who could blame you?” The allegations were shocking and gruesome, she said, “the stuff that horror movies are made of. They share something else in common with horror movies,” she added. “It’s pure fiction. It’s pretend. It’s scary make-believe.”
Ms. Gatto suggested that the stakes for Officer Valle, who has been charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, went far beyond his case. She said cases like his test “bedrock principles, the freedom to think, the freedom to say, the freedom to write even the darkest thoughts from our human imagination.”
February 26, 2013
"A federal prosecutor, Randall W. Jackson, told jurors that [New York City police officer Gilberto Valle] had been plotting real crimes to kill actual victims, while Officer Valle’s lawyer, Julia L. Gatto, contended that he had merely been living out deviant fantasies in Internet chat rooms, with no intention of carrying them out."