It's Probably Not A Good Idea To Ask People To Spam The Judge Hearing Your Case With Support Emails

from the pro-tips dept

Generally speaking, if you're on trial for something, it's probably not a good idea to piss off the judge. Informercial king Kevin Trudeau has been battling the FTC concerning his pitches for a diet book, which the FTC felt were deceiving. The court case itself has had a series of twists and turns, but as the latest case moved forward, Trudeau posted the judge's email address to his website, and announced it on his radio show, and asked people to email the judge in his support. Apparently, quite a few people did so -- and the judge was not amused, sentencing him to 30 days in jail. As Consumerist notes, the types of people who buy the sorts of things Trudeau is selling might not be the most rationally-minded people, and apparently a few took it upon themselves to not just email the judge their support of Trudeau, but to send vaguely threatening messages as well.

Still, there is an open question as to whether or not this is actually illegal. Eric Robinson points out that it's common enough for those on trial to have friends contact a judge, sometimes even via email. Of course, those sorts of setups are usually more limited to a specific group of selected friends, rather than broadcast to the public at large. Either way -- whether legal or not -- it does seem like a generally smart tip to remember: don't piss off a judge in charge of dealing with your case, and urging a hoard of followers to email that judge is pretty certain to piss him off.

Filed Under: contempt of court, kevin trudeau, spam

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  1. identicon
    Uh WHAT? Seriously?, 18 Feb 2010 @ 3:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: #1

    Point by point:

    First, receiving e-mail isn't harmful. In fact, with about two minutes work, he can filter all Trudeau e-mail to the spam box and never see it.
    -- One email is not. Dozens of emails can get annoying. Thousands of emails are even moreso. He CANNOT filter "all Trudeau" emails unless ALL of them CAME from one single address or had a consistent unique phrasing that can be pattern-matched. It can also have caused problems for a poorly configured mail server that actually created issues for users OTHER than this judge, which were probably also government officials. I'd suggest studying the actual protocol involved before making such claims.

    Second, many countries, including England, where the law originates from, have abolished incitement laws in favor of more specific laws, none of which were broken by Trudeau. Incitement just wasn't a very good legal standard.
    Not even relevant, laws are interpreted differently everywhere and each country has 'stupid laws' on the books. Amsterdam doesn't have laws regarding certain drugs that are considered narcotics here, so I guess narcotic laws aren't a very good legal standard, right?
    Third, incitement usually deals with someone 'inciting' people to do something illegal. Trudeau didn't ask anyone to do anything illegal.
    -- Harassment is illegal, last I checked.

    The judge can certainly choose to cite him for contempt, but I think that it's unfair, and reflects badly on the judge.

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