Virginia Supreme Court Changes Its Mind: Anti-Spamming Law Is Unconstitutional
from the on-second-thought... dept
Well, here’s a surprise. Just a few months ago, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled that the state’s anti-spamming law was constitutional. The case involved Jeremy Jaynes, who was convicted under the law and sentenced to nine years in prison. He appealed, claiming that the law was unconstitutional. As we noted when the Va. Supreme Court ruling came down, there were some big questions raised by the split court in determining whether this really was a violation of free speech rights — and Jaynes’ lawyers convinced the court to rehear the case — and, in a rather surprising move, the court has changed its mind.
The court has ruled that the anti-spamming law is, in fact, unconstitutional, as it’s a restriction on free speech. As we noted after the original ruling, it still seems like Jaynes could be brought up on charges of fraud, trespass, identity fraud, false advertising and many other charges, but for now, it appears that Virginia’s anti-spam law has been judged to go too far.
Declan McCullagh has a good analysis of why this is probably the right decision, even if it’s personally distasteful to let a spammer off.