US Supremes flatline Virginia's hardline anti-spam law
AOL junk mailer ignored
A tough anti-spam law passed by the state of Virginia has officially been declared dead following the refusal by the US Supreme Court to reinstate a felony conviction prosecuted under the statute.
The high court on Monday declined to review an appeal challenging a lower-court ruling that declared the anti-spam law unconstitutional because it barred all anonymous, unsolicited mass emails, including those with political, religious, or other protected content. The September decision by Virginia's Supreme Court, threw out the nine-year sentence of notorious spammer Jeremy Jaynes, who was convicted under the state statute.
The law made it a misdemeanor to use fake IP addresses or headers to send unsolicited bulk email. The offense became a felony if more than 10,000 addresses received the email in a 24-hour period. In 2004, Jaynes's case resulted in the nation's first criminal conviction for spam. Jaynes remains in federal prison serving a 42-month sentence in an unrelated case.
Specifically, North Carolina-based Jaynes was convicted of three counts of junk email offenses for spamming tens of thousands of AOL addresses he got from a stolen database. He was once rated as the eighth worst spammer in the world by the anti-spam collective Spamhaus. Because his spam assault flooded AOL servers, Jaynes was prosecuted in Virginia, where the internet provider is headquartered.
Virginia Attorney General Bill Mims said he was disappointed by the US Supreme Court's refusal to hear his appeal "since the chance of the statute actually being applied in an unconstitutional manner is exceptionally slim," The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. He has vowed to rewrite the law to address constitutional concerns. Additional coverage from The Washington Post is here. ®
Virginia High Court = Dopes. US Supreme Court has more important matters.
The way I read this is that the Supreme's just decided that they didn't want to review it.
I guess their attitude is "do we have to review everything!?". They're right. The original stupid ruling the one the Virgina prosecuter was appealing), was handed down by the Virginia State Supreme Court (see Sep. 2008 article in the Reg's related-links section).
The US Supreme Court doesn't have time to review every stupid ruling made by lower courts. They're probably wishing, just like the rest of us, that Virginia had competent judges in the first place. Maybe if they let the moronic ruling stand, the Virginia voters might actually pay attention to the qualifications of the Idiots they vote into service. (Well, I can dream, can't I?)
@Greg - the question is whether we protect speech,
or whether we also protect anonymous speech.
and heres me thinking
that the freedom of speech did not automaticly mean anybody gave a shit or had to listen...