Aaron Swartz committed suicide over the weekend at 26 years of age. There have been many articles written about his death, including ones by Lawrence Lessing (http://lessig.tumblr.com/post/40347463044/prosecutor-as-bully) and a few on Ars Technica ). They write about his life better than I could.
He was facing 50 years in prison for downloading academic journals, most of which get paid for by public funding. Regardless of the legality of his actions, a Bernie Madoff-level prison sentence is grossly unfair for a copyright violation. Shame on MIT for pursuing this. Shame on the prosecutors for pursuing this vendetta against an activist.
Aaron’s family has written a statement (http://www.rememberaaronsw.com/) blaming the prosecutor, US Attorney, Carmen Ortiz, for persecuting Aaron. She now has to live with the knowledge that she drove a brilliant mind who was pursuing social justice to suicide.
Edit: From a witness who was going to speak on behalf of Aaron: http://unhandled.com/2013/01/12/the-truth-about-aaron-swartzs-crime/