Spam and the First Amendment: Virginia Supreme Court Upholds Anti-Spam Law

A divided Virginia Supreme Court upheld the conviction Jeremy D. Jaynes under the state’s 2003 Anti-Spam Act. While many of us hate to admit it, he may have a point that the law is constitutionally flawed. This is one that may be heading to the Supreme Court.

Jeremy D. Jaynes is rightfully about as popular as ebola. He is a spammer who is one of those people strangling the Internet and denying millions the ability to use this resource to its utmost. It is for that reason that one has to work long and hard to have any sympathy or concern of his challenge to his conviction in Virginia.

However, three out of seven Supreme Court justices were able to detached themselves enough from Jaynes’ destructive business to see an obvious constitutional problem in this law that was used to convict him.

Jaynes was ranked as the eighth-worst spammer in the world with an estimated 10 million spam e-mails a day. Jaynes secured their votes by cloaking himself in the first amendment and those who use the Internet (unlike him) to advance ideas and values.

The Virginia law does not have exceptions for such speech or protected anonymity. Justice Elizabeth B. Lacy argued in dissent that “[t]he current use of the Internet as the marketplace for expressing political ideas, views and positions emphasizes the need for ensuring that the use of this medium not be chilled by the threat of criminal prosecution.”

She has a good point and Jaynes, regrettably, has a good argument. The state law is overboard and should be challenged before the U.S. Supreme Court.

For the full story, click here.