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.