March 3, 2008
Virginia Supreme Court Construes, Upholds Anti-Spammer Statutory Conviction
There's an article here, and the decision in Jaynes v. Commonwealth of Virginia (Va. Feb. 29, 2008) is here. It's a significant case because the statute involved is very similar, if not identical, to those of other states.
On the interpretation issue, the statute required "use" of a computer in Virginia. Beause he had e-mailed the false e-mails from his home in North Carolina, he had only "used" a computer there, not in Virginia -- where tens of thousands of e-mails were received by AOL's servers. The court rejected this, because, it concluded, receipt of the e-mail was an element of the statute, and so an element had occurred in Virginia.
Concerning the constitutional challenges, the court rejected his First Amendment challenge on standing grounds, and his Vagueness challenge to the statute on the merits. It also rejected a dormant commerce clause challenge.
In dissent, 3 of the 7 justices agreed with the majority on all grounds, but would have found that he had First Amendment standing.
Interesting case. I wonder if the Supremes will take it, since this statute is fairly common and, judging at least from my in-box, spam is a big issue.
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