September 6, 2006 2:34 PM PDT

Virginia court upholds antispam law

The Virginia Court of Appeals upheld a state antispam law on Tuesday by affirming the conviction of the first person in the United States to face prison time for spamming.

Jeremy Jaynes was convicted in November 2004 of sending out bulk e-mails with disguised origins and being in possession of a stolen database of more than 84 million AOL subscribers' addresses. He was sentenced to nine years in prison.

Judge James W. Haley Jr. released an opinion (click for PDF) on behalf of a three-judge panel that struck down all of Jaynes' appeal arguments.

The facts of the case were undisputed in the appeal, according to court documents. Rather, Jaynes' attorneys appealed on the grounds that the law used to convict Jaynes was unconstitutionally vague, unconstitutional under the First Amendment and violated the Constitution's Dormant Commerce Clause. The American Civil Liberties Union, Rutherford Institute and United States Internet Service Provider Association each filed friend-of-the-court briefs in favor of the appeal.

Jurisdiction was also a matter of dispute: Jaynes' lawyers argued that while the AOL servers Jaynes routed e-mails through are located in Loudon County, Virginia, the Virginia court lacked jurisdiction because Jaynes sent the e-mails from his home in North Carolina.

"We disagree," the court said, citing previous cases upholding Virginia's right to charge people in the place where the damage of a crime results, not where it originates.

"Online fraud is a costly and serious crime. Today's ruling reinforces Virginia's Anti-Spam Act, and further protects the people of the Commonwealth from identity thieves and cyber criminals," Virginia State Attorney General Bob McDonnell said in a statement.

At the time of his arrest, Jaynes was regarded as the eighth-worst spammer by spam watchdog Spamhaus, the statement added.

See more CNET content tagged:
antispam law, anti-spam, appeal, Virginia, America Online Inc.

7 comments

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very cool
yes, very very cool, indeed.

Now start working back up that list to the number 1 spammer.
Posted by Sparky672 (244 comments )
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long overdue
This scumbag should have started serving his sentence almost two years ago,
but the clueless trial judge stayed the sentence. It's clear from the latest
ruling that his appeals were entirely frivolous.
Posted by Jackson Cracker (272 comments )
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It's about time
There should be Zero Tolerance for any kind of spam reguardless if it's chat spam or email spam.
Posted by kyle172 (65 comments )
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Rot it jail, Jeremy
And I hope all the assets you aquired as profits have been seized.
Posted by Seaspray0 (9714 comments )
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May his soap always be slippery in the shower
=:0
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
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About time...
...spammers start getting what they deserve. There have been instances where I've had to create a new email account because my old one was flooded with junkmail. Something like this is inconvenient for a personal account, but brutal when using e-mail for business.
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://essentialsecurity.com/Documents/article20.htm" target="_newWindow">http://essentialsecurity.com/Documents/article20.htm</a>
There's no excuse as to why online offenses such as spamming and phishing should go unpunished.
Posted by ml_ess (71 comments )
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1 Point for Internet Users!
Great to see the government holding up to their end of the deal in this ongoing battle against spam, now we must continue to do ours. As spammers continue to find more advanced ways of sneaking messages into our inboxes, we must move with the improved technology of the day and advance the ways in which we reduce the effectiveness of spam messages. I we use email security to protect ourselves from these messages and the government continues to intimidate spammers we can win the battle against spam. Check out email security systems at www.essentialsecurity.com
Posted by bayny (12 comments )
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