We all agree that convicted spammer Jeremy Jaynes is a nasty slime deserving of punishment for his daily 10 million spam emails fix. But now we're not the only ones wondering if a Virginia court went overboard on his 9-year jail sentence. Brian McWilliams says basically the same thing in his column, adding that not only is it excessive but also misguided and potential dangerous. The gist is of the commentary is two-fold: first, the overly stiff sentence puts him on par with violent criminals and completely ignores other forms of punishment, ie, he may not have to hand over a penny of his filthy lucre; and second, crucifying him this way is a good deterrent but will only martyr him and create a public backlash. Perhaps the lesson for prosecutors here is that you might serve the public better by seeking more balanced penalties. Maybe a tad less jail time, more commensurate with the crime, and a bit more repaying of the ill-gotten gains. Even better, throw in some community service, like forced service in the fight against spam. On a big scale, Mr. Jaynes and his ilk could help catch spammers or figure out ways to thwart them. Sort of the bad-hackers-turned-good approach. On a smaller and far more satisfying scale, we could make them clean up after themselves. Put them on Deletion Detail. If Jaynes had to delete spam messages all day, maybe we'd be more inclined to believe his pledge to reform himself.
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