Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Online Impersonation Illegal in California

As a view visitors may be aware, I won a defamation lawsuit last year based on default and was awarded $25,136.  The defendant had impersonated me and other victims in blogs and on various complaint sites.  The defendant also sent emails to government officials under my email address including Gavin Newsom.  I conducted discovery and obtained DSL records from AT&T proving lies and exposing the defendant's involvement.  In fact, I had received a lawsuit threat on my former music site songchannels, and exactly a year later I obtained the judgment.  As previously stated in my post The Sad Truth About Collecting Judgments From Lawsuits, I won't be collecting any money because the defendant has no job or assets.

A new door has opened up for those who the police ignored previously when they brought in complaints of impersonation on-line.  In 2009 one such officer, Noel DeLeon, of the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) completely disregarded my complaint refusing to send it downtown for further review by case workers of the defendant who I not only got a restraining order against, but won a judgment against.  The sad fact is that in San Francisco police aren't trained to deal with cyber crimes and have no cyber units let alone computers.  The SFPD officer even came up to my face and in so many words treated my complaint as bogus nonsense claiming identify theft isn't a crime on the Internet.  Under Senate Bill 1411 if it wasn't a crime back then it is now!
"Under Senate Bill 1411, it is now illegal to 'knowingly and without consent credibly impersonate another actual person through or on an Internet Web site... for purposes of harming, intimidating, threatening, or defrauding another person.'
Online impersonation became punishable by up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines in California this year — and it's not clear satire is exempted." Source 

Based on the new law, I now have a strong legal basis to file a criminal complaint with the police department whenever a cyberstalking idiot is impersonating me or taking on multiple anonymous identities to make it appear I'm a hated person. Lawsuits are no longer required!  

So whomever is still writing nonsense about me, be advised your work is going to be filed in a criminal complaint with the local police department thanks to the new impersonation law.

As for the cyberstalker's concerns of my name changes over the years who loves to cite my "AKA's", my last name "Merrill" is the one my mother has used since the 1980's and was used as my father's television stage name for 20 years. I've had two last names all of my life "Behunin" and "Merrill".  I changed it to "Meril" in 2008 due to the cyberstalker's sabotaging my name on the Internet. Names I've used are therefore Cheryl Merrill, Cheryl Behunin and Cheryl Meril.  Hollywood where I'm from is full of people who adopt stage names.  It's no big deal to have two last names.  Yelp identifiers such as "Minny" don't count as an AKA.  Virtually no one uses their real name on Yelp these days!

I hope that clarifies how ridiculous it is that the cyberstalker continues to make an issue of my name changes over the past 51 years of my life.  I didn't want the "Mormon" name Behunin that's origin is in Utah and have always hated having to explain its pronouncement.  It's nothing personal against that name, I just found the name Merrill easier to deal with socially. People liked the rhyme and got a kick out of it so why not?

I'm going to take this endless harassment and impersonation to the police under the new law and will build a file. Big deal I had a couple AKA's in 51 years all used by my parents.  Both "Merrill" and "Behunin" are used by my parents to this day!   I know many of you could care less, but I just wanted to clarify it for the record.