WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court announced Monday it will not review the constitutionality of a law designed to protect people from excessive spam e-mail messages.
The Virginia law under examination was used to convict Jeremy Jaynes for unsolicited bulk electronic e-mail messages in violation of the state's Computer Crimes Act. He was sentenced to nine years in prison.
But last year the Virginia Supreme Court overturned the conviction ruling the law was unconstitutionally broad. Its opinion concluded that the law could impermissibly inhibit protected speech. "State statutes that burden 'core political speech,' as this statute does, are presumptively invalid..."
That court furthered expressed concern that while other state's anti-spam laws were designed to make illegal the commercial distribution of e-mail, the Virginia law "is not narrowly tailored" even though the state has a "compelling interest" in preventing unwanted messages.
In 2003, Jaynes sent over 55,000 unsolicited messages to people with America OnLine e-mail accounts. A search of his house revealed a collection of compact discs containing over 176 million full e-mail addresses and 1.3 billion e-mail user names.
The Supreme Court's decision not to hear the case means Jaynes is free from the charges. However, he remains behind bars on unrelated charges.