Pepperdine Voice Magazine
Breaking New Ground
Naomi Goodno Explores Cyberstalking, Criminal Law, and International Human Rights
By Emily DiFrisco
Two weeks after professor Naomi Goodno published an article on the new crime of "cyberstalking" in the Missouri Law Review, a 13-year-old girl named Megan Meier committed suicide after being verbally bullied by a "friend" via MySpace. When the "friend" was revealed to be an adult woman posing as a teen boy, people nationwide wondered whether the woman would be charged with a crime.
In the resulting media frenzy, Goodno was the expert called upon by media outlets such as FOX News and National Public Radio's The Bryant Park Project. Goodno had a lot to say on the topic, as she had already researched the effectiveness of state and federal laws on cyberstalking for her article. "Our state and federal stalking statutes are inadequate," she says. "Many are written to deal with telephones rather than the Internet."
According to Goodno, mass use of electronic technology has broadened the ways stalkers can harass their victims, and gaps in the law make prosecuting those crimes even more difficult. Fortunately, the Megan Meier case (which took place in Missouri) brought the issue to light, and already lawmakers have used Goodno's article to draft a city ordinance and to put a bill before the Missouri state legislature.
Goodno's interest in cyberstalking originally stemmed from a desire to study "new areas" of the law. The Princeton and Berkeley grad has a long resume of credentials, including interning at the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Northern District of California; litigating complex civil litigation cases at the downtown Los Angeles firm of Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart, Oliver & Hedges; and clerking for the Honorable Arthur L. Alarcon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In between the firm and the clerkship, Goodno taught Legal Research and Writing at Pepperdine and coached the school's trial teams.
As her career has evolved, Goodno has developed an interest in another "new area" of the law: international human rights. Human rights can intersect criminal law and technology in several ways; for example, when people are trafficked via the Internet. "In some countries, people are sold on sites like eBay," says Goodno.
She plans to delve into this topic as she returns to Pepperdine this fall to teach Civil Procedure, Advanced Criminal Procedure, and Honors Trial Practice. "Something I really appreciate about being a professor is being able to choose 'clients' or areas of the law to pursue."
Another bonus is returning to students and valued colleagues. "I'm so excited to be back at Pepperdine," she says. "It's like coming home."