Virginia high court upholds first US felony spam conviction

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Virginia [official website] on Friday upheld the nation's first felony conviction for computer spamming, rejecting admitted spammer Jeremy Jaynes' appeal of a lower court ruling [JURIST report] that Virginia's anti-spamming statute [text] does not violate the First Amendment or the so-called dormant Commerce Clause of the US Constitution and is not unconstitutionally vague. The court held that Jaynes did not have standing to bring a First Amendment challenge to the law for overbreadth and that his other arguments were without merit.

In the ruling [PDF text], the court wrote:

There is no question in this case that Jaynes' e-mails "propose a commercial transaction," and are thus some form of commercial speech. As noted earlier, Jaynes makes no claim that his commercial speech, on its own merits, is entitled to any First Amendment protection. Just as clearly, it is self-evident that Jaynes' e-emails are misleading because each contained intentionally false and inaccurate routing and header information intended to shield Jaynes from accountability for his sales schemes. Jaynes does not contest the e-mail routing and header information was false. Thus, Jaynes' commercial speech would fail the initial requirement for First Amendment review.
Jaynes was sentenced [JURIST report] to nine years in prison in 2005 but the sentence was stayed pending appeals. AP has more.


 

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