Convicted Spammer Claims Anti-Spam Law Is Unconstitutional

from the well,-he-would-say-that,-wouldn't-he dept

A few years ago, the state of Virginia convicted a notorious spammer under its state anti-spam laws, and sentenced him to nine years in prison. The spammer, Jeremy Jaynes has been appealing the decision ever since, without much luck. Last year, an appeals court upheld the conviction and noted that a nine year sentence didn't seem excessive. However, it appears Jaynes is now trying a totally different route to fighting the conviction: claiming that Virginia's anti-spam law is unconstitutional. The idea is that it violates first amendment free speech rights by banning even spam that's non-commercial in nature. The state, however, is responding that the law doesn't ban any kind of speech at all -- but it does ban falsifying information in order to trespass on others' systems for the sake of advertising. There may actually be a fairly fine line that's worth distinguishing here between banning the specific kind of speech and whether or not the "speaker" is falsifying information in order to get across that speech. It seems unlikely that the courts will rule against the anti-spam law, but if it does it would be interesting to see if spammers in other states follow suit.

Filed Under: constitution, jeremy jaynes, punishment, spam, spam laws, virginia


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Sep 2007 @ 7:06am

    I personally do think that 9 years is a bit excessive, at least for a first offense. Granted, I don't know all the details, but I don't generally like zero-tolerance type policies, because they never allow for the consideration of special circumstances, which almost always exist. Of course that depends on the nature of the crime too. Obviously anything that harms human beings is much more serious and requires more severe punishment, but that is not the case here.

    I would think a year, maybe two, would be adequate for a first conviction. Then if he continues his activities and gets caught again, then 10+ years would not, IMO, be out of line. I hate spam as much as the next guy, but I also believe in not letting flared tempers get in the way of rational judgment.

    And for the record, I do think it would be really funny to make him write out that law by hand a million times. That would certainly burn it into his brain forever.

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