The Virginia Supreme Court today struck down a state anti-spam law, saying the statute violated the First Amendment right to free and anonymous speech. The decision also tossed out the conviction of a North Carolina man once described as one of the most prolific spammers.
The Washington Post's Tom Jackman writes:
The ruling, arising from the Loudoun County criminal prosecution of Jeremy Jaynes of Raleigh, N.C., was also remarkable because the Supreme Court reversed itself: Just six months ago, the same court upheld the anti-spam law by a 4-3 margin. But Jaynes's attorneys asked the court to reconsider, typically a long shot in appellate law, and the court not only reconsidered but changed its mind.
Jaynes was convicted in 2004 of sending tens of thousands of e-mails through America Online servers in Loudoun. He was the first person tried under the law, enacted in 2003, and Loudoun Circuit Court Judge Thomas D. Horne sentenced him to nine years in prison.