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When Does Misdemeanor Assault Rise to the Level of a Felony?

While assault laws may seem simple and easy to understand on the surface, it’s actually a complex area of law. Every state has its own laws on the books and those laws define the various offenses that constitute assault.  They also delineate what factors could elevate a misdemeanor charge to a felony.

To start, let’s take a look at misdemeanor assault. Then we’ll look into what circumstances could raise what would otherwise be a misdemeanor to the felony level.  Then we’ll take a look at various types of assault.


Dictionary illustration in which the assailant makes physical contact.

Understanding Misdemeanor Assault

You may also hear this referred to as simple assault. In most states, a simple assault is classified as an act that puts another person in fear of bodily harm or causes actual bodily harm. Touching someone with the intent to cause physical injury or in a way that actually causes physical injury could lead to a conviction on simple assault charges.

Depending on the severity of physical injury, a conviction could include penalties of probation, fines and up to one year in prison.

What is Felony Assault?

Felony assault is most commonly known throughout the nation as aggravated assault. This is a very serious charge that can lead to several years in prison upon conviction. Prosecutors will typically charge an offender with this crime if they suspect “aggravating circumstances” were involved. These circumstances include, but are not limited to the following:


  • Serious superficial physical injury like severe bruising or lacerations
  • The offense is committed with the use of a deadly weapon
  • Disfigurement or fractured bones
  • The victim of the assault is restrained
  • The assault takes place in someone’s private home
  • Any assault committed on a police officer, prison guard, prosecutor, teacher or medical professional
  • When an adult assaults someone underaged


Even a first time felony aggravated assault conviction can lead to a prison term that can carry with it several years in prison. The judge will determine the sentence based on someone’s social and criminal history and the circumstances of the crime.


Threats can be crimes in many states

The consequences can become much more severe on a second aggravated assault conviction with a prison term of additional years. A third conviction could land someone in prison for many years or even for life in some states.


Threatening someone with bodily harm is considered misdemeanor assault in some states. However states like Arizona have laws on the books that will elevate threatening or intimidating to a felony level if gang activity is involved.

Domestic Violence

Just like other forms of assault, domestic violence charges are classified as misdemeanor or felony offenses. However, in many states, even misdemeanor offenses are prosecuted more aggressively. A first offense

may include community service, jail time, fines and court-ordered behavioral treatment. A second misdemeanor offense could, and likely would, result in additional probation or jail time.  A second or subsequent offense may even elevate a misdemeanor to a felony.

Aggravated domestic violence is typically a felony charge. Domestic violence that results in bodily injury or if a weapon is involved in the assault can also be grounds for a felony charge.

domestic assault

Domestic Violence is typically punished harshly

Hate Crimes

An assault or threat of any kind will rise to the level of a felony if authorities believe the offense was motivated by hate or bias. Hate crimes target specific groups with what are known as “immutable characteristics.”  Immutable characteristics include race, gender, religion, sexual orientation and like categories.

What to Do When Your Misdemeanor Charge Is Elevated to a Felony

If you face felony assault charges or the prospect of having a misdemeanor charge upgraded to a felony, you need to seek the guidance of a defense attorney who can help you weigh your legal options. Felony convictions will have life-altering consequences, including prison time, fines and a permanent criminal record.

A skilled assault lawyer can help you understand your rights and work to have your charges reduced, dismissed or acquitted at trial. Without the guidance of an attorney, your odds of being hit with a harsh sentence will increase significantly.


Guest post by Amanda Burns

Edited for grammar and syntax by Jay Leiderman.  Content not changed.

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The first thing that you should know is that Marijuana is the Spanish language word for Cannabis. Back in the 1930’s when cannabis came under attack by the federal government drug agents started using the Spanish language “marijuana” instead of cannabis so that the racial passions of the public would be inflamed.  Lost in that ugly racist history is that cannabis was primarily a medicine before it was outlawed in 1937.  It is just in the last 20 years that the medical effects of cannabis have again been touted.

Cannabis compounds are largely derived from of the dried flowers and the leaves of the cannabis plant.  Cannabis is so much more than just a plant, it is a rather elegant compound in the botanic world.  Of the 5 main cannabinoids one is particularly powerful for healing and it is also a non-psychoactive compound called CBD (Cannabidinol). This is the ingredient, along with the THC, that delivers the much needed healing effects of marijuana.

Even though it might seem basic, a lot of people are unfamiliar with the composition and major compounds in cannabis. It’s important in the age of medical marijuana to take a look at some of the scientific benefits of the compounds – specifically CBD and THC – as  they produce most of the benefits that people look for when determining the potential benefits of medical marijuana.

Does hemp oil cure cancer?

There are different types of cancerous conditions affecting various parts of our bodies, so let’s have a look.

  1. Brain cancer

There are a few studies in this area and a good deal of anecdotal evidence. For instance, a study published in the British Journal of Cancer showed that compounds found in hemp oil as well as other cannabinoids managed to inhibit the growth of a brain tumor. The delivery of the cannabinoid was actually safe and it didn’t have any psychoactive effects and the cannabinoids were found to actively decrease the tumor cells in two of the nine patients taht participated in the study.

  1. Lung cancer

The Experimental Medical Department of Harvard Medical School determined that THC is capable of inhibiting the epithelial growth factor which induces the migration of lung cancer cells. Another study published by the US National Library of Medicine showed that cannabinoids are capable of inhibiting the invasion of cancerous cells as well.

  1. Blood cancer

There is some good news on this front related to hemp oil.  A study published in the Molecular Pharmacology journal showed that cannabinoinds inhibit cell growth and are effective against apoptosis (the death of cells) in the mantle cell lymphoma.

4. Other types of cancer

Of course, it’s also worth noting that there are other types of cancer and hemp oil has a lot of additional benefits in that regard as well. Cannabis is definitely a perfect example of how our minds could be easily conditioned to believe in something even when we are conclusively faced with evidence which contradicts our beliefs afterwards. All of us, while growing up, were told that drugs are “bad”, so to speak. However, as science and medicine advances further, it turns out that substances such as cannabis and cannabidinol, for example, could be potentially lifesaving. What is more, this particular substance has over 50,000 different uses, all of which are particularly beneficial. This is something that needs to be taken into account – that’s certain. The US has already noticed this as it reflects in the ongoing legalization tendencies of medical marijuana.

Handling Nicotine Addiction – Positive Effects of Marijuana

Evidence related to cannabis and the potential treatment of nicotine addiction is based on a brand new study conducted with 24 smokers which were randomly chosen and give an inhaler with CBD or an inhaler with a placebo. They were then asked to take a slight puff whenever they felt the need to have a smoke. Those who had the placebo saw no difference and there wasn’t a drop in the use of cigarettes. However, those who were given the real CBD reported a 40% drop in the intake of nicotine. This is quite impressive and it’s without a doubt one of the most impressive new feats of medical cannabis.  It begs the question : what else can this wonder drug do?

Benefits of Marijuana for Acne

The Journal of Clinical Investigation as well as the National Institute of Health discovered that the CBD can actually battle acne. The researchers used cannabidinol on the glands and determined that it has highly anti-inflammatory and sebostatic properties which turned to be a great benefit when treating acne. The research was later published in a study and, to use a turn of phrase; it’s absolutely legit.

Medical Marijuana Benefits Related to Diabetes

Another study conclusively managed to prevent diabetes in non-obese diabetic mice using CBD. The study also revealed that the substance is capable of preventing cytokine which is absolutely crucial because it plays an important part in a variety of different autoimmune diseases.

Other Benefits

In any case, it’s obvious that CBD has a variety of different benefits and healing properties. To list a few more, it can help you handle fibromyalgia, mad cow disease (seriously!), PTSD and many more maladies. In any case, this is a natural substance which is definitely capable of battling all manner of disorders for which medical science hasn’t yet found a definitive and permanent cure. Of course, use should always be in moderation and only after duly recommended by a licensed physician who talks to you about methods, manner and amounts of usage.


Author Bio- This post is submitted by John Levy. He is a blogger for Pot Valet, a leading company providing marijuana delivery in Santa Monica. He has 5 years of experience in the Cannabis industry and loves sharing health benefits of marijuana and related products.

  • Edited for grammar, spelling, punctuation and syntax by Jay Leiderman.  Not edited for content.
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Ode to the dawn of the twilight

Nothing much happened today. Nothing much at all.

Congress did some stuff. Whatever. Well maybe not exactly whatever. See, there was formerly an uncodified mandate that ISPs (the mega corps that provide you with internet service) not do things like sift through, store and sell your browsing data. To much fanfare and celebration, 5 months ago, companies were formally banned by the FCC from selling your browsing history.

Today Congress reversed that ban.


These are the members of Congress that voted to violate your Internet privacy rights

Big deal, right? Stop with the histrionics. Whatever.

I mean, it is a big deal to lawyers and journalists and such like folk doing research and contacting sources and needing privacy to exist and whatever, but fuck us anyway. Journos spew fake news and lawyers, well … lawyers. Lol.

If only it was going to end here.

Alas, several things are in the sights of Congress that are much, much worse. For example, the FBI wants to ban encryption for use by private persons. I use encryption. I need encryption. Are you an encrypter? You will be. Oh, you will be. But terrorists use it too. So it’s got to go. I feel safer already.

Same thing for VPN services that don’t log their internet traffic. Are their days numbered? There have been major rumblings.  Ask your nephew what that means. I already have to explain net neutrality to you. Anyway…

Internet Privacy

As if the NSA and FBI spying weren’t enough …

And then there is net neutrality. On its way out. Gasping for sir. Here’s how the good folks at Wikipedia define net neutrality: “Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers and governments regulating the Internet should treat all data on the Internet the same, not discriminating or charging differentially by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or mode of communication.”

So you know how you have to pay more for Showtime and HBO? How’d you like to pay more to use FaceBook or Twitter? Or have it be unavailable from your local provider? Or if you have to pay more for access if you’re a business. Trust me, you can live without it. It’ll eventually come to basic internet anyway after 5 seasons (I know, I’m about as punny as Dennis Miller and 1/100th as clever).

Don’t sweat it though. Seriously. It’s really good for the bottom line of companies like Comcast and Time Warner that provide you internet service. That’s good for business. Those are the job creators, people. Job creators.

And then, invariably, there will be the rebirth of SOPA or some other incarnation. My Google machine says this about SOPA: “The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was a controversial United States bill … to expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement to combat online copyright infringement and online trafficking in counterfeit goods.” Every major internet company worth its salt opposed it and it died. But…


Letting ISPs collect and sell your Internet browsing data is just the first of many privacy violations to come

Let’s again be honest. Ugh, too much honesty here. Online piracy is a scourge and its seed (see what I did there?) should be wiped from the face of the earth. It matters little that we should give up freedom – like the right to privacy in the computers in our own home – to stamp out piracy. Piracy! FFS, Piracy! It’s not just your patriotic duty as an American, it’s your duty as a citizen of the world to stop the dialogue about the transmogrification of copyright law and the advancement of Creative Commons licenses. Your turn to google, I’m tired. Plus, Lars Olsen needs a new Maserati. (I know. Shut up.) Plus, the NSA has already shown it can be trusted with all of your data. (NSA: Some used spying power to snoop on lovers, 9/27/13, CNN). So there’s that.

What’s my point. As you might have guessed, I don’t have one. Or can’t remember it. Ahh, whiskey.

But there’s this. I wanted to share this with you: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” That’s it. That’s my point. The classic by Big Benny Franklin. Played out though, dontcha think? Encore with Dock of the Bay, exit stage right, whatever. That can’t be my point of this offhanded diatribe.

Information is the new currency

Each action you take on the Internet leaves a distinctive fingerprint. Your data has become your identity. Information is the new currency

No, this is my point. I actually have one. It is this quote by William O. Douglass, former US Supreme Court Justice. Please consider this, as we move forward into a new frontier of constraints upon our liberties that seek to chill the digital revolution and make our thoughts less safe, our lives less creative and our souls less alight with the joys only freedom, true, unfettered freedom, can provide:

“As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air – however slight – lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.”

Ode to the dawn of twilight indeed.  Stay vigilant my friends.

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Most people work hard day in and day out for the ability to relish in the fruits of their labor. However it is unfortunate that some take advantage of those hard workers by soliciting them out of their hard earned money with online fraud scams. Scammers access the oblivious in a plethora of different ways, namely over the phone, through online purchases and email. The risk of being tangled in a scammer’s web is scary, although there are a few ways to ensure that you are not made victim to their illegal activity. Here’s how to safeguard yourself and your loved ones.


Register your phone number with the Do Not Call Registry


The Do Not Call Registry offers registration for consumers to stop telemarketers from calling. Being added to this list will not ensure that all calls will be eliminated, however they will be limited. A popular scam is where you will receive a phone call from an unknown number stating that someone is threatening to take some legal action against you. If you do not answer the call, they will leave a voice message stating to call them back immediately using the case reference number that they gave you in the message. When you do call back, they will ask for your personal information, including your social security number. Some may say that you can pay a fine over the phone to avoid going to court. This is one of the worst frauds and thousands of unsuspecting people fall victim to it daily. If you receive one of these calls, hang up and report it to the Federal Trade Commission immediately. Never give any personal information out over the phone, unless you are absolutely sure you are speaking with a reputable company.


Beware of your online activity


Lots of scammers lurk online to take advantage of consumers’ willingness to provide their credit card information for purchases and services. While shopping or paying bills online have become the new norm, it is important that you take the necessary precautions to protect your vital information. When making purchases on a website look for the secured padlock symbol in the browser. If the site is not secured, do not offer your credit card information or anything personal. If you want more information before making purchases online, read the reviews from previous customers to see if where you are shopping is an honorable source.  Information is the new currency.  Protect it.


A common scam is one where you will receive an email from your banking stating that you need to update your account information online. Should you click on the link in your email you will be taken to a mock site identical to your bank’s website and asked to enter your personal information. Please be aware that banks will not notify you via email to make any personal changes online. If you receive an email of this sort, please report it to the FTC immediately. Be sure to warn your family and friends of such fraudulent activities and if you have children, be sure to monitor their internet usage and purchases. The more you spread awareness, less people will be subjected to such heinous acts.


Being targeted for a scam can be one of the most vulnerable positions to experience. Everyday luxuries such as surfing the web or even picking up the phone have become a playground for scam artists to harp on the general population. It is wise to be aware of scams and to protect your family’s best interest, however do not allow the potential of fraudulent activity keep your from going about your daily routine. Staying alert and aware are the best ways to combat scammers from harnessing your most valuable assets.

online fraud

Be mindful of your operational security (op sec) when you are online – both at home and in public

Photo By Tim Gouw (Stock Snap)

Article by:


Charlotte Meier



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Anon on the run: How Commander X jumped bail and fled to Canada

One fugitive’s epic tale.

Commander X


“You scared?” asks the fugitive in the camouflage pants as he sidles up to our pre-arranged meeting point in a small Canadian park. He wears sunglasses to hide his eyes and a broad-brimmed hat to hide his face. He scans the park perimeter for police. “Cuz I’m scared enough for both of us.”

It’s a dramatic introduction, but Christopher “Commander X” Doyon leads a dramatic life these days. He jumped bail and fled the US after the FBI arrested him in 2011 for bringing down a county government website—the only Anonymous-affiliated activist yet to take such a step. When I meet him months after his flight, he remains jumpy about getting caught. But Doyon has a story he wants to tell, and after he removes his hat, sunglasses, and backpack, he soon warms to the telling of it. It’s the story of how, in Doyon’s words, “the USA has become so tyrannical that a human rights/information activist would feel compelled to flee into exile and seek sanctuary in another country.”


Meet Commander X

In the early 1980s, when Doyon was in his early 20s, he had moved down the coast from rural Maine to Cambridge, Massachusetts. At the time, it was a “tripping fucking city to live in” where Doyon dropped plenty of acid, smoked plenty of weed, and found a political movement agitating against apartheid in South Africa. The mix of Grateful Dead culture and a righteous indignation intoxicated Doyon, who was soon recruited into a small group called the People’s Liberation Front (PLF), which he describes as “one of the ost secret organizations in the world.” The PLF was led by an older man with slate grey hair who favored aviator sunglasses and bomber jackets and who went by the name “Commander Adama.” Adama had already recruited five or six young people to join his quest for justice, and Doyon soon decided to help the cause. The group traveled from protest to protest performing technical services—printing flyers, deploying backpack FM radios for communications, surveillance.

When Adama later asked his recruits to relocate with him to California, Doyon and three others followed. They spent the next few years traveling around the Northwest in a van, helping groups like the Animal Liberation Front release animals. “We would sneak up basically in the middle of the night on mink farms and free all these little animals,” Doyon tells me, though his memory of those days is fading a bit. “And I believe we burned a couple [of buildings] to the ground. They weren’t mink farms that we burned… the fuck did we burn? I think it was a lumberyard, or… fuck. I can’t remember now. There were a couple places that we set fires.”

The PLF stayed in the background and, because groups that live in the darkness generally prefer not to use real names, Doyon needed his own nom de guerre. He quite consciously set out to pick a something “impressive.” For two weeks he jotted names on scraps of paper but found nothing he liked. The came the breakthrough: what about a single character? Most letters felt ridiculous (“Who wants to be G?” Doyon says), but X seemed promising. Doyon jumped online and spent the next four days scouring BBSes for anyone else using X as a handle. No one had it, so Doyon took it.

Commander Adama created the PLF as a hierarchical organization, the opposite of Anonymous, with a Supreme Commander at the top and the rank and file—which never numbered more than 12—taking orders. From 1985 to 1995, Doyon was known simply as X. In 1995, as the group moved from supporting direct action to information disclosure and the Internet, Doyon was offered rank within the PLF. He became “Commander X” and helped the organization emerge from its secrecy to become a self-described “cyber militia” that welcomed members from all over the world. In 2007, the group allied itself with Anonymous; Doyon soon became so active that, when HBGary Federal CEO Aaron Barr attempted to ID the leaders of Anonymous in early 2011, he named Commander X as one of the top three.

Rather than bringing down Commander X, however, Barr’s work gave him the additional strength of notoriety. The Anons who hung out in the group’s IRC channels now all knew who he was, and the Commander X persona became increasingly central to his identity. Within Anonymous, critics carped that Commander X should stay a bit more anonymous, rather than popping up all the time to give interviews such as the one in which he told journalist Dan Tynan that “Commander X is a cartoon character that inspires thousands.”

But Doyon refused to retreat back into the shadows because, he says, the Commander X persona was simply too inspiring to others. Not that being such a figure is easy, though.

“All the costs are personal and all the benefits are helping people,” he says. “It’s a huge fucking burden on my ass.”


But his pace began to slow. By mid-September, he could run no more. Increasingly ill, he made it down to Mountain View but became too sick to relocate again. A week into his illness, Doyon began to see more Crown Vics—the cop car of choice—and he feared his FBI pursuers had tracked him to the area. His fever rose. He lay in his camp for several days straight, logging into the free public Wi-Fi network that Google built and maintains throughout Mountain View. His judgment impaired by illness, Doyon ventured back into town on September 21. He called Jay Leiderman, a lawyer from downstate Ventura who agreed to represent Doyon pro bono, and warned him an arrest might be near. Leiderman agreed to fly up to Mountain View and meet Doyon the next day at his favorite coffee shop in town.

He called Jay Leiderman, a lawyer from downstate Ventura who agreed to represent Doyon pro bono, and warned him an arrest might be near

That afternoon, Doyon had an IRC chat with another hacker known as Locke. Locke, a student, offered to wire Doyon some cash through Western Union. Doyon provided him with the address of the coffee shop. It wasn’t a wise move for a man on the run, but Doyon was worn down by illness and fatigue and by the constant running. Fearing the feds might grab him soon, Doyon gave the “keys to the kingdom”—such as his Twitter account password—to his subordinates in the PLF that evening. He then says he used an encrypted, one-time only e-mail service to send a message to the FBI’s cybercrime division. “I am not armed,” it said.

After the hallucinatory night, Doyon roused himself again and returned to the coffee shop in time for his meeting with Leiderman. At 9:00am, from the second floor of the shop, Doyon looked out the window and saw a pair of Crown Vics in the street below. “This is it,” he thought, a sudden shock of sweat running down his back. “They’re here for me.”


Righteous hacktivists

Jay Leiderman’s phone rang as he pulled up to the Mountain View coffee shop in a rental car. His secretary was on the line saying that Doyon had just been arrested by the FBI and would soon be arraigned at federal court in San Jose. Leiderman hopped back into the car. He hadn’t come prepared for a federal court appearance and only had jeans and sneakers. He made his way to San Jose by noon and learned that his client wasn’t scheduled to appear before a judge until 1:30pm He asked the security guys running the metal detector at the courthouse entrance where he could get a suit quickly. They recommended a Vietnamese tailor down the street.

“I’m usually an Armani guy if I can be, but I went from jeans into the one of the nicest $99 suits I had seen, plus a tie, pocket square, and socks,” says Leiderman. “I got the shoes and belt at a Ross [Dress for Less store] in between the tailor and the courthouse. The guys that worked security were impressed.”

Jay Leiderman


Leiderman had involved himself with Anonymous after watching the Lulzsec crew wreak mayhem that summer. “Oh shit, someone here is going to really need a lawyer,” he began thinking. He “floated a tweet out there” during the early summer, offering pro bono work to “righteous hacktivists.” He heard from many Anons, including Commander X—whose name he recognized from Ars Technica’s reporting on the HBGary story—and had to pick one. He chose Doyon.

Now he was in San Jose, in a new suit and shoes, defending Doyon over a 30-minute DDoS attack. Leiderman made the 1:30pm court appearance, at which Doyon entered a plea of “not guilty.” A week later, Doyon was out of jail on a $35,000 signature bond in the name of labor lawyer Ed Frey, who had protested Santa Cruz’s no-sleeping policy with Doyon and had a long history of such battles. Should Doyon not show up for a court date, Frey would suddenly owe a huge amount of money.

Doyon’s bail was not unrestricted, however, and those restrictions would eventually lead him to take up a fugitive’s life once more. The court forbade Doyon from using Twitter. Or Facebook. Or IRC. Or from communicating with other Anons. Or the PLF. In other words, the very activities that occupied most of Doyon’s time were off limits.

“I’m not saying we’re in a police state,” Leiderman says when talking about the restrictions, “but it sure looks like it when you evaluate the system of pretrial release. His human contact is not really human contact—he does his life’s work through IRC.”

Leiderman worked on Doyon’s case for the next few months as it jerked along through the justice system and soon believed that Doyon could beat the rap. The CFAA, the law under which Doyon was charged, has long been criticized as fatally overbroad; Leiderman shares those concerns. “It’s both on its face an overreaching law and it’s being used in an overreaching way,” he says.

But Leiderman was convinced he could limbo under the CFAA’s low bar to prosecution by knocking $1,300 off the $6,300 damage claim from Santa Cruz County. Much of the damage appeared to be charges for non-overtime employee salaries—salaries already paid by the state, rather than new expenses. Such a win could also make a larger argument of Leiderman’s: DDoS attacks cause little damage and should be treated as political protest.

In Leiderman’s view, the DDoS was “absolute speech under the First Amendment.”

“They didn’t harm Santa Cruz’s computers, they didn’t go in and rape their servers,” Leiderman says of Doyon and crew. In his view, the DDoS was “absolute speech under the First Amendment.”

He soon began to worry he wouldn’t have a chance to make the argument, however. Anonymous tips warned him that Doyon—fed up with not being able to operate online as he liked—was thinking about fleeing to Canada. Doyon stopped answering Leiderman’s calls and e-mails. When Leiderman showed up to court in San Jose for a status hearing on February 2, 2012, his client did not appear.

“So, returning to Mr. Doyon,” said the government’s lawyer, according to a court transcript, “his appearance has not been waived. He is not present here. And so I’m inquiring as to whether there’s a reason for that.”

Leiderman knew nothing. The judge issued a bench warrant for Doyon’s arrest but agreed to hold it for two weeks.

On February 16, everyone reconvened in the same San Jose courtroom. Doyon was still missing. “It appears as though the defendant has fled,” said the prosecutor. The judge looked around the courtroom and said he saw no sign that Doyon was going to appear. The prosecutor noted they actually had good reason to believe Doyon would not appear—on February 11, Doyon had issued a press release titled “Commander X escapes into exile.”

Doyon was gone, Ed Frey owed the court $35,000, and Jay Leiderman’s “DDoS as free speech” test case just lost its client.

“A charming feeling as an attorney,” was how Leiderman described the moment to me. “Dateless on prom night.”


Commander X

This is more sedate than the initial version of events. As for the claim that he was “this close to fucking dead” when arrested, I asked Jay Leiderman how Doyon looked when the two met that day. Doyon was thin and ragged, with a few bruises and discomfort from the handcuffs, but “he lives a rough life, so he’s often in rough shape,” Leiderman says. “He was overall pretty much the same.”

It becomes clear as we talk that Doyon has a storyteller’s sense of the dramatic and a penchant for the Big Statement. PLF operations, for instance, tend to be grandiose. “Operation Freedom Star,” launched earlier this year, created the “PLF Space Command,” and sought a million dollars in donations to buy up an old satellite in order to provide broadband access to underserved parts of the globe. “Op Syria” aimed to “launch a major new offensive against the forces of tyranny and evil”; its status is currently listed as “success.” 2011’s “Operation USA” was said to be the beginning of “the Transnational Global Cyber Insurgency. Welcome to the second American Revolution!”

The pattern carries over into conversations with journalists. In May, Doyon famously told a Montreal journalist, “Right now we have access to every classified database in the US government. It’s a matter of when we leak the contents of those databases, not if… There’s a really good argument at this point that we might well be the most powerful organization on Earth.”

“Honestly, in 2011, nobody cared about Doyon at all. Anons thought he was a pretentious theatrical idiot.”

When I press him on this, the explanation is far more reasonable: Anonymous has received several terabytes of leaked data that appears to originate from US government databases, but it remains unclear whether this is of any real value. Doyon also insists that many of the geeks guarding these databases for the US government have come to Anonymous and pledged their support. “The simple fact is that by becoming one of the world’s worst tyrannies, the USA government has lost the loyalty and trust of many of the very people tasked with keeping their secrets safe,” Doyon says. After an obscure soldier like Bradley Manning could leak huge troves of US diplomatic cables, this statement isn’t as outlandish at it might have once appeared. On the other hand, the promised major leaks haven’t materialized

Why pay such a price? For Doyon, the answer is simple: activism is his life’s work and trumps all else. “I would hope people would see me as someone who

He is Supreme Commander of the PLF, scourge of tyrants, a voice for Anonymous, a man behind a mask, a cyber knight tilting his lance on behalf of the downtrodden—or he is a hyperbolic homeless hacker in love with the overwrought tones of his own press releases, a quote machine for journalists, a grown man playing at grand titles and in love with secret societies.

But in either case, he remains Commander X.

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