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. icon
    Rose M. Welch (profile), 18 Feb 2010 @ 3:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: #1

    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.

    How about the word 'Trudeau'? That should catch most, if not all, of it.

    Not even relevant, laws are interpreted differently everywhere and each country has 'stupid laws' on the books.

    Incitement itself isn't relevant. The judge has the legal right to do what he did without a bogus incitement defense. I was questioning the moral issue, not the legal. A judge can pretty much cite contempt for anything.

    Harassment is illegal, last I checked.

    First, Trudeau didn't send him thousands of e-mails. Second, show me proof that all of those people e-mailed because Trudeau asked them to. (Seriously, he's really popular. People were likely e-mailing in the first place.) Third, show me the precedent for thousands of e-mails being considered harassment, especially for a public figure. It may morally be harassment, but I doubt it is legally. Nice try, though.

    Are you seriously trying to imply that you would be ok with someone posting a personal contact method of yours to the PUBLIC AT LARGE -- and asking them to get in touch with you regarding anything?

    My personal contact information, including my e-mail address, telephone number, and mailing address, are available online. I'd prefer not to be spammed by chan (Especially because they wouldn't stop at e-mail. A flashmo/b/ would show up at my door.) but that's hardly the case here.

    Remember, Trudeau isn't being punished because he gave out the judge's information (which is public, by the way). That might be understandable, especially if it were the Judge's personal information, and not his work contact (which it was). Trudeau's being punished because of the number of responses, which he doesn't have any control over.

    The judge is a public figure, and these people are contacting him in regards to his work as a public servant. Trudeau asked for support, which is his legal right, and people contacted the judge, which is their legal right. And he ends up in jail for a month for it. This is okay?

    I wonder at the implications of this. Speak up in favor of a defendant, and he might end up in jail for 30 days. Not a fine, or a night in jail, but an entire month in jail. It seems kind of chilling to me.

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