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Anti-Spam Unconstitutional?

Convicted spammer's attorney says Virginia's law ban of spam impinges on freedom of 'anonymous' speech

Remember the first spammer to be charged as a felon in the U.S., back in 2003? Well, just like spam, it seems he just won't go away.

The lawyer for Jeremy Jaynes, who was convicted and sentenced to nine years behind bars, reportedly has taken the case to Virginia's Supreme Court, arguing that the state's anti-spam law "attaches severe criminal penalties to unsolicited bulk e-mail of a noncommercial nature."

According to an Associated Press report, Thomas Wolf, Jaynes' lawyer, told the Virginia Supreme Court that the First Amendment protects anonymous speech, making anonymous religious or political bulk emails illegal if they were transported via servers in Virginia.

Virginia's State Solicitor says no way: "There is no constitutional right to use the property of others to engage in speech," William E. Thro told the AP.

The Virginia Supreme Court is expected to rule on the appeal in November, and Jaynes has been free since the appeal process began. Jaynes unsuccessfully appealed the case in the Virginia Court of Appeals last fall.

— Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading

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